Friday, August 25, 2017

ARC Review: Sleeper by Mackenzie Cadenhead

Title: Sleeper
Written by: Mackenzie Cadenhead
Published: August 1, 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: As if surviving high school wasn’t hard enough, Sarah Reyes suffers from REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, a parasomnia that causes her to physically act out her dreams. When she almost snaps her friend’s neck at a sleepover, Sarah and her nocturnal habits are thrust into the spotlight and she becomes a social pariah, complete with public humiliation. 

When an experimental drug comes onto the market that promises nighttime normalcy, Sarah agrees to participate in the trial. At first, she seems to be cured. Then the side effects kick in. Why does a guy from her nightmare show up at school? Are the eerily similar dreams she’s sharing with her classmates’ coincidence or of her making? Is she losing her mind or does this drug offer way more than sleep?

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I really wanted to like this book. It sounds like a fantastic idea. When I first heard about it I thought it would be totally up my alley as an interesting combination of things I love. But in execution I really did not enjoy it. It had some of the worst things about some of my favorite things.

I never thought that this would be a bad thing, but this book reminded me a lot of Heathers. I love Heathers, it's a dark comedy with a good revenge story. This book however didn't hit me in the same way that Heathers does. It definitely has that revenge angle. In the very beginning the main character is ousted from the popular cliche because of something that she can't control. A main part of the book is her getting back at those for turning on her. You do feel a little bit of empathy for here but you don't feel the same sense of justice that you get with Heathers. You also don't have the humor or, honestly, the heart. I feel like this book took some of the worst things from Heathers and ignored the best.

I think maybe the biggest thing that prevented me from connecting to the revenge plotline was the characters. For one thing, I never really connected with the main character. Yes, you feel a little bit of empathy for her alienation but not enough for me. She's just not a very good heroine in my opinion. I don't need my main characters to be kicking ass and taking names (in fact I often dislike that), but I do need them to take control of their storylines. This girl did not do that. She let other people talk her into basically everything, and even in the big climax it was someone else who figured out how to defeat the villain. How am I supposed to get behind a hero who is characterized in this way? I wasn't able to.

As for the secondary characters it was much of the same thing. I didn't connect with them. Probably the best example of this with the male lead. I really hated him. There were definite Heathers vibes with him but just as the MC lacked the heart of Veronica Sawyer, Wes has none of the charm of J.D. I never understood why Sarah liked him and let her talk him into going on this revenge plot. He was just a massive jerk and I wanted him gone. And as the book went on it just got worse. Plus the romance here was so frustrating. It was Twilight-esque in the way the characters interacted. I'm not a fan of a lot of romances but this one definitely didn't come close to winning me over.

The one thing I did like however was the world of this book. It was definitely a unique and interesting world. The idea of a drug being used to help people invade dreams was definitely a cool concept. I really liked seeing the characters invade others dreamscapes and what happened when they were in there. It had this cool sci-fi invasion of the body snatchers feel to it. Although I do wish there was more explanation of some of the aspects of the world. There was a little bit of that later in the book but I could have used it in the beginning when everything was being established.

When I started reading this book, it did pull me in but unfortunately it let me go very quickly. It's not a very long book and despite the fact that I read it basically every day it still took me a week to finish it. I thought I was going to breeze through it in a couple of days but I didn't do that. It really dragged. In fact I really only finished it because I skimmed through the last quarter of the book in about a day. I just wanted it to be over. And that is never a good thing when you are reading a book.

I give Sleeper by Mackenzie Cadenhead 6 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Bypass. I really just did not enjoy this book. It had a lot of promise and an interesting concept and a compelling world but with characters I did not connect with and a plot that was missing some of the charm and interest I was hoping for.

Have you read Sleeper? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Too bad you didn't enjoy it. I haven't read the book myself but I do like the synopsis. Great review!

    1. Yeah, it was kind of a bummer. I really wanted to like it but I didn't.