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The Dreamers

A beautifully written character study of a community’s reaction to the spread of a mysterious illness and the panic that follows.



It comes quietly, like the wind. It starts at a small college town in Southern California. A college coed leaves a party early, telling her friends she feels sick, sick like a fever, sick like the flu, and she is tired, more tired than she has ever been. Her roommate cannot wake her the next afternoon, nor can the paramedics or the doctors. Then another girl falls asleep, and then another and the college is quarantined. Panic spreads as this mysterious sleeping illness relentlessly takes more victims. Two college professors try to protect their new born baby and next door a prepper father boards up his house to protect his two daughters. A psychiatrist is called in from Los Angeles who tries to makes sense of the illness as it spreads through the town. Those infected display an unusual high level of brain activity. The sleeping victims are dreaming. Dreaming heighten and life-altering dreams. So what happens when they wake up...if they wake up?

“She sleeps through sunrise, and she sleeps through sunset. And yet in those first few first few hours, the doctors can find nothing else wrong. She looks like an ordinary girl sleeping ordinary sleep.”


THE DREAMERS is a quietly beautiful chronicle of a multitude of diverse characters in the face of adversity. The story was fascinating and I was particularly enamored with the story of Rebecca who become pregnant during the ordeal. The writing was smart, descriptive and immersing. We are skillfully transported to the town of Santa Lora surrounded by a dry forest and a drought stricken-lake. You can smell the dorm rooms during quarantine and you can see the multitude of cots in the college library. The well-drawn characters are diverse and you watch them evolve as the panic spread. The character development was indeed the highlight of the book. Mei, was the first victim roommate. Her metamorphosis during the panic was inspiring. And you can’t help but fall in love with the two young girls, Sara and Libby, as they trudge to the grocery store to get food for their kittens. Author KAREN THOMPSON WALKER, best selling author of The Age of Miracles, has written a stunning and thought-provoking story of human nature in the face adversity. Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher Penguin Random House

Published January 15, 2019

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