Sleep No More

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
Sleep No More Book Poster Image
Teen girl tries to stop killer in chilling fantasy thriller.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Could lead to some engaging discussions with teens about whether they would want the power to see the future and what they would do with that ability.

Positive Messages

Believe in your own power. Stand up for your right to decide how best to use it. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters must make complicated choices -- even some that hurt other people -- to do what they think is right. Several characters experience guilt because of their choices -- and because of what happens afterward. Charlotte has a loving relationship with her mom and makes peace with her aunt. Her developing romantic relationship with Linden is very sweet and honest. 

Violence

There are vivid descriptions of several murders and violent attacks, including a visceral description of a stabbing. The protagonist also sees a body dismembered beyond recognition, as well as the bodies of teens she knew who've been stabbed, shot, beaten, and more. 

Sex

Charlotte and Linden have some steamy make-out sessions at their houses.

Language

A few use of words such as "crap" and "damn." One use of "s--t" and one of "a--hole."

Consumerism

One mention of Starbucks.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Linden offers Charlotte champagne at a party, but she chooses cider instead. A teen character goes outside to smoke marijuana.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Aprilynne Pike's Sleep No More is about a young oracle trying to use her powers to stop a serial killer targeting teens. There are vivid descriptions of several murders and violent attacks, including a visceral description of a stabbing. The protagonist also sees a body dismembered beyond recognition, as well as the bodies of teens she knew who've been stabbed, shot, beaten, and more. Beyond the violence, the material is mostly pretty tame: There are some make-out sessions, a few swear words ("crap," "damn," "s--t," "a--hole"), and a mention of a teen going outside to smoke marijuana. Characters must make complicated choices -- even some that hurt other people -- to do what they think is right. Ultimately, Charlotte learns to believe in her own power and stands up for her right to decide how best to use it. Sleep No More could lead to some engaging discussions with teens about whether they would want the power to see the future and what they would do with that ability.

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What's the story?

Teen oracle Charlotte tries to fight against seeing visions of the future -- and, since a childhood incident that left her father dead, she never tries to change what has been revealed to her. But when a serial killer starts stalking teens in her town, she knows she has to do something to save the lives of the victims -- many of whom she sees dead just before they're attacked. When a mysterious stranger tracks her down, he teaches her to use her powers in new, amazing ways. But even as she starts to try to save lives and explore the powers she has long been afraid of, she struggles with making the right choices and deciding whom to trust. Eventually, she even finds herself with blood on her hands -- literally.

Is it any good?

A teen who can see the future combined with a serial killer on the loose sounds like a formula for a fun, fast-paced book, and SLEEP NO MORE mostly is. Charlotte's cinematic story is both exciting and at times pretty chilling. Readers need to be ready to work through complicated descriptions of how the whole oracle thing works, from how Charlotte can shape the future to how she can take down a murderer who's fighting her on a supernatural plane. Sleep No More will appeal most to fantasy lovers who enjoy diving into the details of alternate worlds, but even readers new to the fantasy genre -- and those who get a bit lost figuring out exactly what's going on in all the action -- will appreciate Charlotte's hard-won belief in herself. It's especially easy to cheer when the teen who's always hidden her talent finally understands how powerful she is, realizing, "I am truly the master of my world. Here -- especially in my awakened state -- I can do anything." 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Charlotte's ability to see the future. Is this a power that you would ever want? 

  • Why are stories about seeing the future and trying to change it so popular? What are some other books and movies you can think of with this theme? 

  • Charlotte sees a lot of violence in her visions. Is it harder to read grizzly details in a book or to see them in a movie or video game?

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