Review: Sleepwalkers: Round One by Izzi Breigh

cover of SleepwalkersSleepwalkers: Round One by Izzi Breigh
Somnium Publishing LLC (Feb 22, 2022)
332 pages; $19.99 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Izzi Breigh, raised by a family of peacocks, grew up on a rutabaga farm. She now resides in a small cottage made entirely of pinecones. Izzi enjoys knitting shirts for starfish, rooms without corners, and peddling time. Her day job is filling hourglasses with precisely the right amount of sand, which she sells for two copper pennies every Saturday at her local flea market. Hide and seek is her favorite sport and though she has repeatedly spotted Waldo, she has yet to figure out where in the world Carmen Sandiego is. Her newest book is Sleepwalkers: Round One, a dark middle-grade book that will thrill readers young and old alike.

Sleepwalkers focuses on 11-year-old Ellie Dasher. Her father has inherited the family house, Old Sleep, and has moved the family in. The only problem they face is the constant accumulation dust. Still, as the new kids in school, Ellie and her brother have to struggle with making new friends, meeting new people, keeping new schedules. However, one of Ellie’s new friends just happens to be a ghost that haunts Old Sleep. Then, when she and her brother are attacked, and her brother goes into a coma, it’s up to Ellie, Ghost, and the Sleepwalkers to save the day. 

What makes Sleepwalkers so interesting are the various genres that Breigh dances through. It starts out as a typical haunted house narrative, more or less, but then shifts quickly to alternate/dream universe narrative. This takes a bit of time to set up in the opening chapters, and the shifts aren’t as easy or seamless as some readers would expect, especially in an YA book. However, once the narrative gets going and readers know what to expect, the book evens out and the scary fun begins. 

There’s a lot of imagination in Sleepwalkers, and it’s a promising start to a new series. There’s a lot that middle-grade readers will connect with, and the plot lines tap into some primal fears that most people have, like nightmares and fear of the dark, but in a way that’s not too over the top as to repel the target audience. Furthermore, there’s enough her that will keep adult readers engaged and interested, so anyone looking for a solid, YA horror novel with some clever takes on classic tropes should check out Sleepwalkers: Round One by Izzi Breigh.

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