The Dreamers -Karen Thompson Walker


I was fortunate to receive this advance reader copy of the book from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.

Mei is a freshman, who is still settling in to college life at the school nestled in the small California town of Santa Lora. Introverted, Mei is dismayed at the friendships that have formed without her and doesn’t have much of a relationship with her roommate Kara. That is why, when Kara falls ill, Mei thinks nothing of her sleeping in – not until she arrives back at the dorm to find Kara still asleep, and unarousable. Thus begins the ‘sleeping sickness’ as it becomes known to outsiders.
A few days later, the sleeping sickness takes another victim, and another. Soon the kids find themselves quarantined in their dorm, while the other kids are whisked away, out of Santa Lora. Meanwhile, the number of victims multiplies, and the CDC becomes actively involved. Remaining unarousable, the victim’s arrear to be dreaming… The town becomes isolated with military personnel manning the borders while physicians search for the cause and the cure.

As the afflicted increase in numbers and the rest of the world watches the news in fear, one of the victims awakens, talking of dreams he had that a fire would release the rest of the victims from sleep. Some remember dreams of things past, while others of things presumed to be future, and others no dreams at all. Others still have experiences that makes them question all that they are…

While this book was not quite what I expected, I loved it, and it is a story that resonates long after the final page is turned. Full of rich writing, and philosophical questions, it makes one wonder about the fine line between dreams and reality…