The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker, 4 Stars

I just love a good modern day/slightly apocalyptic thriller. It’s kind of scary to be living in a world where there really could be a virus that knocks out half of the population. It’s crazy we don’t talk more about the Spanish Flu, which infected 1/3 of the world’s population in 1918 and killed 50 to 60 million people worldwide.

With modern medicine, we have a lot more vaccinations to safe-guard us against these types of epidemics, but we also have a lot more scientific advancements which could allow the wrong kind of people to engineer new viruses to use in warfare. 

I think that’s what makes a book like The Dreamers especially frightening. It could totally happen!

From the Publisher:

One night in an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a first-year student stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. When a second girl falls asleep, and then a third, Mei finds herself thrust together with an eccentric classmate as panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. A young couple tries to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. Two sisters turn to each other for comfort as their survivalist father prepares for disaster.

Those affected by the illness, doctors discover, are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, higher than has ever been recorded before. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?

Written in luminous prose, The Dreamers is a breathtaking and beautiful novel, startling and provocative, about the possibilities contained within a human life—if only we are awakened to them.

My Review:

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker is exactly what I want from a sleepy Sunday afternoon read. And I read it all in one sitting! 

When a sleeping illness effects first the students at a small isolate college, and then spreads to the townspeople, no one knows what is causing it or how to stop it. One of the first feelings that struck me as I read this book, is that this is something that could totally happen. And if it did, there is nothing anyone would be able to do about it.

 I loved that there was not just one main character, but rather a cast of characters all facing the same virus, all under different circumstances. Mei, the roommate of patient zero is quiet, but thoughtful. And completely selfless. A young couple grapples with the threat that the illness could effect their weeks-old infant. And two young girls, who have been prepared for such an event use their training to survive on their own.

The dreamy aspect of the book isn’t just about those falling ill–the dreamers. It also has a sleepy tone to the prose. The story reminded me of The Leftovers by Tom Perrota and The Fever by Megan Abbott, other books with a similar hazy and reflective tone.  

I don’t want to give much more away, but this one was amazing! Special thanks to Random House and Netgalley for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. Look for The Dreamers on a bookshelf near you January 15, 2019.


9 thoughts on “The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker, 4 Stars

Add yours

  1. I absolutely loved this book and read it about as quickly as you did. It felt so realistic to me and I agree that the cast of characters made it that much better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe they’ll make this one into a movie! Speaking of which, I need to watch Bird Box on Netflix–and just try and get over the fact that 54-year-old Sandra Bullock is playing a pregnant 20-something.


      1. I think it will deepen your feelings for the characters as you watch the movie. Some stuff that suggests more about the characters and what it means to live during the end of times is cut from the movie–rightly so, as it’s already over 2 hours.

        Liked by 1 person

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