cover image Sam Saves the Night (Sleep Wakers #1)

Sam Saves the Night (Sleep Wakers #1)

Shari Simpson. Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-368-00761-0

Sam, 12, is a lifelong sleepwalker who has sleep-sorted recycling and even sleep-built a tree house. Her behavior has prompted her family to move six times in 10 years, and family history—Sam’s father died while sleepwalking off a bridge—makes her mother even more desperate for a solution. Then they find an unconventional specialist, Dr. Fletcher, who detaches Sam’s consciousness from her body, a procedure that allows Sam’s body to slumber at night while her soul “accomplishes its purpose.” Sam becomes a SleepWaker, part of a large community of others who “show who they really are in the dark,” each joining a group of like-minded Wakers. But the community is under attack by “soul-napping” MeanDreams, led by school golden girl Madalynn, who shows her true malicious colors at night. Though Simpson’s debut can feel aggressively off-the-wall—the characters skew wacky and the plot is packed with over-the-top moments (it opens on its protagonist sleep-wielding a power saw)—Sam is realistically flawed as she deals with bullying and finding her place in the world. Filled with surprising twists, this series kick-off underscores essential truths about finding one’s unique spirit. Ages 8–12. [em](Oct.) [/em]