Author: Dan Poblocki
Publisher: Random House
Published: August 24, 2010
Genre: YA, Horror
Source: Random Buzzers
Timothy July has been having nightmares. About his brother, who is in a coma after being wounded in Iraq; about his best friend, Stuart, who is behaving like a jerk; about the old biology specimens in jars lining the walls of his classroom; and about Abigail, the new girl who seems to be a magnet for trouble. Or perhaps she is the cause.
Suddenly Timothy’s nightmares are coming true. His brother, his face decaying, approaches Timothy on the street. Stuart ends up in the hospital, terrified that monsters are stalking him. And the specimen jars are tormenting not only Timothy but his teacher as well.
What is the secret in Abigail’s past that is the key to these horrors? And can Timothy figure it out before his nightmares become a deadly reality?
Timothy July has a problem. Actually, he has more than just one problem. Ever since his brother, Ben, went to Iraq, he’s been having nightmares. He doesn’t know what’s happened to his brother because his parents won’t tell him, and it’s affecting their family, his friends and life in general. Enter Abigail Tremens. Abigail is no stranger to problems either. There’s a curse that’s been plaguing her family for a long time, stemming from her grandmother. But their problems and the curse are on a collision course when Timothy and Abigail are forced to work together for a school project. Can they figure out the curse in time to stop it, or will the dangerous web keep growing?
I like horror stories. I’ll just put that out there right now. I like creepy, psychological thrillers that make me terrified of the things that go bump in the night. So, when I found The Nightmarys, I was so excited. First, take that cover. It just screams Bloody Mary (which, because I’m a freak, I love), and the curse element of the book is eerie enough to make up for the younger YA characters. Dan Poblocki knows how to spin a web of intrigue and deceit through the book. Chock full of unsettling images, vaguely horrific descriptions and a whirlwind adventure on a path to destruction, The Nightmarys isn’t your average bedtime story.
Now, here’s where I have a problem though. Creepy and intense premise aside, I felt like The Nightmarys spent more time telling me that Timothy and Abigail had a problem than describing what the actual problem was. Furthermore, both Timothy and Abigail were facing different demons, so to speak, so I found it hard to put the two together because The Nightmarys took about three quarters of the book to describe what the connection between them actually was. Now, that’s not to say that the parts that were described weren’t eerie and dark. I really loved those moments when Timothy’s nightmares were brought to life on the page, but it didn’t happen enough for me. I also felt it was hard to connect with either Timothy or Abigail because they were a bit too young, and they acted every bit as young as they were.
The Nightmarys wasn’t a bad book, per se, but it wasn’t my favourite, and I felt it could have been a lot stronger. I give it a decent 3 out of 5, and I’d recommend it to those who enjoy YA fiction, especially those who enjoy a cross between horror, paranormal and fantasy.