Don’t Go to Sleep

Sourcebooks/Fire. Aug. 2022. 320p. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781728229140.
Gr 8 Up–New Orleans, 1918. Seven years ago, Gianna Crutti’s parents were brutally attacked in their home by a man wielding an axe. Though both her parents survived, Gia has been having nightmares of the attack ever since. The dreams she’s been having lately, though, are more terrifyingly realistic than ever before, and they happen to intensify right when a new string of axe murders begin. Convinced that the Axeman from their youth has returned, Gia and Enzo, her friend and fellow survivor, set out to discover the murderer’s identity and bring him to justice once and for all. This historical supernatural thriller fits a lot into its 320 pages, including prejudice against Italian Americans and stigmas surrounding the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. It does a good job of making these historical truths relatable to current teens, many of whom have experienced similar situations. However, the development of these issues and elements sometimes come at the expense of the characters, who feel slightly underdeveloped. Despite this, the story is saved by its fast-paced plot, as readers will find themselves speeding through to a heart-pounding climax. This is, overall, an entertaining story that fans of historical crime, macabre thrillers, or light horror will enjoy.
VERDICT Recommended for most teen collections.

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