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The Dreamers

The Dreamers

A Novel

Book - 2019
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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?
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2019]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780812994162
Branch Call Number: FIC WALKER 2019
Characteristics: 303 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

Walker, who set her first novel, The Age of Miracles (2012), in a dystopian near future, returns to the present with this science-fiction fairy tale about a mysterious epidemic putting inhabitants of a California community to sleep.

A virus appears in the small town of Santa Lora that causes its victims to fall into a deep sleep from which they cannot wake up. While this story is about a pandemic apocalypse, it also reminds us of our humanity and how we are all connected. For fans of The Country of Ice Cream Star and The Wat... Read More »

From the critics

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Apr 16, 2021

Entertaining but instead of being written in a close third it is written in a way that is very removed. As a personal preference, I prefer a close third. When it is removed it feels like there is something between me and the story and as such I am not allowed to feel close to a character. I don't feel intimately involved in the plot. It's almost like I am watching them, instead of living within each character. Or watching a movie on tv, while lightly napping, less aware of what is happening 'onscreen.' This is an enjoyable read but probably wouldn't make my top twenty of the year even as a four star read which is a shame because it was a great concept to explore.

Jan 11, 2021

I didn’t have high expectations for this book but struggled to put it down! I adored the slightly poetic writing style that allows all the character interactions to be meaningful. Despite being published in 2019, this book had many similarities to what is happening in 2020. A drawback of this novel is that it is hard to foster a deep connection with the characters. The author does not go into detail when it comes to many of their motives. This is somewhat understandable as it is a shorter story and I believe the author wanted to put more emphasis on how the apocalyptic situation affected the community as a whole. Overall, the book was a fun read but the ending felt rushed. 4.5/5 Stars @blissful_bookworm of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Sep 16, 2020

There is an uncanny familiarity of fear, panic, questions and frustration as the story of a mysterious virus unfolds. I checked the publishing date (2019) and marveled at Walker's ability to describe the feelings and actions of various people during a large scale quarantine. Occasionally Walker will wax philosophic, but it these portions blend into the feel of the story--a dreamy inward-focusing of the mind, not bound in time and open to the existence of many timelines. But do not think this book is ethereal; no, it moves quickly forward, hooking me into every following chapter.

Sep 04, 2020

I really liked this book. Can't believe this was written before COVID and what a book to read during COVID. Aside from this strange disease taking over the Town, I was actively engaged in all the characters, each one so very different. There are parts that leave you hanging but overall I enjoyed this book a lot and it certainly kept me engaged.

ArapahoeKati Aug 17, 2020

Love Walker's prose, how it dreamily pulls you in. Probably not the best sort of read to read during a pandemic, but I couldn't put it down.

ArapahoeSarahH Jul 17, 2020

I read The Dreamers back in May while we were still on stay-at-home orders, and while it wasn't a true suspense novel, I couldn't put it down! Finished in about 24 hours due to interesting comparisons with our current state, beautiful writing and intriguing characters!

OPL_AnnaW May 01, 2020

An unknown virus appears in a small, peaceful college town in California, wreaking havoc in the community. The virus is airborne, highly contagious, and makes its victims fall asleep. Told from the perspective of multiple intersecting characters, this book is highly relatable in the time of COVID-19.

Apr 23, 2020

Despite its terrifying premise (when college students begin falling into an unending sleep, an entire town finds itself in lockdown as the death toll starts to climb), The Dreamers is a very quiet novel. Walker's ethereal prose makes readers feel like they are in a dream themselves, viewing the action through a thick haze. While the characters' terror is palpable, this can make it hard to really connect with them. However, I still enjoyed the overall experience. Readers looking for a tight plot and clear answers are likely to be disappointed, but fans of short stories and atmospheric literary fiction should give The Dreamers a try.

Apr 03, 2020

This book follows the story of a sleeping sickness which shuts down a college town, and the quarantine the town goes under to keep it contained. I can’t give a proper summary without spoilers, but just a heads up the story is told from many viewpoints! There is a sense of unease throughout, once it draws you in it will keep you on edge and ready to keep reading!

Feb 10, 2020

For me this book reads like a sketch--a set of ideas--some of which might have made an outstanding young adult novel, and some of which are certainly the beginnings of powerful foundations for an adult audience (themes of fierce parental love, explorations of the concept of time). Sadly though this book just glides along, never becoming more than a subtly interesting set of sketches. I don't always need a book to be a great intellectual challenge (this one isn't) and I don't always need incredibly deep characterization (it's not here), but a novel does need to make a claim on a reader and so it needs to do some work, somewhere. If you're looking for a light read that touches on ideas of human behavior during epidemics or ideas about how time works you may enjoy this novel, but if you are truly fascinated by either of those topics, reading this book will feel like ordering steak and getting a bag of Funyuns instead.

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