Actors who write fiction are my pet peeve. As a rule, they use their names to sell books and put no effort into storytelling or just have no talent for it. Fortunately, with every rule there are exceptions. Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller is one of them. I loved this book.
It’s hard to decide where to start on this one because it just worked all around. It was the cleverest story I’ve read in a while.
Charlie lives in a spooky mansion in a little town with his dad, brother, and stepmom, and he accidentally opens a portal to the Netherworld. The Netherworld is separated into “Terror-tories” where each person’s nightmares live. To close the portal and keep the nightmares from taking over the Waking World, Charlie has to pass through his friends’ terror-tories and face his fears in his own. Fortunately, he’s got a clown named Dabney and a gorgon named Meduso to help him out…and of course, his life-long best friends.
This book was written for middle school readers and was clear and easy to read. And yet, Segel and Miller never seemed to speak down to their audience. They honestly addressed issues like friendship, fear, grief, and even mental illness. The story examined the underlying reasons for what the characters feared. And it showed the dangers of letting those fears overrun your life.
It’s the first book in a series, but it’s also a self-contained story that can stand alone. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it and no one else has ever heard of it. I don’t blame you if you’re skeptical of actors writing books, but take a chance on this one. I think you’ll enjoy it.