Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Review: Nightmare Escape by Greg Grunberg

Nightmare Escape by Greg Grunberg. Book one of the Dream Jumper series. Illustrated by Lucas Turnbloom. Color by Guy Major. Graphix/ Scholastic Inc.,June, 2016. 9780545826044. (Review courtesy of finished copy provided by the publisher.)

Ten-year-old Ben hasn't been getting much sleep lately. Nearly every night, he finds himself not only having his own terrifying nightmares, but jumping into the nightmares of friends and acquaintances as well. It is only when he becomes totally exhausted that he agrees to visit a sleep clinic with his concerned single-parent mom. 

There, he discovers the aptly named, Ward Z, filled with people stuck in REM sleep and unable to awaken. He finds his friends and some old guy who looks vaguely familiar. Ben's vivid dream quickly turns into a nightmare during his own sleep test. He encounters frightening monsters who attack him and has to rescue the very friends who are stuck in Ward Z. He also meets a rabbit who looks vaguely familiar. 

This parallel universe is rife with evil and good people with the power to keep the evil at bay are far and few between. Ben discovers that he has a rare power - the ability to dream jump and might be the key to defeating this evil. 

This debut was an fast-paced, engaging middle-grade-friendly graphic novel. It is book one of a series. While it does not end in a cliffhanger, there is enough unfinished business to keep the reader interested in the next book. 

The art is gorgeous with crisp, clear, uncluttered panels. The color is intense. Ben is a winning main character. There's an interesting and diverse crew of supporting characters as well as humor, action and adventure. All-in-all, a great addition to the middle grade graphic novel section.

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