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Review: Don't Go To Sleep

Title: Don't Go To Sleep

Author: Bryce Moore

Spec Spot

What's it about?

Gianna's a teenaged girl in New Orleans worried about her parent's store, the Great War and the Spanish Influenza making it's way into the U.S. But she's got her own secrets, secrets that no one has any idea about except her best friend Enzo.

Years ago, her family fell victim to an axe murderer, making his way into homes and using their own axes against them. Thankfully, her parents survived and she wasn't among the injured physically but she may never fully heal emotionally and mentally. Especially when she has nightmares about not just her family's attack, but others, too. Others that haven't yet happened. As the murderer makes a come back feeling invincible, Gianna has no choice but to face that somehow, she has a connection to him, a connection that could help save lives but might be the very thing that ends hers.


Favorite Character: Gianna. First of all, I like her name. But more then that, she strong, has abilities and will fight. She's also scared and naive because she's young. At time she seems a little cold (like when it comes to her relationship with Enzo) but she really is loving and caring.

I also liked Etta. I was unsure of her at first. I even suspected her of being the murderer for a minute (I know. It makes no sense) but I liked that she believed in Gia when no one else would listen to her. She was there for Gia and protected her.

Least Favorite Character: Yes, I'm going for another obvious choice. The axe murderer. He's just creepy, cruel and needs to seek some professional help. And, like, his MO makes me want to install the top of the line security system anywhere I sleep and hide anything sharp.

Favorite Part: My favorite scene in the book, I think is Tuesday around midnight. Now, I have to be vague again, but I think it showed Gia's bravery and strength but also her naiveite and youth all at once.

Least Favorite Part: Some of the murders were not so much fun. On, in particular, involved kids which is always something I struggle with. So, yea, this has got to be my least favorite part.

Favorite Quote: "There are plenty of people who are going to tell you you're nothing," he'd said. "There will even be a part of yourself that will believe it. A voice that says you're a failure. And all it takes for that voice to be right is for you to pay attention to it. Don't do that, Gianna. Don't let other people tell you who you are and what you can do." (pg. 91)

Other Thoughts:

First of all, we can't ignore that there may be some trigger warnings needed. The entire book is centered around violent attacks, some of which we get to see and, as mentioned above, some that include children. That can be hard for some people.

With that said, oh my. There is something creepy about this axe killer who chisels out part of the door, sneaks in and uses the family's own axe against them and then just melts away into the night. Yes, I have an active imagination and I know things are different now then they were 100 years ago but I may have totally checked the width of our doors and made sure they were locked a few extra times.

However, my favorite thing about this book is that it's inspired by true events! Ok, yea, that kind of adds to the creepy factor but Mr. Moore kept as much as he could true to history (there really was a axe murderer in New Orleans at that time who prayed on families like Gianna's) right down to using the real victims' names and using true headlines. But what might be the most creepy and coolest thing, the letter that is said to be written by the axeman himself and printed in the paper in the book, is, in fact, the letter that was printed in the real life paper! Now, of course, Gianna didn't have a mental connection with him that helped her track him so those parts are fiction. (I may or may not have added non-fiction books about this very case to my wishlist).

Also, can we take a moment to talk about how similar things were between the Spanish Influenza and Covid? Because I can't help but to be blown away and disgusted everytime I read, see or learn about the two times and how we totally just repeated history as if we learned nothing.

Don't Go To Sleep isn't perfect. I caught a high amount of grammar/spelling/ect. errors as I read this book (and it's not an ARC so it's been edited, I assume) which were, at times, a little annoying but I could look past that because I enjoyed the book. I also would have liked to see a little more about the prejudices alluded to in the book. There are little bits that tell us that there was some prejudice against Italian storekeepers but we don't really get to see how that affects their everyday life nor do we really get to understand why such beliefs existed or what the beliefs were.

But, over all, I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to learning more about the axeman in New Orleans. I'm sure it will result in me re-reading Don't Go To Sleep to see how my new information effects how I read this book and where the author took creative liberties.

Ratings: I give this book a 7 out of 10 axes

But that's just what I think. What do you think? Did you hate it? Did you love it? Did you hate Gianna? Let us know in the comments.

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