Publisher: Caper Books
Date of publication: June 7th, 2018
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Trigger Warning: Death of a loved one, Sick sibling
Where you can find Sleep, Merel, Sleep: Amazon
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
Who wants to be awake forever?
Life has changed for eight-year-old Merel. Since the birth of her sick baby brother, her parents seem to have forgotten she exists. But when she finds a tiny silver violin in her bedroom rug, things take a turn for the worse.
Merel learns that her sleep has abandoned her and that she must embark on a perilous journey to recover it or stay awake forever. Together with her devoted toy sheep Roger, tired Merel sets out in search of Lullaby Grove. Before long, she finds herself haunted by a scary stranger.
Follow Merel into a surreal world. Meet a sleepy king with an obsession for feathers and a transparent old man on a night train going nowhere. Discover why the moonfish cry, why you should never walk across the Great Yawns ― and if poor Merel can escape her pursuer, win back her sleep, and realize what matters most in her life.
I have gotten away from reading middle-grade books. No real reason. I stopped requesting them on NetGalley. I rarely get an author request through my contact form/email. So, when the author contacted me to review Sleep, Merel, Sleep I almost declined. Then I read the blurb and my attention was caught. From what I read the blurb, I needed to read the book. I am glad that I decided to accept the request because Sleep, Merel, Sleep was a one of a kind middle grade book.
Merel’s Sleep went AWOL. He was tired of listening to her tantrums. He was tired of trying to get her to sleep. He was tired of watching her struggle to go to sleep. So he left. Merel learns that he left when she finds his violin on her rug. That finds sends her on a journey to find her Sleep in a place called Lullaby Grove. But, Merel is also stalked by a stranger. This stranger doesn’t want her to find her Sleep or Lullaby Grove. He has other reasons for keeping her from finding them and they aren’t great.
I will be the first one to admit that Merel was unlikable during the first few chapters of the book. She came across as a brat who went out of her way to make everyone around her miserable. I was prepared to not like her. But then, something happened. There was more to Merel’s story than what the author first shared. There was a significant amount of trauma that happened to Merel within a couple of months. My dislike of her started to go away while journeying to Lullaby Grove. By the time she was on the Sandman’s Beach, my dislike of her faded. I pitied her but I also realized that she was a strong child.
I liked how the author addressed the issues of death and having a sick sibling. Merel’s reactions to the turmoil going on in her life were what I would expect an 8-year-old to do. I also liked how the author chose to have Merel make peace with everything that happened to her. Even the scary things that happened to her was a way of making her accept and move on.
I did find parts of the book to be scary. Mainly, the scenes with the scary stranger. What he did to Merel at the end of the book shocked me. I wasn’t expecting it. It did make sense
The end of the book confused me at first. I had to reread the last chapter to understand. It confused me because Merel went from one situation to another without the reader knowing. Saying that I did like it because the author left if Merel completed her journey until the end.
What I liked about Sleep, Merel, Sleep:
A) Original storyline
B) Merel’s journey
C) Seeing Merel’s journey to accepting everything that happened to her.
What I disliked about Sleep, Merel, Sleep:
A) The stranger. I thought he was too scary at certain points in the book
B) The death of Merel’s grandfather and the premie birth of her brother back to back.
C) The end of the book. I got confused and had to reread the first few chapters.
I would give Sleep, Merel, Sleep a rating of Child. There are no sexual situations. There is very mild violence. There is no language. There are several scenes that could scare a younger child. Also, there are scenes describing a car accident and a premie in the hospital that could scare a child. While this book could be read by children under the age of 10, I would supervise them reading it.
There are trigger warnings in Sleep, Merel, Sleep. They are the death of a grandparent and a sick sibling. If you or your child is triggered by those then I suggest not reading the book.
I would recommend Sleep, Merel, Sleep to family and friends. I would make sure that they knew about the triggers. This is a book that I would reread.
I would like to thank Silke Stein for allowing me to read and review Sleep, Merel, Sleep.
All opinions stated in this review of Sleep, Merel, Sleep are mine.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**