Nightmares! by Jason Segel, Kirsten Miller, Karl Kwasny |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble


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by Jason Segel, Kirsten Miller, Karl Kwasny

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Jason Segel, multitalented actor, writer, and musician, teams up with New York Times bestselling author Kirsten Miller for the hilariously frightening middle-grade novel Nightmares!, the first book in a trilogy about a boy named Charlie and a group of kids who must face their fears to save their town.
Sleeping has never been so scary. And


Jason Segel, multitalented actor, writer, and musician, teams up with New York Times bestselling author Kirsten Miller for the hilariously frightening middle-grade novel Nightmares!, the first book in a trilogy about a boy named Charlie and a group of kids who must face their fears to save their town.
Sleeping has never been so scary. And now waking up is even worse!
Charlie Laird has several problems.
1. His dad married a woman he is sure moonlights as a witch.
2. He had to move into her purple mansion, which is NOT a place you want to find yourself after dark.
3.He can’t remember the last time sleeping wasn’t a nightmarish prospect. Like even a nap.
What Charlie doesn’t know is that his problems are about to get a whole lot more real. Nightmares can ruin a good night’s sleep, but when they start slipping out of your dreams and into the waking world—that’s a line that should never be crossed.
And when your worst nightmares start to come true . . . well, that’s something only Charlie can face. And he’s going to need all the help he can get, or it might just be lights-out for Charlie Laird. For good.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Coraline meets Monsters, Inc. in this delightfully entertaining offering from actor Segel and co-author Miller (How to Lead a Life of Crime), first in a trilogy. Twelve-year-old Charlie Laird believes his new stepmother is a witch, in part due to his horrible nightmares about being held captive by witches. Charlie soon learns that the witches' Netherworld is real, and his fear has opened a portal allowing creatures to travel between realms. When Charlie ventures into the Netherworld to rescue his kidnapped younger brother, he becomes embroiled in an epic struggle to prevent the terrifying President Fear from turning the mortal world into a place of eternal nightmares. In a story that's both whimsical and disturbing, Charlie works to rescue his friends, help them overcome their fears, and find his courage. Segel and Miller make for a solid team; their Netherworld is populated by everything from talking bugs to killer clowns, and the underlying message—sometimes you have to admit to and confront your fears—is important. Kwasny's illustrations provide a fitting mixture of realism and absurdity. Ages 8–12. Agent: Erin Malone, William Morris Endeavor and Abrams Entertainment. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"[Nightmares!] succeeds at scaring and amusing in equal measure...[It's] sweet, charming, and imaginative."-Kirkus Reviews

"Segel...and Miller build an entertaining, cartoony world full of scary (but not too scary) monsters, silly jokes, plucky kid heroes, and a cinematic plot that trundles onward to a satisfying conclusion, with a promise of adventures to come."-Booklist

VOYA, October 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 4) - Erin Wyatt
After the death of his mom, Charlie is reeling from grief and hates that his dad and brother seem to be moving on in the creepy castle that is the historic family home of his stepmother. Fear and anger are taking over his life, leaving him afraid to sleep and face the too-real nightmares that seem to pull him deeper and deeper into the Netherworld. His castle home has a portal to the nightmare realm, and Charlie stumbles into a nefarious plot engineered by President Fear to take over the Waking World. Supported by loyal friends and a plucky younger brother, Charlie must work with a strange cast of characters, including a gorgon named Meduso and Dabney the clown, to change the status quo of Netherworld and stop the president. An engaging and creative story about facing one’s fears, helping friends and community, and finding peace and happiness, this fantasy novel is woven with a generous amount humor. Creative characters populate the Netherworld landscape, from the terrifying to the quirky—the qualification for being there is to be a source of fear for a living person. While Charlie is in mortal danger because both his body and soul have entered the Netherworld, he learns that he and his band of friends must work together to face their fears and outsmart the head fear monger, who is also posing as the principal of their school. Reviewer: Erin Wyatt; Ages 11 to 15.
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Eleven-year-old Charlie Laird is absolutely convinced that his stepmother Charlotte is a witch. She dresses funny, serves seriously strange food (kale pancakes), and runs a store called Hazel's Herbarium. Charlie's dad, little brother, and friends all like Charlotte and think Charlie's still grieving for his mom. He's also suffering from terrible nightmares, and living in Charlotte's crazy purple mansion isn't helping. The evil witch who stars in those nightmares threatens to follow the protagonist into the real world and kidnap his brother. Instead, he is tricked into the Nightmare World, peopled with monsters and madness: gorgons, goblins, crazy clowns, scary bunnies, tests filled with gibberish, and the monomaniacal President Fear (who also inhabits the real world as the truly terrifying Principal Stearns). But all is not what it seems, and some of the scariest creatures turn out to be sympathetic—or even allies. There are lessons to be learned about facing fears and uncovering the real enemy in this tale. Pals Alfie, Rocco, and Paige are interesting and fairly three-dimensional; most of the adults (with the exceptions of Fear/Stearns and Charlotte) are merely background. The fear is as much psychological as anything, and there's humor and a fairly high ick-factor, but relatively little violence. A good choice for elementary-aged scare-seekers.—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Charlie Laird's nightmares become a reality when he discovers a portal to the Netherworld.Charlie's widowed father has recently remarried, and Charlie hates it. He hates his stepmom. He hates that his young brother, Jack, is taken in by her. But most of all he hates the new house his family has moved into, as well as the never-ending stream of nightmares he experiences there every night. An evil witch haunts Charlie's sleep, threatening to eat him and his brother up. When the witch appears in the real world and snatches Jack away, Charlie follows her into the Netherworld and, with the aid of a gorgon and a few slumbering friends, sets out to save not just his brother, but the Land of Nightmares itself. As a first book in a proposed trilogy, there's a lot of promise here. The authors set up the supernatural rules of this world with ease, not getting bogged down with exceptions or contradictions. The book succeeds at scaring and amusing in equal measure, with the Nightmares as varied as they are humorous. At the heart of the endeavor is a story of personal growth, one that fits nicely with the spooky doings surrounding it. Best of all, this is a contained story. There's no cliffhanger, no shoddy lingering threats. Upon completion, readers could set it down and never return to the Netherworld, but this world is so enjoyable and interesting, it's hard to not anticipate future trips.Sweet, charming and imaginative: a promising launch. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Nightmares! Series, #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.50(d)
670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years


Meet the Author

Jason Segel used to have nightmares just like Charlie, and just like Charlie, he's learned that the things we're most afraid of are the things that can make us strong...if we're brave enough to face them. Jason likes acting, writing, making music, and hanging out with his friends. Sometimes he writes movies. Sometimes he writes songs for movies. Sometimes he stars in those movies and sings those songs. You might know him from The Muppets and Despicable Me. Your parents might know him from other stuff. Nightmares! is his first novel.

Kirsten Miller grew up in a small town just like Cypress Creek, minus the purple mansion. She lives and writes in New York City. Kirsten is the author of the acclaimed Kiki Strike books, the Eternal Ones series, and How to Lead a Life of Crime. You can visit her at

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Nightmares! 4.4 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was quite imaginative! I gave it four stars, however, for having at least one word I wouldn't want to read aloud. I think kids will like this series though. I disagree with the other reviewers that said it was slow to start. It's actually the opposite-- you get placed in the action right away! Charlie can't sleep because he's convinced his nightmares are deadly, and he thinks his stepmother's a witch, that's the very beginning! And it gets scarier and scarier as it goes along, with more and more people in danger. I love the message that we can learn from our nightmares.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just started reading this but so far I'm loving it! Must Read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a really fun read. It's more for kids that are a little older I would assume. But being an adult, and reading it, I thought it was very entertaining and was written very well. Looking forward to the next installment!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is really good. Hope they come out with asecond
Laine-librariancanreadtoo 29 days ago
Nightmares is something everyone has had. Whether you are young or old, you once had a nightmare that you just couldn't shake off. Sometimes it's just the one nightmare, sometimes it's a trilogy. Sometimes, however, it stays with you for days, weeks, even months. You are either falling into a dark abyss; a clown is chasing you; failing a test that is coming up. But the main thing to remember is that these are just nightmares.....they only occur during the night, during sleep. Once you wake up, those nightmares are gone. Or so Charlie Laird believed so. Charlie believed like everyone else, that nightmares aren't real, and that they only occur during sleep time. That is until he started having the same dream over and over again ever since moving into the purple mansion which he believes have caused the nightmares to escalate. Of course everyone assures him that the nightmares aren't real. That is until a nightmare started walking around broad daylight!!!! Charlie and his friends found something very unusual in the Purple Mansion.....a gateway into the Netherworld....a gateway into Nightmares. Every nightmare Charlie's town has ever had or has now, Charlie and his friends are walking in them. Trying to figure out how a Nightmare got through the gateway and into Reality while also trying to figure out how to get out of the nightmares that seem to have plagued the town. How can you get out of your nightmare when your nightmare won't let go of you? How do you win in a Nightmare? Jason Segel shows you how with the help of Charlie and his friends. A wonderful, helpful story for kids and yes even adults who have terrible Nightmare that they just can't shake off.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Characteristics: •weird •afriad 24/7 (I don'blame him) •determined (to get out of his nightmare) •[he's a] creepazoid •interesting *Weirdest part of the book: when Charlie is AWAKE, and gets caught in his and other children's nightmares
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So unless into children fiction skip and just read blurb
JMTJTC More than 1 year ago
"That’s how fear grows. When you keep it locked inside and never let it out, it starts to eat you alive.” Genre: Children’s Paranormal Mystery Number of Pages: 368 Perspective: Third Nightmares! is the story of Charlie, a boy who thinks his new stepmother is a witch. He is tormented by nightmares and soon his brother gets kidnapped and dragged into the nightmare world. Charlie and his friends rush to try to bring him back before it’s too late. I got this book from an old professor about a year back. I added it to my pile without really thinking about it. Then a few months ago I saw an advertisement for Jason Segel’s new book—yes, the actor who shows his junk in the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall and starred in How I Met Your Mother. So imagine my surprise when I found out he wrote a children’s book. And I already had the book. So I made it a priority to actually read this book. It actually wasn’t bad—but I have to note that he did have a co-writer, as many actors-turned-writers do. I do really appreciate that this has a boy main character and is aimed towards middle aged kids. By that point, unfortunately, many boys are no longer interested in reading, and there doesn’t seem to be many books out there that both boys and girls can enjoy equally. So, this is a really great contribution to children’s literature. It’s not the best children’s book I’ve ever read, but I think a lot of kids/pre-teens would really enjoy it. To read the rest of my review, go here:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Purchased this for my son and ended up reading it myself. Truly felt for the character Charlie and cheered when he overcame his true fear. Will be purchasing the second book, can't wait to read it as well!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo good :)
DebDavis More than 1 year ago
My grandson shared this book with me and I must say I truly enjoyed it. It is well written and entertaining even for this Nana!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A young wolf pads in and shifts to a young human female with bright blue eyes and blond hair
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everyone has a fear, mine is giant tarantulas ,five nights at freddy's and the dark one ...what is your fear? Post below P.s The dark one is from a awesome book called chosen by ted dekker read the book it is awesome dudes. WE WILL MEET AGAIN READER KEEP READING SO YOU CA BE A HERO ...see you soon
Ronrose More than 1 year ago
Charlie Laird’s mom passed away a few years ago. He thought he was managing to deal with the sorrow. Until recently, when a woman named Charlotte DeChant, moved into town. She took possession of the the hideous purple mansion on top of the hill overlooking the town of Cypress Creek. Within a few days she filled the old house to overflowing with a jungle of creepy plants and opened an herbalist shop in town. There Charlie and his friends spied her dispensing all sorts of weird concoctions to the local townsfolk. In less than a year, much to Charlie’s chagrin, Charlotte and Charlie’s dad, Andrew, were married. To make matters worse, Andrew, Charlie, and Charlie’s younger brother, Jack all moved into the creepy mansion with Charlotte, leaving all of Charlie’s fond memories behind in his old house. Charlie thought everything Charlotte did was very weird. In fact, he thought she was a witch, a real witch. He even started calling her his stepmonster. As things continued to get weirder, Charlie started having nightmares about being carried off by a witch. A witch, who in fact looked very much like Charlotte. The nightmares were so real that Charlie tried staying awake night after night to avoid them. This only succeeded in making him cranky and tired both at home and at school. His new principal at school, Mr. Stearns, was mean enough to give any student nightmares. It seemed to Charlie that Mr. Stearns was especially picking on him. Charlie soon found that he was unable to get along with anyone, his friends at school, his parents, even his brother, Jack. He refused to tell anyone what was bothering him and why he couldn’t sleep. The witch in his dreams had told him, if she couldn’t have him, she would take his brother back to the land of nightmares instead of him. Will Charlie be brave enough to face up to his fears and follow the witch and his brother into the land of nightmares? Will he be able to battle his worst nightmares and save Jack? Will he succumb to his fears and loose Jack? Will they find their way out of the land of nightmares or be trapped there forever? I liked this book. It took a while to really get interesting, but then took off and delivered a good story. The book was provided for review by Random House Children’s Books.
lulabell67 More than 1 year ago
I hate to admit it, but I was disappointed in this book. I volunteer at my kids' library and thought this might be a good addition to our selections as the kids (grades K-6) are always looking for (age-appropriate) "scary" stories. The premise of the book is one they would all enjoy but I feel that the story is slow to take-off and continues on way too long before resolving. It's got a bit of an Alice-in-Wonderland and Tim Burton feel to it which I think, although it's not among my favorite fare, kids would enjoy. As an adult, the main character in the book annoyed me into skipping pages along the course of the story. If the action of the story began sooner and ended sooner, I would put it on our shelves. However, I'm afraid that I'll have to donate it to our "Book Sale" since I don't believe I can justify using what precious little Library bookshelf space we have doubting as I do that the kids will successfully wade through it in its entirety.