Book Review: The Sleepwalker by R.L. Stine


With the last R.L. Stine book that I read, I was really upset when a cat was killed in the service of the plot.  In fact, I was so turned off that I pretty much just skimmed the book after the death of Mr. Jinx.

So, when I started reading 1991’s The Sleepwalker, I was understandably concerned with a black cat named Hazel made an appearance and started hissing at the main character.  “Oh no,” I said, “not again!”  Fortunately, Hazel not only survived the entire book but turned out to be a total badass!  Hazel is exactly the type of cat that you want on your side.  Not only will Hazel hiss at anyone who tries to go through your stuff but Hazel is also willing to use her claws if anyone gets out of line.  Go, Hazel, go!

As for the rest of the story, Mayra is a teenager who is totally in love with Walker, who is this weird kid who is into magic.  Unfortunately, Marya has a creepy ex-boyfriend named Link, who is also totally into magic.  (Link, I should mention, has a sister named Stephanie who is — get this — totally into magic!)  With Walker on vacation and Link acting all whiny, Marya gets a job working as a homecare assistant to old Mrs. Cottler.  Mayra’s mom once worked for Mrs. Cottler and apparently, it’s good to keep these jobs in the family.

Mayra, however, soon comes to suspect that Mrs. Cottler is a witch!  Afterall, Mrs. Cottler has a lot of strange occult-themed books and she also owns a black cat.  (Yay, Hazel!)  After one of Mrs. Cottler’s neighbors complains about her peach tree encroaching on his property, he suffers a broken hip.  Soon, Mayra is having dreams about walking into the middle of a lake and, when she wakes up, she discovers that she has been sleepwalking!  Could it be because Mrs. Cottler put a spell on her and is now trying to destroy her for some weird reason?

(Actually, considering that Mayra has dated two guys who are both into magic tricks and also how quickly Mayra jumps to the  conclusion that Mrs. Cottler must be a witch, I think it’s far more probable that Mayra herself is using her interest in the paranormal as a way to deal with past trauma.  I mean, it’s kind of remarkable that it never seems to occur to her that there might be a non-magic answer to all of her problems.  I get the feeling that her belief in magic is her way of avoiding having to confront anything.  That’s just my theory.  For the record, I don’t believe in magic but I do enjoy reading about it.)

Anyway, even by Stine standards, this is a silly story.  No one turns out to be who we originally believed them to be and it all links up to a mysterious death that occurred years before.  This is one of those things where almost every issue in the book could have been resolved by people just not being stupid.  But, and this is the most important thing …. HAZEL SURVIVES!

YAY HAZEL!

One response to “Book Review: The Sleepwalker by R.L. Stine

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 10/10/22 — 10/16/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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