Make your own free website on
Karen's Young Adult Book Reviews
| Home | The Earth, My Butt, and Other.../Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal .../Chocolate War | Annie on My Mind/The Curious Incident of the Dog.... | Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes/Growing Season | Nightmare | The Amber Spyglass/Blood and Chocolate/Others See Us | A Thousand Ships/Pink and Say | Best of Enemies/Fever 1793 | Blizzard /Hole in My Life | Seeing the Blue Between/Keesha's House /Bronx Masquerade




For years, Emily Wood has suffered from nightmares. The recurrent theme in the nightmares was the face of a dead woman. A woman she did not know.  The nightmare was one that she could not disclose to others. Emily was a person whom her family viewed as an underachiever. She had, what she called, perfect sisters who were straight A students. Everyone expected her to be like them.


In order to help Emily, her parents send her to a camp meant to help underachieving children. She becomes friends with several others, but does not trust them well enough to tell them of her nightmares.


Things began to happen that seem coincidental, until Emily begins to wonder if things the adults are saying are in her imagination or are they subtle hints. She begins to wonder about the nightmares. She finds a portrait of the woman who appears in the nightmare in the office of the head of the school, Dr. Isaacson. She recognized the woman and wondered if the nightmare was something she had actually witnessed and was Dr. Isaacson the murdered. She remembered going to an educational center with her mother and friend. A daughter also came along. She remembered a woman had fallen, she saw a flash of light, and someone calling her to come back.


She tried to find out which teachers were at the center when the woman fell to her death. The students at the camp took a field trip to a cave. Emily was kept back by one of the teachers who told her she would not escape. Emily had a potion in her pocket that her roommate encouraged her to keep. She used it on the teacher in an attempt to free herself.


Joan Lowery Nixon’s book was an award winner. Her writing captivates the teen audience. This book is very suspenseful. The suspense in the book keeps the reader’s on the edge of their seat until the very end. The book is written in such a way that one chapter reflects on Emily and the killer in the others. The short discourse from the killer gives only enough information to the reader to make them wonder themselves who the killer may be. The setting sets the mood for the suspense. The Camp itself, and then the field trip to the cave, both create a sense of mysteriousness. Nixon’s book, Nightmare, is definitely a thriller worth reading.


One teen reader writes, “This is the best mystery book I've ever read.It was exciting, easy to read, and it never gave the answer to who was the killer.” Another one comments, ” Emily is a believable heroine, and her chilling story will keep readers involved from beginning to end” (


An adult reader comments that,” Nixon will have your spine tingling and your heart pounding as you try to solve this scary whodunit! “ (

Most of Nixon’s mysteries have been classified as thrillers. Thrillers for those who love mystery would definitely enjoy.



Nixon, Joan Lowery. 2003. Nightmare. New York: Delacorte Books.


Sources Book Reviews.   Accessed June 27, 2005.


The Bookcase of Wayzata. Accessed June 27, 2005.

Created by K. Braswell for LS5623 at Texas Woman's University.