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Nightmare Paperback – August 9, 2005

25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-Since childhood, 10th-grade Emily has had nightmares about a shadowy, slimy place where she is entangled with vines and sees a body lying in water. She is so petrified by this dream about the open-mouthed and blankly staring corpse that she is unable to confide in anyone. Her parents are upset because she won't let them help her and are frustrated because she doesn't take after her two brilliant sisters. They send her to Camp Excel, an experimental program for underachievers, where Emily has a sense of deja vu, and her true nightmare begins when she realizes her life is in danger. Elements of suspense and mystery are cleverly integrated with the teen's problems resulting from what she witnessed as a child. Readers will once again fall under Nixon's spell as they enjoy this page-turner.
Susan Cooley, formerly at Tower Hill School, Wilmington, DE
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-10. The nightmare has haunted teenage Emily Wood since she was a child: a crumpled body lying half in and half out of the water; dead eyes in a pale, bloody face; a mouth open in a scream that no one can hear. Did it really happen? Whose body is it? Who was the killer? And who is now stalking Emily at Camp Excel, the summer camp for underachievers that her parents have forced her to attend? There's some heavy coincidence, but the late Nixon was a multiple award winner for her YA mysteries, and this one, published after her death, continues her inimitable blend of horror and whodunit, this time with a touch of shivery mysticism and a lively contemporary cast. Readers will rush with Emily to solve the puzzle, even as they shudder at the occasional terse statements by the killer, who is steadily getting closer to another victim. The climactic confrontation in a creepy cave in the Texan Hills is unforgettable. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (August 9, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440237734
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440237730
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,139,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I used to read every Nixon book I could get my hands on at the library a long time ago. I still read YA books from time to time (esp as I'd like to write them), and was pleased to see there were some newer ones than those I remembered. I picked this up to give it a shot. The writing is fine, as I did want to keep reading it. But it started better than it ended. There were moments in the beginning that I laughed out loud at. I would have liked her to explore Emily's relationship with her friends more though and I felt the climax was seriously rushed. I also would have liked to see Emily's family's reactions to everything that happened. It was enjoyable, but the realtionships could have been worked through better. I'm a hopeless romantic, so I wish they'd done a bit more with Maxwell, but the promising start kind of tapered off by the end. Maybe it could have just used an extra chapter. I'd recommend some of Nixon's older mysteries before this one. But this wasn't bad.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Doyle on July 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Sixteen year old Emily is less than thrilled to be on her way to Camp Excel, a camp designed to motivate underachievers. She is even more unsettled at having one of her reoccurring nightmares happen on her ride to the camp. In her dream, Emily looks right into a dead woman's face, floating in the water, staring back at her. What is it about Camp Excel that disturbs her memory, but won't let her remember? Suspense builds as Emily has a feeling she is being stalked. An ominous symbol casually picked from a roommate's rune collection adds to her apprehensions. As Emily pieces her memories together, she starts making sense of the murder in the nightmare she experienced as a child, and all the staff members in camp become suspect. When a fellow student at camp is attacked, Emily is sure she was the intended victim. The plot thickens and the suspense intensifies as the reader encounters intermittent chapters revealing the evil thoughts of an anonymous voice that works at the camp and is plotting Emily's demise.

Joan Lowery Nixon has constructed a quick read, yet an intricate mystery, which readers should find appealing. Her characters are quirky, to fit in with the dysfunctional theme of the camp; but also trendy enough to be valid. There's Taylor, with her spiked pink hair; Maxwell, the procrastinating playwright; and Haley, Emily's roomate with a hyper personality and an obsession with fortune telling. Interjecting the anonymous voice in alternating chapters heightens apprehension and sets the reader to guessing. Emily is being stalked, but by who, and why? Nixon performs a great job of increasing the complexity of details without letting the reader be able to foretell the cullprit. Emily's initial insecurity gives way to reveal new found confidence, leaving the readers feeling she is on her way to a more successful future.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on July 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Emily Wood is the main character in Joan Lowery Nixon's latest book, NIGHTMARE. She is a sixteen-year-old who has been dubbed an "underachiever" by her teachers and parents. They believe this stems from the pressure Emily feels to live up to her two near-perfect older sisters. But her feelings go much deeper than that.

For years, Emily has suffered from a recurring nightmare of a dead body. She does not know who the victim is or where it's happening, but the nightmare is so vivid and strong that it has intruded her world while she's awake. To feel safe, Emily has begun hiding herself: growing her hair long so it covers her face, sitting quietly in the back of her classes, floating invisibly through life.

Emily's parents want to see her succeed in school and in all areas of life, so they enroll her in a summer program called Camp Excel, a radical clinic that specializes in new techniques to reach those hard-to-reach kids. Emily doesn't want to go, but her parents leave her no choice. Once there she meets Haley, her too-perky roommate who believes in the Runes and fortune telling. She also meets Taylor, a girl with spiked hair that's dyed pink. There is also Maxwell, a playwright wannabe.

During classes and therapy, Emily spies a portrait of the woman whose dead body she sees in her nightmare. This is when the trouble begins for Emily. Someone does not want her to remember that her nightmare really happened. This someone begins to hatch a plan to take care of Emily once and for all.

There are many twists and turns in this novel; readers will not be sure of Emily's fate or who the killer in her nightmare turns out to be. Readers, like Emily, will have a very difficult time trusting certain characters.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Linda on July 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a child, Emily witnessed a murder which left her psychologically scarred.Now, the murderer is after her, but Emily never saw the murderer's face.It could be one of many people and Emily must find out whom.

A decent mystery, but I could not stand Haley and her stupid runes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is about a girl named Emily, who is nothing like her family. Her parents think she is not smart enough for school, so when they send her to and underachiever's camp in Dallas, TX, Emily is far from thrilled! Ever since she was eight years old, Emily has been haunted by a nightmare about murder. Now when she sees the camp, something seems familiar. Then she realizes, whet if the dream was not a dream? What if it is a memory that will put Emily in danger as long as she is at camp? This book is a page-turner, as anyone who reads it jumps out of his or her seat. Nightmare was a very, very good book that will stop your heart. This book was amazing! It was like a nonstop suspense movie. (If you like scary stories of course). I would definitely recommend it! READ IT! NOW!
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