Title: The Sleepover
Author: Michael Regina
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: November 9, 2021
Perfect for fans of Stranger Things, this middle grade graphic novel follows a group of kids trying to cheer up their friend after a recent loss with a fun-filled sleepover, but their plans soon take a dark turn when they discover his new nanny may literally be a monster.
When the Russo family returns home from vacation to discover their nanny, Ruby, has unexpectedly passed away, Matthew takes the news the hardest. After weeks of reeling, his three best friends decide to cheer him up with a night of junk food, prank calls, and scary movies. But their plans for a sleepover are jeopardized when Matt’s single mother–unable to take any more time off of work–is forced to hire a new nanny on the fly to watch over Matt and his younger sister, Judy.
Miss Swan, however, is all too happy to have the boys over. And although she seems like the perfect babysitter, letting the kids eat whatever they want and mostly leaving them alone, there’s something about her that Matt doesn’t trust. He thinks she may actually be the witch from local legend–the one who torments children into the night and then eats them. Is he just having a hard time dealing with Ruby’s replacement, as his friends suspect? Has he watched one too many scary movies, as his mom fears? Or are he and his horror-buff friends in for the fright of their lives as they come face-to-face with a real monster?
Ruby was the best babysitter for Matt and Judy. When Matt and Judy return home from vacation to find that Ruby has passed away suddenly, they need to find another babysitter. Their mom hires Miss Swan for the evening while Matt has his friends over for a sleepover. However, there’s something strange about Miss Swan. Matt suspects that she is actually the rumored witch who lives in the woods behind their house and supposedly eats children. His mom thinks that Matt is just missing Ruby, and that’s why he doesn’t like the new babysitter. Matt has to try to convince everyone else that Miss Swan is actually a witch.
This graphic novel reminded me of Stranger Things. It was set in 1993, and the children loved watching horror movies. Each of the four friends had their strengths and weaknesses when it came to figuring out the truth about the witch. Judy tried to join in with the boys, but since she was the little sister, she wasn’t always included. Though it is set almost 30 years in the past, this story still had relatable characters and relationships.
Fears were an important theme to this story. Ruby was scared of thunderstorms, so she always had to be close to Matt and Judy during a storm. This showed that even adults can have irrational fears that can affect their lives. A fear was the key to the ending of the novel, so it was an important part of the story.
The Sleepover is a spooky middle grade graphic novel!
Thank you Razorbill for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
The Hiddenseek by Nate Cernosek
Stranger Things: The Other Side by Jody Houser
Have you read The Sleepover? What did you think of it?