In “Sam Saves The Night,” by Shari Simpson, Samantha Fife is a sleepwalker. She is not at all your average sleepwalker like me (more about that later) but someone who can build a tree house, steal a wheelchair, sleep direct traffic and vinyl side a neighbor’s house and much, much more kind of a sleepwalker. In Sam Saves The Night by Shari Simpson mom-Margie and brother-Jax are able to somehow save Sam from disaster every night but for how long? Her mom barely sleeps, terrified that Sam will meet the same fate as her dad (who was a super humanly charged sleepwalker).
When Sam isn’t sleepwalking or trying to stay awake at school she is battling middle school bully Jaida Coakley. Desperate to find a good and trusted solution, mom enrolls Sam in yet another sleep study program to help find a remedy for Sam’s sleepwalking problems.
Mr. Fletcher seems different than all the other sleep docs that have treated Sam. Aside from his uncharacteristic giddiness and eagerness to treat Sam the same day her mom requests an appointment, his sleep study practice is located in an outdated and rundown strip mall. Sam tries not to let the aestics of Dr. Fletcher’s office put her off and goes thru with the study. Amazingly, she wakes from the night feeling a sensation that she can’t remember… surprisingly rested. When Sam has questions about what method were used to attain her goodnights sleep Dr. Feltcher and his assistant became elusive saying that everything will make sense after her first night of sleep at home. Running in to a classmate in the parking lot (at 8 am in the morning) only adds to the questions that Sam is starting to have about her new doctor.
Now I said I was a sleepwalker didn’t I? Truth is my sleepwalking is very ordinary and pretty uneventful, well except for the one time I woke my parents up in the middle of the night by trying to unlock the front door. Most of the time my parents just hear me wondering around and put me back in my bed, I don’t remember a thing. New studies show that sleepwalking or somnambulism in medical terms could possibly be hereditary which makes sense since I have two cousins on my dad’s side of the family that are also sleepwalkers.
Sam Saves the Night was a fun multilayered plot page turner. The book starts out slowly with a predictable plot of vulnerable character with problem meets middle school bully who will exploit weakness but it quickly becomes more interesting and dynamic. Sam lends a funny, sarcastically playful voice to the story and you quickly find yourself engaged and intrigued by Sam and her night adventures.