Are You Sleeping
Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.The only thing more dangerous than a lie...is the truth.Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason. After her father's murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay. The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.

Are You Sleeping Details

TitleAre You Sleeping
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 1st, 2017
PublisherGallery Books
ISBN1501157663
ISBN-139781501157660
Number of pages336 pages
Rating
GenreMystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Fiction

Are You Sleeping Review

  • Susanne Strong
    March 11, 2017
    4 Stars.What happens when your past comes back to haunt you? In “Are You Sleeping” by Kathleen Barber, the main character, Josie Burhman finds out. And for her, it isn’t pretty. Josie has spent ten years hiding from her past, going so far as to legally change her name and traveling abroad aimlessly for five years before setting down roots in New York. But as we all know, you can’t escape your past for long. Josie’s father was murdered, thirteen years prior. Her mother, unable to cope, takes off 4 Stars.What happens when your past comes back to haunt you? In “Are You Sleeping” by Kathleen Barber, the main character, Josie Burhman finds out. And for her, it isn’t pretty. Josie has spent ten years hiding from her past, going so far as to legally change her name and traveling abroad aimlessly for five years before setting down roots in New York. But as we all know, you can’t escape your past for long. Josie’s father was murdered, thirteen years prior. Her mother, unable to cope, takes off for California, joining a cult, leaving Josie and her twin sister Lanie, in the care of her Aunt. Lanie loses it and strikes out at everyone she loves. And Josie? She leaves right after her High School graduation. Ten years later she is living a new life in New York with her boyfriend Caleb. The problem? He knows nothing of her past and Josie doesn’t want him to find out. Unfortunately for Josie, an investigative reporter creates a series of podcasts reopening the investigation into her father’s death, which coincides with her mother’s suicide. And then? All hell breaks loose, forcing Josie to go back home for the first time in ten years in order to confront her family and her past. In “Are You Sleeping” the author, Kathleen Barber, did a phenomenal job of keeping me on the edge of my seat. Every time I thought knew what was going to happen I was wrong. The pacing of the novel was quick, the storyline drew me in immediately and the characters were all consuming. The character of Josie gripped me and she wouldn’t let go. There were times when I was completely exasperated with her, yet I liked her a lot. And the character of Ellen, Josie’s cousin? Loved her. She made me laugh. A lot. I also liked the social media aspect of the story as it created a dynamic I am not familiar with. I found “Are You Sleeping” to be a suspenseful mystery that flowed fairly well and kept me interested throughout, thus if you are looking for a good mystery, this is it. Thank you to NetGalley, Gallery Books and Kathleen Barber for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.Published on NetGalley and Goodreads on 3/11/17.*Will be published on Amazon on 8/1/17.
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  • Linda
    April 17, 2017
    Perception.And how exactly do we arrive at our view of the world and all of its clingy entanglements?Is it purely ours to hold within or has it been tainted and smeared with the handprints of others?Kathleen Barber presents her story of Are You Sleeping through the lense of social media. Poppy Parnell, an investigative reporter, is resurrecting a murder case from 2002. It involves a beloved college professor from Elm Park College in Illinois. Although the murderer has been convicted and serving Perception.And how exactly do we arrive at our view of the world and all of its clingy entanglements?Is it purely ours to hold within or has it been tainted and smeared with the handprints of others?Kathleen Barber presents her story of Are You Sleeping through the lense of social media. Poppy Parnell, an investigative reporter, is resurrecting a murder case from 2002. It involves a beloved college professor from Elm Park College in Illinois. Although the murderer has been convicted and serving his sentence, Poppy feels that there is more to this story.Enter Josie Buhrman. Josie is the victim's daughter who has purposefully embraced the anonymous lifestyle of New York City. She's made no contact with her twin sister, Lanie, in over ten years. Lanie has made sure of that with quite the betrayal from years ago. Josie lives with her boyfriend, Caleb, who is presently working in the Congo. She met him while traipsing through Europe and Africa on her avoidance tour. But there's plenty of breadcrumbs left behind on this Josie trail. Poppy eventually locates Josie and pursues her with her relentless podcast. Josie has erected stone walls in the form of jagged lies in regard to Caleb. He has no idea about her backstory until this "orphan's" mother dies and she must return to Elm Park. The jig is up and it's time for Josie to face the music and the sister she left behind.Are You Sleeping had all the makings of quite the read. Kathleen Barber created a story lined with all the intrusiveness of social media into our lives topped off with the subjective nature of the human eye. What exactly is our own truth and how much of it is brushed with the strokes of other's verbal involvement? How easily are we swayed by another's words?I know that there are and will be much higher reviews for this one. The element of "time" did me in. Barber sets out a loop that has widened over the years in this novel. To cinch it back in was a cumbersome undertaking for the reader. Of all the gin mills in all the world, Poppy picks this one. The actions taking place in the finale were so contrived. The tension at this place point was not due to a surprise element, but it was more in question of how to get all the disjointed pieces back in the box. This is a debut novel for Ms. Barber. I'd like to take another spin around the block in her next one for sure. She has the makings of a successful author.I received a copy of Are You Sleeping through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Gallery Books (Simon & Shuster) and to Kathleen Barber for the opportunity.
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  • Jenni Walsh
    March 2, 2017
    Talk about an addicting, compulsively-readable book. The author truly kept me needing to know what was going to happen next, with a captivating format that includes the transcripts, commentary, and social media of an investigative reporter (a la the Serial aspect of the story), coupled with the first-person narrative of Josie Buhrman, the daughter of the murdered man featured in the podcasts. Josie's storyline was immersive, fully developed, and she portrayed a like-able voice in which I was dyi Talk about an addicting, compulsively-readable book. The author truly kept me needing to know what was going to happen next, with a captivating format that includes the transcripts, commentary, and social media of an investigative reporter (a la the Serial aspect of the story), coupled with the first-person narrative of Josie Buhrman, the daughter of the murdered man featured in the podcasts. Josie's storyline was immersive, fully developed, and​ she portrayed a​ like-able voice in which I was dying for a happy ending. Did I get one, you'll have to read to see. A book I'd recommend to all the thriller fans out there.
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  • Abby (Crime by the Book)
    June 19, 2017
    4.5/5 stars for this original & addictive read!! Read my full review here: http://crimebythebook.com/blog/2017/6...This book definitely isn't as dark as some of its peer psychological thrillers, but its originality & inventive storytelling make for a completely addictive read. A great summer thriller!!
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  • Kathryn
    July 10, 2017
    There’s an emerging literary trope in which an intelligent, but battled-scarred female protagonist with a tragic past, gets the hell outta dodge, but is inevitably forced back to her hometown to confront her demons. A spurned love interest, bitter ex-bestie, or pissed-off sibling are also generally thrown in for good measure. Off the top of my head I can think of two acclaimed works published in 2016, Kara Thomas’ The Darkest Corners and Megan Miranda’s All the Missing Girls, which fit this form There’s an emerging literary trope in which an intelligent, but battled-scarred female protagonist with a tragic past, gets the hell outta dodge, but is inevitably forced back to her hometown to confront her demons. A spurned love interest, bitter ex-bestie, or pissed-off sibling are also generally thrown in for good measure. Off the top of my head I can think of two acclaimed works published in 2016, Kara Thomas’ The Darkest Corners and Megan Miranda’s All the Missing Girls, which fit this format. Now Kathleen Barber is throwing her hat (or pen?) in the ring with her 2017 offering Are you Sleeping. Did Ms. Barber fare well compared to her most recent counterparts? In some regards yes and in others a resounding--NO. Josie, our main character, is this trope’s prototypical damaged lead. She’s escaped from small town Illinois and headed to Big City NYC in pursuit of an anonymous existence with her humanitarian boyfriend Caleb. Because y’all Josie’s father’s murder was a BIG DEAL. Like Nancy Grace BIG DEAL. But get this: Caleb has no clue because Josie NEVER TELLS HIM ABOUT IT. To hide her identity, years back Josie changed her last name and because she’s estranged from her twin sister (oh, and her mom’s in a cult….NBD) Caleb has remained blissfully ignorant. But more on the Caleb/Josie relationship later. Much more. Without warning, Josie’s father’s murder is forcibly pushed back into the spotlight by a hugely successful podcast, Reconsidered, seemingly inspired by Netflix’s docuseries, Making a Murderer. Similar to Making a Murderer, Reconsidered questions whether the man in jail for Josie’s father’s murder, Warren Cave, is the actual perpetrator. Now Josie’s carefully constructed life (of lies) is in a tailspin, old wounds are being ripped open and then comes THE PHONECALL. Her mother, who she hasn’t seen since she moved to Cali to drink kool-aid & worship the sun (literally), has committed suicide. So, as happens in these little ditties, Josie is obligated to return to the ole homestead. Kicking & screaming the entire way. The best parts of Are You Sleeping come when the focus remains on the family. Josie and her estranged twin Lanie’s interactions are fraught with tension and history, layers, and complexity, making those passages naturally compelling. “My connection to my sister had been dulled over the years--first by drugs, then by distance--but my body insisted Lanie was calling out for me. I hadn’t decided if I would answer.” Are You Sleeping, and Josie, are most interesting when they capture and explore the complexities of familial relationships. Exposing those gray areas and allowing them to remain that way. Unfortunately the grace and finesse with which Are You Sleeping handles familial relationships does not extend to those of the romantic variety. Josie and Caleb’s relationship made me want to scream. LOUDLY. For multiple reasons. Partly it’s that Caleb is a complete Mary Sue, or rather Marty Stu, which is embodied in gag-worthy quotes such as: “Caleb’s nurturing spirit was what had first attracted me to him. We had met in Zanzibar, where he was working with underprivileged schoolchildren.” Really? Nurturing Spirit? Working with Underprivileged children? AND he’s a humanitarian??? HARD EYEROLL. But that’s just the beginning of the ick….. Are You Sleeping uses Marty Stu Caleb to REPEATEDLY belittle and minimize Josie’s character: “Caleb’s patience and kindness captivated me immediately; what he saw in me, I never understood.” Now in a different story this might have been an opportunity for Josie’s arc to focus on evident self-esteem & co-dependency issues. But the narrative never gives it much focus (or any, really). Instead we get even MORE instances, like the one above, where Josie is demonized only to further sanctify CALEB OF THE NURTURING SPIRIT. BUT WAIT: the snowball of BAD keeps growing….Josie is purportedly a smart, independent, strong female lead. And she is. Except when she’s within a 10 foot radius of anyone with a penis. Then, she reverts to behavior more appropriate for that of a 15-year-old...or Anastasia Steele, reciting such cliched gems as: “you are the only thing that means anything to me in this entire world, and I would die if I lost you” and “you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that.” Not only are these passages ENORMOUSLY insulting to Josie’s character, they’re insulting to WOMEN in general. Josie’s in her early thirties FFS. What thirty-something talks like that??!! Especially when in the next chapter (or paragraph) she transforms back into an intelligent, self-sufficient, admirable character? It’s inconsistent characterization. And just….gross. As is the case in books featuring this particular trope, the whodunnit in and of itself, is really secondary. Yeah, it’s there but it’s very much not a big deal. The plot’s heavy on the psychological, lighter on the mystery. So yeah….there were seeds of a great story here and some segments were enjoyable. Others…..not so much. Characterization is clearly an issue, as well as subtlety. Josie’s mother is described as “ethereal” about 50 times. So much so that I half expected the woman to transform into a damn fairy by book’s end. Like we get it. Enough. All that said, Kathleen Barber shows promise and I wouldn’t discount her in the future.Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Barbara
    March 27, 2017
    Josie Buhrman's father was shot and killed 13 years ago, and Warren Cave - the goth teenage boy next door - was convicted of the crime. Afterwards, Josie's already troubled mother fell apart, and ran off to join a cult. To top things off, Josie's rebellious twin sister, Lanie, betrayed her in a very hurtful way. So at 18, Josie left a goodbye note for her beloved Aunt Amelia - with whom she'd been living - and left Elm Park, Illinois. Josie backpacked and hitchhiked around the world, supported h Josie Buhrman's father was shot and killed 13 years ago, and Warren Cave - the goth teenage boy next door - was convicted of the crime. Afterwards, Josie's already troubled mother fell apart, and ran off to join a cult. To top things off, Josie's rebellious twin sister, Lanie, betrayed her in a very hurtful way. So at 18, Josie left a goodbye note for her beloved Aunt Amelia - with whom she'd been living - and left Elm Park, Illinois. Josie backpacked and hitchhiked around the world, supported herself with low-paying food service jobs, and invented a fake history to tell new acquaintances. After years of roaming Josie met Caleb, a handsome international aid worker from New Zealand. They fell in love and eventually settled in New York, where Josie got a good job in a bookstore. Josie never told Caleb the truth about her past, which is about to come back and bite her in the butt.A reporter named Poppy Parnell is making a podcast about the murder of Josie's dad, Chuck Buhrman. Furthermore, Parnell is questioning Warren Cave's guilt and looking at possible alternative suspects. The re-opening of the case generates a lot of interest among the general public, who proceed to talk and post comments about the case and everyone connected with it.Josie is terribly anxious about Parnell's podcast, which reminds her of painful events. Additonally, the idea that Warren Cave might be innocent is anathema to her. After all, Josie's sister Lanie said she SAW Warren shoot her father. Who else could have committed the crime? Podcast groupies are ready with lots of suggestions, including Josie's mother, Warren's mother, Lanie, and others. The podcast and the renewed publicity is apparently too much for Josie's mother, who commits suicide. As a result, Josie has to return to Elm Park, where she'll attend her mother's funeral, comfort her Aunt Amelia, and see her estranged sister Lanie. Caleb thinks Josie's mother is long dead, so she tells him it's her aunt's funeral, and convinces him to stay behind in New York.Being back in Elm Park is very stressful for Josie. She's still furious with her sister; her cousin Ellen, a fashionista, is critical of her appearance; the viewing and funeral are difficult; and Caleb shows up and learns that Josie is big liar. Moreover, Poppy Parnell keeps trying to corner Josie, to get an interview for the podcast.The story is told as a narrative interspersed with excerpts from the podcast, plus Tweets, Reddit threads, and comments from the public. This style works well for the book, and some of the 'messages' are very entertaining. (Sadly, it's a realistic portrayal of how insensitive people can be on social media.)The basic plot - is Warren guilty? If not, who is? - is compelling. The main characters, though, are somewhat unsympathetic and/or unrealistic.Josie, for one, is an irritating protagonist. She's whiny, overly emotional, and even after 10 years can't get past Lanie's 'betrayal' which - after all - wasn't that earth shattering. And Josie does some business with her hair - she has her luxuriant black tresses chopped into a bad pixie cut and dyed platinum.....then gets it fixed - which seems pointless. Also, in real life, men aren't as understanding or forgiving as Caleb.As for Lanie, some of her obnoxious behavior as a teen - hanging with a bad crowd; using drugs; not showering; wearing dirty clothes; and so on - is understandable in the circumstances. However, one of Lanie's actions is a serious crime, and there are no appropriate consequences. I wondered what her family was thinking!In a way Poppy Parnell is the most authentic character in the book. She's irritating but behaves like a real journalist - chasing people for comments; saying outrageous things for publicity; not caring about the harm she's doing to the families; and so on. By the end of the book the truth about Chuck Buhrman's death emerges, which some readers may suss out long before the characters do. Overall, this is an okay book that shows how 'true crime' stories can devastate the families involved.Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of the book.You can follow my reviews at http://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot.com/
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  • AnisaAnne
    June 23, 2017
    What are the stories we tell ourselves?A podcast about the Charles Buhrman murder of 2002 is about to reopen old wounds for daughter Josie and possibly create new ones. Living in a protective box, Josie has managed to piece together a new life in the Big Apple with Caleb. But the past's reach is not far Journalist Poppy Parnell's clutch. Poppy seeks unanswered questions about Josie's fathers untimely death. Is Warren Cave the man convicted of Buhrman's murder the actual assailant or was a lie to What are the stories we tell ourselves?A podcast about the Charles Buhrman murder of 2002 is about to reopen old wounds for daughter Josie and possibly create new ones. Living in a protective box, Josie has managed to piece together a new life in the Big Apple with Caleb. But the past's reach is not far Journalist Poppy Parnell's clutch. Poppy seeks unanswered questions about Josie's fathers untimely death. Is Warren Cave the man convicted of Buhrman's murder the actual assailant or was a lie told? Josie is forced to confront her many secrets and the buried truth in a family's dark closet.From the transcript of "Revisited" to the opening scene, an emotional charge is created like the atmosphere before an electrical storm. Immediately the lies start unfolding. The narrative flows freely and the plot twists seamlessly. Josie character is well developed and relatable. As Josie's world starts to be revealed we slowly start to see a women become undone. Poppy Parnell’s is completely unlikable and portrayed as a villainous reporter who will overstep any boundary to achieve her goal. The story plot unfolds in the setting of social media which make you pause at the impact of the words cast freely out into the universe. A fantastic read for the summer! Highly recommend this well written suspenseful novel.Thank you Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    March 12, 2017
    I loved "Are you Sleeping" which again has two very different sisters at the heart of it and reminded me just a little of the brilliant "Six Stories" which I also loved recently - but I think that was just the podcast aspects which really do work well in telling the wider story.In "Are you Sleeping" a new podcast re-examining an old murder opens up old wounds for an already fractured family. Taking in themes of memory, sibling relationships and traumatic past events, Kathleen Barber weaves a ten I loved "Are you Sleeping" which again has two very different sisters at the heart of it and reminded me just a little of the brilliant "Six Stories" which I also loved recently - but I think that was just the podcast aspects which really do work well in telling the wider story.In "Are you Sleeping" a new podcast re-examining an old murder opens up old wounds for an already fractured family. Taking in themes of memory, sibling relationships and traumatic past events, Kathleen Barber weaves a tense, atmospheric and genuinely fascinating tale of a family dynamic gone horribly wrong and the possible miscarriage of justice this has caused. The mystery elements are well woven and clever, the story twists its way to a rather heartbreaking ultimate solution and it is utterly gripping from first page to last.I was completely engaged with the ebb and flow of the relationship between twins Laine and Jo -both of whom had very different reactions to events around them - estranged but trying to find a way to come back together under extraordinarily trying circumstances, I loved how the author managed the dynamic between them both in their similar and dissimilar qualities. Added to that the ever changing path to the final truth of the matter encompassing loss, parental influence and how our perceptions change with life experience, this was a completely wonderful read featuring some very memorable characters.Highly Recommended.
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  • Monnie
    July 1, 2017
    In the end, I enjoyed this book - but it was the plot, not the characters, that turned the tide. For much of the first half, all I did was mutter to myself how much I detested main character Josie Buhrman (and to a slightly lesser extent, her twin sister Lanie). The latter sister struck me as the "evil" twin, just as apparently she did to the characters in the book who knew her. Josie was another story; she spent most of her time berating other people for their lying ways when she was arguably t In the end, I enjoyed this book - but it was the plot, not the characters, that turned the tide. For much of the first half, all I did was mutter to myself how much I detested main character Josie Buhrman (and to a slightly lesser extent, her twin sister Lanie). The latter sister struck me as the "evil" twin, just as apparently she did to the characters in the book who knew her. Josie was another story; she spent most of her time berating other people for their lying ways when she was arguably the biggest liar of them all.To be fair, the now-estranged Josie and Lanie had it tough growing up. Their mother had some kind of mental illness, their father was murdered 13 years earlier, and not long thereafter, the mother ran off to join a hippy-dippy cult. If there was a saving grace, it was that their father's killer was caught and convicted - identified by Lanie, who claimed to have seen him do the dastardly deed. Throughout his years in jail, though, he's insisted that he's innocent.Not long after their mother abandoned them, Josie left home, ending up in New York with her partner, Caleb, and zero intentions of ever going back to visit once-treasured relatives. But then, a self-described "investigative" reporter named Poppy Parnell reveals a podcast which she claims will shed new light on the twins' father's murder. Was a man wrongly convicted? Did Lanie, who changed her original story that she'd seen nothing, lie on the witness stand? And if those things are true, who is the real murderer and what was the motivation?The podcast, downloaded by thousands including Josie, opens up old family wounds - especially, it seems, for the twins' mother; not long after the first one appears, she is found dead on the cult's property, clearly a suicide. Now, Josie feels compelled to return home for the funeral of the mother she loved, hoping to avoid interaction with anyone else. She also doesn't want to interact with Caleb, who's ready and willing to accompany her. Why? Simply because everything she's told him about herself is a big fat lie, including her last name - which she changed to rid herself of the stigmas of her past and live in relative anominity.Although she was given ample opportunity and good reason to 'fess up, Josie refuses to come clean - reasoning that her beloved Caleb just wouldn't understand and would exit stage left. Instead, she manages to convince him to stay put while she heads home alone. If I didn't already dislike her, that sealed the deal for sure.From then on, much of the story focuses on Josie's encounters with family members, most notably her sister, interspersed with text of the podcasts and readers' reactions as they are released. As tensions begin to heat up, Josie gets a surprise visitor; and from that time forward, the story starts to move quickly, capturing my attention to the somewhat-of-a-twist ending.My conclusion? If you can stand neurotic, sometimes totally unhinged females, this is a very good, intriguing book with a plot that's a bit different (and thus welcome, especially given all the recent books featuring neurotic females). Many thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley, for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Brandie
    June 29, 2017
    I really enjoyed this, even though it felt like it took me forever to finish. It's a slower read - no real big reveals and not a fast-paced suspense by any means. There's a lot of character development, and it was good for the story. I loved the sinister, creepy feeling throughout the book and that it kept me guessing and on edge. I pretty much figured it out by the end and felt it was a little anticlimactic. I think the ending was a little abrupt and there could've been a bit more closure/answe I really enjoyed this, even though it felt like it took me forever to finish. It's a slower read - no real big reveals and not a fast-paced suspense by any means. There's a lot of character development, and it was good for the story. I loved the sinister, creepy feeling throughout the book and that it kept me guessing and on edge. I pretty much figured it out by the end and felt it was a little anticlimactic. I think the ending was a little abrupt and there could've been a bit more closure/answers. Overall a very good psychological thriller with superb writing by a new-to-me author.
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  • Cynde Reid
    March 8, 2017
    I was lucky enough to get an advance copy from Netgalley for my fair and honest review. I loved this book. I couldn't stop reading. The author seamlessly integrated modern elements without it feeling forced. I liked the characters and and story was interesting from beginning to end.
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  • Kelley
    February 1, 2017
    I was lucky enough to get an advance copy* so I won't spoil anything except to say that once this drops in August, you are in for a gripping read! I read this in 2 sittings (I could have read it in one sitting, but airlines frown upon refusing to exit the plane). The propulsive narrative definitely kept my attention, but the novel is deeper than just a whodunit. It considers the power of memory, the stories we tell ourselves and others, and our complicity as audience/reader in consuming the live I was lucky enough to get an advance copy* so I won't spoil anything except to say that once this drops in August, you are in for a gripping read! I read this in 2 sittings (I could have read it in one sitting, but airlines frown upon refusing to exit the plane). The propulsive narrative definitely kept my attention, but the novel is deeper than just a whodunit. It considers the power of memory, the stories we tell ourselves and others, and our complicity as audience/reader in consuming the lives of others for entertainment. And the way the story incorporates social media is really fun (and funny!) and not disruptive or clunky, like in so many books/movies/tv shows.*The author is a friend of mine! Still, this review has way more integrity than anything put together by that slimy Poppy Parnell, the Rita Skeeter of Elm Park.
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  • L.P. Logan
    June 20, 2017
    At first I thought this was going to for sure be a five star read . . . And then it kept going and going and going and going, and I realized I wasn't liking this one as much as I hoped. There was too much twinsy angst and drama. Too much family based hurt feelings that were related over and over again. I found myself repeating, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that already'-- which is a very bad spot for a muder mystery to be in. So I'm giving it 3. I could give it 2, so we'll put it at a true rating o At first I thought this was going to for sure be a five star read . . . And then it kept going and going and going and going, and I realized I wasn't liking this one as much as I hoped. There was too much twinsy angst and drama. Too much family based hurt feelings that were related over and over again. I found myself repeating, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that already'-- which is a very bad spot for a muder mystery to be in. So I'm giving it 3. I could give it 2, so we'll put it at a true rating of 2.5 simply because I was too quickly disenchanted. I didn't hate it by any means, I just didn't love it. Like at all. Recommended to the most devoted of murder mystery readers.
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  • Alison Merle
    February 16, 2017
    Full disclosure: I am a friend of the author, and as such, was lucky enough to get an advance copy of Are You Sleeping. However, even if I did not know the author, I would still say that the book was fantastic! The pacing was perfect, it was a mystery that really drew me in (without being too scary), and the characters and backstory were so richly drawn (especially for a 300-page book). I really loved it and was sad when it was over. Looking forward to Kathleen's next one!
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  • Laurie
    February 24, 2017
    This definitely kept me turning (er, swiping) the pages. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
  • Debra
    March 25, 2017
    This book pissed me off!! It seriously did. I finished it two days ago but can't stop thinking about it. Josie is happily living in New York with her boyfriend, Caleb who is an international aide worker. While Caleb is out of town, Josie's carefully constructed life begins to fall apart. A journalist by the name of Poppy Parnell has been discussing the murder of Josie's father on her podcasts. A young man by the name of Warren Cave was convicted of her father's murder, but Journalist Parnell bel This book pissed me off!! It seriously did. I finished it two days ago but can't stop thinking about it. Josie is happily living in New York with her boyfriend, Caleb who is an international aide worker. While Caleb is out of town, Josie's carefully constructed life begins to fall apart. A journalist by the name of Poppy Parnell has been discussing the murder of Josie's father on her podcasts. A young man by the name of Warren Cave was convicted of her father's murder, but Journalist Parnell believes Cave's assertion that he is innocent. To make matters even more upsetting, Josie receives a phone call from her cousin, Ellen telling her that her Mother is dead and that she will have to return home for the funeral.The problem? Well, there are several. Josie has lied to her boyfriend about her past. A past that Josie wanted to keep hidden, she even went so far as to have her last name legally changed. Caleb has no idea that her father was murdered or that after his murder, her Mother abandoned her and her twin sister, to join a cult. He believes that both of her parents are dead and that she was raised by her Aunt Amelia. When Caleb returns home, Josie again lies to him and tells him her Aunt Amelia died and she needs to return home for the funeral.Another problem? Josie's twin sister, Laine. Josie has not seen her twin sister after she betrayed Josie years earlier. Josie knows nothing of her sister's life and wants to keep it that way but unfortunately, the past rears it's ugly head when Josie returns home and learns not only is Lanie married (to Josie's high school boyfriend) but they have a child together. Can you guess what the betrayal was?Confronting the past and dealing with the present are difficult enough by Poppy Parnell is still investigating the murder and trying to find out what really happened the night in question. The continued podcasts and attempts at gaining an interview are stressful and only serve to create more drama. Then Caleb, trying to be a loving and supportive boyfriend, shows up to be a support for Josie only to learn that she has lied to him about her past and who she is.Lanie, Josie's twin sister, was not a very likable character for me. After betraying her sister when they were younger, I thought it was disgusting that she tried to confuse Caleb by pretending to be Josie. Plus, she has mood swings and has a penchant for throwing things at people's heads (lasagna, pitcher) Also, she is a terrible mother. In a way, she is very similar to her own Mother. She forgets to pack her daughter lunch, forgets to pick her up from school and even sends her on an "adventure" where the child talks the mail main into driving her somewhere. Boy, the mandated reported in me wanted to report her for neglect. This story is told narrative, twitter messages, reddit threads, the podcast and comments from listeners to the podcast. If Warren Cave did not murder Josie and Lanie's father then who did? Plus, Lanie testified that she saw Warren being shot..was she telling the truth? If Warren is as innocent as he and his Mother claim...then who is the killer? Why would Lanie say she saw him shoot her father if he didn't do it?This book was addictive and I could not read it fast enough. In the end we learn the truth and it was not so much of a stretch and explained a lot of strange behaviors. I really liked the characters in this book. I enjoyed Josie. I felt for her for most of the book. Although I did find it a little extreme that she changed her name and did not tell the truth about her life, I can appreciate her reasons for doing so. She never thought she would see Caleb again when she first told him both of her parents were dead. Once you start down a path of lies is it easier to keep walking along that path or do you come clean with the truth?Speaking of the truth..if you question what you saw or what you believe you saw, shouldn't you tell the truth about that? How do you live with yourself and your actions when you know you are wrong? This book is about many things: dysfunctional families, sibling relationships, betrayal, lies, grief, moving on and finding the truth. This book had some twists and turns which kept the pace moving and things interesting. What pissed me off - the betrayal, the "sudden" remembering of events from the past. I kept thinking seriously?????? Is she just remembering now or does she HAVE to remember because there is a journalist investigating the murder so either "remember" or have the journalist bring things out in the open? The sudden remembering was a little too quick for me but overall a very enjoyable read that left me thinking about it for days.I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the Publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.See more of my review at www.openbookpost.com
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  • Stacey Dirt))
    March 11, 2017
    Thank you to Kathleen Barber, Simon & Schuster, and Netgalley for an advanced reader copy of Are You Sleeping in exchange for an unbiased review.I was attracted to this story's premise because it examines the social ramifications of podcasts like Serial. How does retelling and re-investigating a murder (like the first series of Serial's podcast) affect the victims involved in the case?Are You Sleeping has a female narrator, Josie, who has tried hard to flee the life she once had growing up i Thank you to Kathleen Barber, Simon & Schuster, and Netgalley for an advanced reader copy of Are You Sleeping in exchange for an unbiased review.I was attracted to this story's premise because it examines the social ramifications of podcasts like Serial. How does retelling and re-investigating a murder (like the first series of Serial's podcast) affect the victims involved in the case?Are You Sleeping has a female narrator, Josie, who has tried hard to flee the life she once had growing up in a small Midwestern town. After backpacking the world in an attempt to find solitude from the trauma of her father's murder and other family issues, she finds herself in the furthest place from home and her rural upbringing: New York. She has a posh apartment, a sweet and caring boyfriend from New Zealand, and an enjoyable job at a bookstore. Things couldn't be better for Josie from an outsider's perspective. That is, until the life she tried to escape comes back to haunt her when a blogger/"reporter" decides to reopen Josie's father's murder and make it into what becomes a viral podcast.Things start to fall to pieces for Josie and her family as their past becomes a "commodity" (to use the author's words) to sell a podcast. Josie, who changed her name for anonymity purposes after her father's death, is forced to confront the family she left behind when her estranged mother commits suicide. She is also forced to deal with her twin sister, who has a sordid past that continues to follow Josie. Her family comes together for her mother's funeral in the town in which Josie was raised, and soon secrets are unraveled that will provide more fodder for the crazed followers of the podcast. Was her father truly murdered by the nextdoor neighbor's son, or was it someone in the family or community?The twists and turns in this book make it fun to read, but the best part of it was the character development. Josie's character felt authentic and real as did the characters surrounding her. A really enjoyable suspense/thriller that will keep you turning the pages!
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  • Laura
    February 22, 2017
    To be honest, I never listened to Serial. But that may be good, because I came into this book without a basis for comparison. The excerpts from the podcasts were some of my favorite parts of the book. If someone would make a transcript of Serial, I'd read it now.In Josie, Barber gives us a heroine it's impossible not to root for: her father was murdered, her life is now being shared with the public, and now her mother has committed suicide. She's not a perfect character, but she's certainly inte To be honest, I never listened to Serial. But that may be good, because I came into this book without a basis for comparison. The excerpts from the podcasts were some of my favorite parts of the book. If someone would make a transcript of Serial, I'd read it now.In Josie, Barber gives us a heroine it's impossible not to root for: her father was murdered, her life is now being shared with the public, and now her mother has committed suicide. She's not a perfect character, but she's certainly interesting. The book is fast-paced and well-written. (view spoiler)[I didn't buy the red herring with Melanie Cave, both because I don't see any mother allowing her child to go to jail for a crime she committed and because she could have just confessed to get him out, without doing the podcast. Josie never really explores the possibility of Lanie being the murderer, so I'd have preferred either deeper digging into that option or another realistic suspect. I wasn't at all surprised by the ending. (To be fair, it's hard to surprise me.) (hide spoiler)] But overall, I loved the book and can't wait to see what Barber comes up with next.
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  •  j e w e l s (Books Bejeweled)
    July 11, 2017
    You can find more twisted plot reviews at https://booksbejeweled.comJosie's father was murdered by a teenage neighbor ten years ago, when she was still a girl. The killer was sent to prison and Josie's family fell apart. Her mother, an emotional wreck, up and left Josie and her twin sister, Lanie, to join a cult in Northern California. She never saw or spoke to her daughters again. Josie and Lanie, the twins, are left to live their teenage years with their Aunt Amelia and cousin Ellen. Lanie was You can find more twisted plot reviews at https://booksbejeweled.comJosie's father was murdered by a teenage neighbor ten years ago, when she was still a girl. The killer was sent to prison and Josie's family fell apart. Her mother, an emotional wreck, up and left Josie and her twin sister, Lanie, to join a cult in Northern California. She never saw or spoke to her daughters again. Josie and Lanie, the twins, are left to live their teenage years with their Aunt Amelia and cousin Ellen. Lanie was the single eyewitness to the murder, the reason the killer was caught and sentenced to life. She was also the more rebellious of the two girls and she ends up on a dangerous path of truancy, drugs and law-breaking. In a fit of anger, she yells at Josie to just go away and leave her alone. Josie did go away. She changed her last name. She backpacked the world and met a wonderful guy, Caleb. They settled in Brooklyn and she never explained her horrific family history or even that she had a twin sister. It was all too painful for her and she wanted to keep Caleb free from the drama of her past. Along comes the 21st century journalistic phenomenon: the true crime podcast. And guess what crime Poppy Parnell, the perky blogger, wants to dig up and examine with a fine tooth comb? Yep, the murder of Josie's dad. Josie is absolutely terror-stricken to hear people on the subway and in grocery stores discussing the podcast, her personal life horror show openly tweeted about by complete strangers. It seems like everyone is obsessed with Reconsidered- the podcast. Was the wrong man convicted? There are witnesses that place the teenage killer at a park miles away from the crime. He didn't have a weapon. When Josie's mother hangs herself during the height of the podcast mania, Josie finds herself having to face all the lies she has told Caleb and all the details of her past. She must reconnect with her twin sister, Lanie, and ask her once and for all about the night of the murder. Was Lanie honest about that night?The story is fast-moving and suspenseful. I love the podcast element to this book (Ask me about UP AND VANISHED, please!). There is a whole sub-theme about public shaming on social media. I do wish the plot had been a bit twistier and even darker. It's borderline, dare I say it... Predictable. But not boring. The characters are very real and fleshed out. I absolutely love Josie's cousin, Ellen, she is hilarious. ARE YOU SLEEPING reminds me very much of THE LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE and RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA. If you liked those books, you will love this one, too. See me at https://booksbejeweled.wixsite.com/we...
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  • Jessica Wolf
    April 3, 2017
    Well, hit me with a stick and call me a piñata! Any book that advertises itself as anything like Serial is bound to be good, so I had my hopes high for this one and I was not let down in the slightest.Are You Sleeping is a roller-coaster ride of emotions, all centered around the tragic life of Josie Burhman. From murder to betrayal to heartbreak, AYS covered it all. And while the novel is presented as a mystery, I found it more of a story of reconciliation and forgiveness. I throughly enjoyed wa Well, hit me with a stick and call me a piñata! Any book that advertises itself as anything like Serial is bound to be good, so I had my hopes high for this one and I was not let down in the slightest.Are You Sleeping is a roller-coaster ride of emotions, all centered around the tragic life of Josie Burhman. From murder to betrayal to heartbreak, AYS covered it all. And while the novel is presented as a mystery, I found it more of a story of reconciliation and forgiveness. I throughly enjoyed watching Lanie and Josie grow as characters and become more mature adults. Their story--though dramatic--is a testimony to others on how to move on and forgive.I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys suspense and mystery, as well as some good coming-of-age bits here and there. *My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.*
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  • Liz
    February 15, 2017
    Loved this book. Read it in 3 days... and skipped watching The Bachelor to read one night, so it's safe to say I was really hooked. Definitely a must read, especially if you're a lover of thrillers.
  • Kristin Rockaway
    March 21, 2017
    Deliciously creepy and utterly addictive, Are You Sleeping had me staying up late, reading "just one more chapter," because I couldn't wait to see what happened next. I kept thinking I knew whodunnit, only to realize I'd been led down a false path. The story kept me guessing right until the very end, and little breadcrumbs were dropped throughout without actually giving the ending away. Also, I *loved* the way Tweets, Reddit threads, and podcast transcripts were interspersed throughout the text; Deliciously creepy and utterly addictive, Are You Sleeping had me staying up late, reading "just one more chapter," because I couldn't wait to see what happened next. I kept thinking I knew whodunnit, only to realize I'd been led down a false path. The story kept me guessing right until the very end, and little breadcrumbs were dropped throughout without actually giving the ending away. Also, I *loved* the way Tweets, Reddit threads, and podcast transcripts were interspersed throughout the text; it was a unique structure and it kept the story flowing smoothly. I can't wait to read more from Kathleen Barber!
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  • Kathleen
    August 4, 2016
    I mean, you guys, this is my book. I really like it. (I hope you do, too!)
  • Susan Johnson
    July 29, 2017
    3.5 stars It seems like there's a trend right now that the protagonists are unlikable. I don't know why but it really leaves you with no one to root for and really doesn't allow you to get invested in a story. This is the case in this book as Josie Buhrman is just somebody that is hard to care about and you should. Her story is heartbreaking. She has a twin sister, Lanie, from whom she is estranged. Lanie witnessed the murder of their father when they were teenagers. Their mother left them and j 3.5 stars It seems like there's a trend right now that the protagonists are unlikable. I don't know why but it really leaves you with no one to root for and really doesn't allow you to get invested in a story. This is the case in this book as Josie Buhrman is just somebody that is hard to care about and you should. Her story is heartbreaking. She has a twin sister, Lanie, from whom she is estranged. Lanie witnessed the murder of their father when they were teenagers. Their mother left them and joined a cult and left them to their aunt to raise. Suddenly they became orphans. Thirteen years later a podcast writer, Poppy Parnell, decides to investigate the case and conviction of a neighborhood boy, Warren Cave, serving time after Lanie's testimony. It turns out that Warren's mom had been having an affair with the twins' mother. Josie's mother dies and she wants to return home to the funeral. The problem? She has lied from the beginning to her long term boyfriend, Caleb. She has changed her name and never told him her story. How does she explain it now? I think the main problem is the characters never really come alive. They are not fleshed out enough and are stereotypes including the kindly aunt. They just seem to cut outs- bad twin, good twin,worldly cousin, nefarious podcaster, etc. The story is what keeps this story alive and kept me reading. It's a nice summer read especially if you like story lines more than fully developed characters.Thank you Net Galley and Simon & Schuster for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
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  • Trina
    July 29, 2017
    I received this arc from Netgalley. I'm so glad to be finished with this book. This would make a great sleep aid, as I fell asleep several times while reading it. My attention started to wander before I was halfway done. Not my cup of tea.
  • Sarah
    August 1, 2017
    You can find all of our reviews at https://reallyintothis.com/Happy Reading, friends!I was Really Into This book, my friends. I finished it a while back & have been thinking of the best way to review it because there are so many things I enjoyed.First off, the idea of a podcast looking into a murder is perfectly timed. Everyone I know was crazy about Serial & Jessica & I were totally hooked on S-Town, which has a similar premise. The main character, Josie, hears that a podcast is loo You can find all of our reviews at https://reallyintothis.com/Happy Reading, friends!I was Really Into This book, my friends. I finished it a while back & have been thinking of the best way to review it because there are so many things I enjoyed.First off, the idea of a podcast looking into a murder is perfectly timed. Everyone I know was crazy about Serial & Jessica & I were totally hooked on S-Town, which has a similar premise. The main character, Josie, hears that a podcast is looking into her father’s murder & re-examining what Really happened & it throws her for a loop. She has spent the last several years running from her family’s complicated history by changing her last name & traveling around the world. Even her live-in boyfriend doesn’t know the truth about her family.Of course, this is no ordinary murder case. Her twin sister, Lanie, supposedly witnessed the murder & placed their young neighbor as the culprit. He was sent to prison & has always maintained his innocence. After losing their father, their mother ran away and joined a cult and left the twins without parents. Instead of turning towards one another for support, these events placed a wedge between the sisters that is still present years later when they get word their mother has died.Kathleen does a heck of a job depicting the anxiety & stress that is place on Josie by forcing her to face what she has spent years running from – her family and its sordid history. The novel is ripe with suspense, family secrets, misplaced trust & a longing for closure & understanding. At the heart of the story are the questions of what Really happened that night? What did Lanie actually see? Can Lanie or Josie be trusted? Why did their mother leave them?This is one of my favorite books of 2017 & y’all know I am Really Into mysteries. Something about this family & these characters are so relatable. I am a 48 Hours love & reading this book from the view of the family changed my perception of how some of these murder stories can be exploited and/or open deep family wounds. Overall, this was an intriguing & satisfying read & I can’t wait to see what Kathleen does next. I am Really Into This!Special thanks to Kathleen Barber, Gallery Books & NetGalley for providing our copy in exchange for an honest & fair review.
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  • Tracy Quarrell
    February 19, 2017
    Thank you to Kathleen Barber, Simon & Schuster, and Netgalley for an advanced reader copy of Are You Sleeping in exchange for an unbiased review.Are you sitting comfortably? You won't snooze while you are reading this story which alternates between serializations of a podcast, police reports and the narrative of Josie, the daughter who lost her father to a murderous act and then her mother to a religious cult. Josie becomes estranged from her twin sister and is just starting to get her life Thank you to Kathleen Barber, Simon & Schuster, and Netgalley for an advanced reader copy of Are You Sleeping in exchange for an unbiased review.Are you sitting comfortably? You won't snooze while you are reading this story which alternates between serializations of a podcast, police reports and the narrative of Josie, the daughter who lost her father to a murderous act and then her mother to a religious cult. Josie becomes estranged from her twin sister and is just starting to get her life back on keel when a further family tragedy raps imperiously at her door. Josie must return to her hometown and face the new tragedy and the reminders of the past. This book will appeal to people who like to examine the cold cases of old crimes as well as the secrets that families can hide deep down through a generation. An engrossing read which I was sad to finish and which kept me thinking after I had finished the last page. Great characters and pace with themes of mystery, conflict, betrayal, reconciliation and forgiveness. Warmly recommended.
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  • Lisa Duffy
    July 30, 2016
    Fast-paced and addictive, Kathleen Barber’s novel, Are You Sleeping, weaves a mystery around a murder case that’s reopened when a viral podcast becomes a media sensation. Told in perspectives from Josie, the daughter of the murder victim, and Poppy, the investigative reporter, the story examines betrayal, family relationships and the idea of tragedy as entertainment in modern society. Thought-provoking, as well as just plain fun, don’t miss this thrilling debut.
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  • Chanthana
    February 13, 2017
    Borrowed a friend's advance copy of the book. Was immersed in the story immediately! It's haunting, relevant (I like the social media tie-ins) and funny. It's not slapstick funny, but enough humor to break up the tension.
  • Beth Moore
    March 12, 2017
    Thank you to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review! Are You Sleeping has been compared to Serial (audio Podcast) hosted by Sarah Koenig, and Ruth Ware's In a Dark, Dark Wood which I absolutely devoured in one sitting, so it took no convincing for me to read this book! Are You Sleeping is told from the alternating viewpoints of Josie, who suffered unspeakable trauma as a child, and Poppy Parnell, annoying investigative journalist det Thank you to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review! Are You Sleeping has been compared to Serial (audio Podcast) hosted by Sarah Koenig, and Ruth Ware's In a Dark, Dark Wood which I absolutely devoured in one sitting, so it took no convincing for me to read this book! Are You Sleeping is told from the alternating viewpoints of Josie, who suffered unspeakable trauma as a child, and Poppy Parnell, annoying investigative journalist determined to reinvestigate the murder of Josie's father thirteen years prior. Josie has distanced herself from her past with layers of lies for her own protection, but Poppy's (a character you love to hate) podcast goes viral. Suddenly, Josie has no choice but to reveal herself and fears losing her boyfriend, Caleb, when the truth is revealed. Though a twisty, satisfying thriller, Are You Sleeping is also about relationships, redemption, and the power of forgiveness.
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  • Rachel
    March 6, 2017
    Are You Sleeping is a topical mystery about a podcast which reopens a decade-old case about the murder of a college professor. Podcast host and investigative journalist Poppy Parnell is unconvinced that the person convicted for the murder, Warren Cave, is actually guilty, and sets out to uncover the truth. Meanwhile, as the podcast gains momentum and becomes a nation-wide phenomenon, the victim's daughter, Josie Buhrman, is forced to return home and confront her twin sister Lanie whom she hasn't Are You Sleeping is a topical mystery about a podcast which reopens a decade-old case about the murder of a college professor. Podcast host and investigative journalist Poppy Parnell is unconvinced that the person convicted for the murder, Warren Cave, is actually guilty, and sets out to uncover the truth. Meanwhile, as the podcast gains momentum and becomes a nation-wide phenomenon, the victim's daughter, Josie Buhrman, is forced to return home and confront her twin sister Lanie whom she hasn't spoken to in ten years, in order to make sense of what happened that night. The entire conviction of Warren Cave hinges on a piece of evidence given by Lanie, who claims she saw Warren do it - but did she really?I wanted to love this, and I was pretty sure I was going to, at first. It's snappy, fast paced, and the use of the podcast makes for a really unique and intriguing premise. I loved the inclusion of comments on various social media outlets; I really felt like I was involved in the case in some voyeuristic way. That was very well done. Unfortunately, there was also a lot that I didn't like.First, the prose. It's very simple and readable, which can be good for this genre where you don't necessarily want your mystery to get bogged down in excessively flowery writing. So I didn't mind that at first, but it eventually started to feel a bit too amateur. The dialogue could have been straight out of a Lifetime movie, and there was this thing the author did incessantly that really started to bug me: someone makes some big declaration to Josie, like, "you abandoned me ten years ago!" (this is never actually said - I'm just making up an example.) And then instead of replying immediately, Josie pontificates for an entire paragraph: "I realized he was right. I did abandon him. Ten years ago this happened, and I reacted this certain way. I realize now I maybe shouldn't have reacted like that." And it goes on and on and on, like that particular thought hadn't occurred to Josie until right this second, and she has to take time immediately to reflect on it.... which would be okay once or twice, but I literally lost track of how many times a conversation was derailed by Josie randomly going into some deep introspection partway through it. It just felt unrealistic and melodramatic. That isn't to say that I didn't like Josie. I did like her. I thought she was a well-developed character, along with nearly all of the rest of them. The huge exception for me was Poppy Parnell. If her name makes her sound like a villain from Harry Potter, that's probably appropriate, since she reminded me so much of Rita Skeeter. She embodies just about every negative stereotype you can think of about investigative journalists - insensitive bordering on cruel, intrusive, heartless. At first I liked Poppy's character for this reason, she did seem like the sort of person who would reopen a closed case without a second thought for the repercussions on the victim's family. By the end of the book, however, she started to feel like such a stereotypical villain that I was half expecting her to start twirling a mustache.To switch gears a little bit, my other huge problem with this book was that there never felt like there was much at stake. The characters are investigating a ten-year old case, and none of the suspects are really in a position to cause further harm at this point. There's just a sense of urgency that's missing from this narrative; there's no 'this needs to be solved NOW because someone's in danger,' just... a reopened case that can be solved at the characters' leisure. I don't mean to imply that this was dull or tedious read. It wasn't; it was extremely fast and well paced. I just felt like there was some kind of tension missing throughout the whole thing.And finally, the ending. No spoilers, but I can't remember the last time I read a thriller where I was this disappointed with how obvious I thought the ending was. Also, a huge reveal basically hinges on a character randomly remembering a repressed memory, which of course happens in real life, of course people are triggered by certain sounds and smells etc. to remember something they'd been repressing. However, in storytelling, it just comes across as a bit too convenient. If this book interests you for its cool premise, I hope you give it a try when it's published. It's short and fast-paced, which makes for a really quick read. And I did enjoy reading it... at least for the first 80%. That's about when the rating really started plummeting for me. But based on other reviews so far, it looks like I'm going to be in the minority with this opinion! And one final note: don't read this and Dead Letters around the same time. There are so many similarities that I actually started mixing up the characters in my head, which is something I never do. Seriously: protagonist is an identical twin sister, the 'good twin', her sister is the wild twin; protagonist is estranged from her family because she chose to leave them behind and go abroad following a betrayal by her twin sister; the mothers in both case have mental health issues; protagonist returns home following a long absence and is confronted with her high school love interest who's now involved with her sister... I mean, given their publication dates this has to be 100% coincidental, I don't mean to imply otherwise - but still!! It was hard to keep remembered details from Dead Letters from creeping into this story.I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley, Gallery Books, and Kathleen Barber.
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  • Kellye
    July 14, 2016
    I found this book to be utterly fascinating. I love that it takes someone we've all seen -- using a murder for entertainment purposes -- but shows it from the unique perspective of the family of the victim. When we're giddily listening to podcasts, flipping the pages of magazines and Tweeting our thoughts on the lives of complete strangers like we know them, we never consider how it all must affect the victim's family. The author does an amazing job of showing that.She also is great at laying ou I found this book to be utterly fascinating. I love that it takes someone we've all seen -- using a murder for entertainment purposes -- but shows it from the unique perspective of the family of the victim. When we're giddily listening to podcasts, flipping the pages of magazines and Tweeting our thoughts on the lives of complete strangers like we know them, we never consider how it all must affect the victim's family. The author does an amazing job of showing that.She also is great at laying out clues in the form of both flashback and present circumstances that when you do get to the ending, your first thought is "Oh crap" and your second is "That makes perfect sense." I found myself reading it slowly because I didn't want it to end. This book will have you thinking twice during the next season of Serial.
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  • Janelle
    March 11, 2017
    Thank you to Netgalley and Gallery Books for this advance copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. I'm a huge fan of Serial and My Favorite Murder podcasts so when I read that this book contains a murder podcast, I was ecstatic. The story is about Josie, who tried to escape her past because 13 years ago her father was murdered and her mother ran off to join a cult. It was a very fun, fast paced read. The only problem for me is the ending was predictable. However, I did lov Thank you to Netgalley and Gallery Books for this advance copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. I'm a huge fan of Serial and My Favorite Murder podcasts so when I read that this book contains a murder podcast, I was ecstatic. The story is about Josie, who tried to escape her past because 13 years ago her father was murdered and her mother ran off to join a cult. It was a very fun, fast paced read. The only problem for me is the ending was predictable. However, I did love it and recommend to fans of this genre.This book is available August 1, 2017
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  • Carol Kean
    March 12, 2017
    “Between my laptop and my phone, I'm nearly always connected, and it's rare that I go an hour without engaging in some form of social media,” Kathleen Barber blogged (booksbywomen.org , 2-March-2017). “Reasonable minds can differ whether this constant connectivity is enhancing or ruining our lives, but no one can deny that it's changing them … today we communicate by "liking" and commenting on each other's Facebook posts. The way that we interact with other humans--something that is at the core “Between my laptop and my phone, I'm nearly always connected, and it's rare that I go an hour without engaging in some form of social media,” Kathleen Barber blogged (booksbywomen.org , 2-March-2017). “Reasonable minds can differ whether this constant connectivity is enhancing or ruining our lives, but no one can deny that it's changing them … today we communicate by "liking" and commenting on each other's Facebook posts. The way that we interact with other humans--something that is at the core of almost every novel, no matter the genre--is being fundamentally altered.”Barber’s debut novel, “Are You Sleeping,” shows the new face of 21st Century fiction, with podcast transcripts, twitter feeds, news articles, obituaries, and other social media seamlessly woven into the prose. Journalist Poppy Parnell has progressed from blogging about cold cases to podcasting about a "closed" case after learning a young man is serving time for a murder he probably didn't commit. Her podcast, “Reconsidered,” goes viral. The murder victim's daughters have their lives torn up all over again when the case is re-opened and publicly discussed, more ubiquitously than the latest Kardashian antics. The prose is laced with Tweets, reddit comments, texts, and emails, showing how novels have been transformed by the advent of social media.Parnell’s mega-hit podcast alternates with the first-person narrative of Josie Buhrman, who’s spent the last ten years concealing her real identity, shunning her twin sister, and shedding her family's reputation. Her father, the victim in the podcast, was murdered when the girls were fifteen. Their mother, already a little bipolar or mentally unstable, ran away to join a cult, leaving Josie and twin sister Lanie to be raised by their aunt. Lanie steals her sister’s high school boyfriend, and Josie is so incapable of getting over this betrayal, she slams the door shut forever on her only sibling, changes her last name to Borden, lies to everyone in her new life about her old life (orphaned, she says, and an only child), goes backpacking for years, drifting aimlessly until she meets Caleb and settles down with him as a domestic partner in New York, always meaning to tell him she’s lied about her whole life, but afraid she’ll lose him if she does.Josie’s story opens with a mysterious phone call in the night. It might be from her estranged sister, or it might be a bad phone connection, or it might be she dreamed parts of it. Her confusion sets the tone for the rest of the novel. Investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with her podcast about the long-closed case of Charles Buhrman’s murder and 17-year-old neighbor Warren Cave serving a life sentence for the crime. The podcast is blamed for the subsequent death of the estranged mother and widow, she who’d abandoned her daughters to their Aunt A and retreated to a secret cult that cuts all ties to family. Josie has no intention of attending her mother’s funeral or risk facing her evil twin, until forced by Aunt A. Most of the story takes place in small-town Elm Park, Illinois, which has hardly changed since Josie shed its dust from her bootsoles years ago.The story is well written, but it’s about people I just can’t like. I’m not sure how much of my reaction should be blamed on my upbringing. In November 1975, my sister disappeared. In March 1976, her body was found. The shock and horror may abate over time, but it’s like Rose Kennedy said: “The wounds remain. Time - the mind, protecting its sanity - covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone.” Little did I know what a blessing it was that my Germanic Midwestern farm parents were so stoic. All of us were. Pragmatism dictates that life must go on, so nobody gets to go crazy, shut down, act up, act out, run away, or do any of the psycho stuff that Chuck Buhrman’s wife and daughters do. And I do include Josie. She may not go “bad” the way Lanie does, running with bad crowds in high school, committing petty crimes, acting like a brat with bruises, but Josie is so far from stoic or mature, or charitable, I had a hard time figuring out why Caleb would fall for her.Most readers will think these are vivid, well-drawn characters, but I see weak, self-absorbed, petty, superficial women who have no idea how to cope with a man’s infidelity. It might be easier to like Aunt Amelia, except that all her family members reduce her name to A, even her husband. Why does that bother me? I’m not sure, but it diminishes her. At least Poppy Parnell names her: Amelia.Poppy is the biggest disappointment in the novel. In real life, I know an investigative reporter who’s devoting thousands of hours (and years) of her life to Iowa Cold Cases. Social media aficionados, Google “Jody Ewing” and you’ll see a woman who cares passionately about uncovering the truth and providing closure for families of murder victims. No fame, no fortune, not even a way to break even on her own expenses running the site. Jody Ewing is the polar opposite of Poppy, who charges like a mad rhino into personal lives and gleefully airs other people’s dirty laundry, or tragedies, in the name of “entertainment.”I should have skipped ahead, once I’d gotten a third of the way into the novel, seen how it ended, and saved myself a few hours of precious reading time. Josie remains annoying. Lanie does more stupid stuff. So many details seem contrived to me. Maybe I’m just too irritable. Josie has her long, black hair bobbed and bleached platinum. Eyebrows too. Thinking she’ll not be recognized by the podcasting piranhas when she goes back home for a funeral. Aunt A and cousin Ellen, however, get her hair dyed black again. So why waste space in the novel on the bleaching, if Josie gets spotted anyway at the funeral, and Ellen complains about black dye under her nails, as if anyone is stupid enough to buy a box of hair dye and not use the disposable gloves that come inside. Scene after scene, people drop things, break things, deliberately throw and break things, and I just have no desire to hang out in their Point of View, miserable, bitter, out of control. Why did I stay? Stupidly, I believed they would do this character-arc thing, part of the famed three-act structure of the novel, part of the hero’s journey.Poppy Parnell doesn’t change her ways. The truth shall set you free, a fortune cookie tells Josie, another plot contrivance that annoyed me (how overdone is the fortune teller, the fortune cookie, in fiction).I could keep listing details and quote excerpts from the text, but I need to go think about something else now. Like how to find a ruthless, exploitative journalist like Poppy Parnell who’ll uncover the truth behind my sister’s murder. Unfortunately, real-life killers don’t operate like fictional killers. Murder weapons are destroyed, never to be found again. Diaries are burned. Evidence is bungled by the police, misdirected, used to frame the innocent. More than forty years later, the memories of any possible witness are now unreliable, inadmissible as evidence.Thank you to Kathleen Barber, Simon & Schuster, and Netgalley for an advanced reader copy of Are You Sleeping in exchange for an unbiased review. Given my sister’s Cold Case, I’m pretty sure I’m biased. Given my own Midwestern farm upbringing, I’m never going to “like” people like Lanie, Josie, their mother, or the mother of the emo-boy convicted of murder, his only motive being the same stupid motive everyone else in the novel suffers: the notion that infidelity is a crime punishable by death.On the bright side, millions of readers are sure to love this novel. It’s well written, well edited, and intriguing. I’ve just read too many things like this already, and lived the drama, already, to be enthralled.
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  • Jennifer Vining
    July 17, 2017
    First things first... thank you so much Netgalley and Gallary Books for providing me with this copy to read and review.I am sure you are starting to see a pattern, this has really been the summer of thrillers for me personally. I feel like I have read so many that I am getting a little jittery (well more so than usual wing that I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to all things scary). Sometimes when I read too many books from the same genre I tend to become very critical of them if they are not u First things first... thank you so much Netgalley and Gallary Books for providing me with this copy to read and review.I am sure you are starting to see a pattern, this has really been the summer of thrillers for me personally. I feel like I have read so many that I am getting a little jittery (well more so than usual wing that I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to all things scary). Sometimes when I read too many books from the same genre I tend to become very critical of them if they are not up to par with the rest. So not only did Are You Sleeping follow some powerful stories but this was also a debut novel for Kathleen Barber so there was that extra pressure of "will this be an author I will want to read more books from". The answer is YES, a thousand times yes! This book definitely held its own and I would happily read anything written by Barber that you put in front of me.Are You Sleeping follows our main character Josie Buhrman as she is being dragged back into a life she tried so desperately to run from. When Josie was younger her father was shot in their family home while she slept upstairs. If that wasn't terrible enough her aloof mother then left her and her twin sister Lanie and ran away to join a cult never to be heard from again. After their fathers death and their mothers abandonment Lanie completely changed from Josie's best friend, sister, and confidant to an unhinged teenager diving into drugs, drinking, and eventually stealing Josie's boyfriend. SO you cant blame Josie for leaving town and wanting to completely reinvent herself. It isn't until a nosey reporter and author of a podcast starts digging around the case of her fathers murder 10 years later that she starts to feel her new life unraveling. The reporter Poppy Parnell brings up so many questions involving the day her father was killed, questions that make everyone wonder if the man convicted all those years ago really was the shooter. Then she gets a call she was never expecting, her mother has died and she has to go back to her hometown and face everyone she left behind. It is there that she has to confront the fact that... "the only thing more dangerous than a lie, is the truth".This book was a "can't put down till I find out what happens" kind of book. I felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster following Josie and wading through the ins and outs of this whole family. The author did an amazing job of really giving all the characters depth so you can understand their intricate relationships. There were so many times throughout this book that I thought I knew who may have been the shooter only to read further and be wrong. I cannot wait to read more books from Kathleen Barber because she is an author who has made it onto my must read list!
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  • Lindsey
    July 25, 2017
    Thank you to netgalley for my advance copy in exchange for an honest review.Podcasts, murder and cults, oh my. I was a huge fan of Serial so when a book is described as "Serial meets Ruth Ware's In a Dark, Dark Wood" I knew it was a book I had to read. I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish, because I just had to know who killed Chuck Burhman. In my opinion, for a thriller to earn a five star review I've got to be stumped on the "whodunnit" or there needs to be some other twist Thank you to netgalley for my advance copy in exchange for an honest review.Podcasts, murder and cults, oh my. I was a huge fan of Serial so when a book is described as "Serial meets Ruth Ware's In a Dark, Dark Wood" I knew it was a book I had to read. I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish, because I just had to know who killed Chuck Burhman. In my opinion, for a thriller to earn a five star review I've got to be stumped on the "whodunnit" or there needs to be some other twist I never saw coming at the end. I figured out who killed Josie's father before it was actually revealed. It was still a great read; I just like a little more shock value in the ending. I also felt that Josie and Lanie's relationship was a little cliche, but Lanie's manic character made up for it. Overall, a great, fast-paced read with a very modern twist. I expect we'll see more books centered around podcasts as they've become so popular.
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  • Craig Allen
    March 11, 2017
    I'd rate this somewhere between 3.5 to 4 stars. I really loved the storytelling device the author used of having a "Serial" style podcast be the catalyst to get the story going and get you engrossed in the murder mystery (possibly? a wrongly accused man or just hype?) -I hadn't read a book with a podcast element and can't wait to check out "Six Stories" that others have hyped in their reviews.The author did a good job of building the main character as well as her rough relationship with her twin I'd rate this somewhere between 3.5 to 4 stars. I really loved the storytelling device the author used of having a "Serial" style podcast be the catalyst to get the story going and get you engrossed in the murder mystery (possibly? a wrongly accused man or just hype?) -I hadn't read a book with a podcast element and can't wait to check out "Six Stories" that others have hyped in their reviews.The author did a good job of building the main character as well as her rough relationship with her twin sister. I felt some of the minor characters were forgettable and that some of the family storyline dragged near the end. My negative with this one, that started to hurt the book as it went on, was the continued use of the sisters suddenly remembering pieces of the past. I realize this happens, especially in stressful times, but it seemed like every chapter they kept remembering these huge, impactful moments from their childhood that would shift the story out of the blue. By the 7th or 8th time I started to roll my eyes.With that out of the way, it's still a very enjoyable book that I had to hurry through to find out what would happen in the end. I hope we get another book featuring a cold case off the podcast, too!
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  • Nina Laurin
    March 28, 2017
    To answer the rhetorical question in the title... I sure wasn't sleeping the night before I had an earlyish flight, because this book captivated me. I blame Kathleen Barber. ARE YOU SLEEPING tackles a question that has crossed the mind of many a true crime junkie (or at least I hope it has): how ethical is it to turn someone's real-life tragedy into entertainment, and is the possibility of uncovering new information worth the anguish it will cause to those involved? That's where the moral ambigu To answer the rhetorical question in the title... I sure wasn't sleeping the night before I had an earlyish flight, because this book captivated me. I blame Kathleen Barber. ARE YOU SLEEPING tackles a question that has crossed the mind of many a true crime junkie (or at least I hope it has): how ethical is it to turn someone's real-life tragedy into entertainment, and is the possibility of uncovering new information worth the anguish it will cause to those involved? That's where the moral ambiguity of this book comes in. (view spoiler)[Poppy Parnell is awful and so is her treatment of Josie and her family, but... she does uncover what really happened (hide spoiler)]. Yet in the end, Josie is left to grapple with the aftermath of the investigation and the media spotlight on herself and her family. It's not a perfect, neatly wrapped up resolution, there's no guaranteed HEA, and it's just fine the way it is. I liked the extensive cast: Ellen, Aunt A, Josie's mom, Melanie Cave, even Lanie, all were richly realized and nuanced. The mixed media approach--transcripts, tweets, Reddit threads--rang true to life, sometimes so much it made me cringe. If you're a fan of Serial or true crime in general, you're going to love this book.
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  • Jamie
    December 7, 2016
    Blew through this and could not get enough. Bound to be a huge hit this summer. Can't wait to see more from this debut author!
  • Megan • Reading Books Like a Boss (book blog)
    July 25, 2016
    Kathleen Barber's ARE YOU SLEEPING blends together two formats together: the true crime podcast and a psychological thriller. Readers who are fans of true crime podcasts may want to give this book a try. I felt this novel was missing something, either unique plot and/or riveting characters.I can't imagine going through what Lanie and Jo went through as teenagers. At fifteen, their father was murdered in their own home. Lanie discovered his bother and allegedly saw the intruder gun down her fathe Kathleen Barber's ARE YOU SLEEPING blends together two formats together: the true crime podcast and a psychological thriller. Readers who are fans of true crime podcasts may want to give this book a try. I felt this novel was missing something, either unique plot and/or riveting characters.I can't imagine going through what Lanie and Jo went through as teenagers. At fifteen, their father was murdered in their own home. Lanie discovered his bother and allegedly saw the intruder gun down her father. She says it was their next door neighbor, a troubled teen named Warren Cave, who hung with the wrong crowd and who didn't have an alibi. Investigative reporter Poppy Parnell is on the case and has captured the attention of the nation in her podcast Reconsidered.Everyone is poking holes in Lanie's story, leaving Jo more than shaken. Jo ran away from home ten years prior ago, only a few years after her father's murder. Her twin sister spiraled out of control into drugs and debauchery and her mother ran abandoned them, succumbing to her own mental fragility, to join a cult.Don't let my rating of this book scare you off or lead you to dismiss it. This book wasn't bad but it just didn't have anything particularly special about it. The plot was relatively standard and kept me interested but again it was missing something to set it apart from the pack.The characterization was perhaps the biggest problem. In thrillers (actually, all genre fiction), especially those narrative in the first-person, the protagonist needs to be compelling and hold the reader's attention. Jo was rather bland and a one-note Sally. The most interesting thing about her was her lies.There was a lack of nuance, subtlety and growth, especially with Jo's boyfriend. His character didn't feel like a real person to me. Adam was the perfect guy; he had no flaws whatsoever and was the most understanding person on the planet. Also, everything the reader ever needed to know about the main characters was revealed in the first few chapters. There was little growth or development, aside from Jo learning to be truthful.Barber mixes together excerpts from the Reconsidered podcast with Jo's chapters, allowing the reader to experience the podcast at the same time Jo is. I think that was a really effective way to marry these two different formats and make them seamless and easy to digest for the reader.* Thanks to Gallery for providing me with an early copy for an honest review. Read this Review • My Website • Facebook • Twitter • Pinterest • Instagram • Subscribe by Email****************★★UPCOMING BOOK RELEASES★★****************
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