Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

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...

Title:Are You Sleeping
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1501157663
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:336 pages

Are You Sleeping Reviews

  • karen

    this book is split pretty evenly between “family drama” and “mystery novel.” on the plus side, it is a compulsiv

    this book is split pretty evenly between “family drama” and “mystery novel.” on the plus side, it is a compulsively readable book, which sounds like the bare minimum of praise, but it’s meant to reflect how quickly i read it (two days is not

    quick, but considering the time i have available for reading, it’s quicker than i’ve been getting through many books), and the fact that i wanted to keep picking it up, even when i had more pressing things on my to-do list. and it was enjoyable, one of those summertime page-turners that keeps the mind distracted and entertained and invested in how it’s all gonna play out. on the minus side, it doesn’t have the most nuanced characters of all time, and it’s one of those books whose enjoyment is a bit diminished in the aftermath period, when the dust has settled, the thrill of the hunt has passed, and the summer school assignment begins - the dissection of the book’s craft for review purposes.

    quickplot review - josie borden is living an enviable life - she owns an apartment in brooklyn which she shares with her loving and supportive humanitarian boyfriend caleb, she works at a bookstore (which is enviable in theory), and she has spent years traveling the world in a carefree bohemian whirlwind. however, her rootlessness has, erm …

    in less-enviable circumstances - thirteen years earlier, when her name was josie buhrman and she lived in smalltown illinois, her beloved history professor father chuck was murdered in the family’s kitchen, a crime witnessed by her twin sister lanie, whose subsequent testimony landed a 17-year-old neighbor named warren cave in jail. chuck’s death caused their emotionally-fragile mother to break down completely, abandoning them with her sister amelia to join a cult in california. lanie became a burnout troublemaker while josie worked extra-hard to be the good kid, but after lanie betrayed her in the most egregious way, josie left town and cut all ties with her sister, changing her name and the story of her past so that even five years into her relationship with caleb, he thinks her parents both died in a car accident and that she is an only child.

    enter poppy parnell. poppy is a former true crime blogger who aspires to greater heights and she begins an investigative, and very addictive, podcast looking into the buhrman case, at the request of warren’s mother. it becomes popular enough that josie hears fellow subway commuters discussing it, and - even more tellingly - her reclusive mother learns about it after fans invade the cult’s compound, and she hangs herself shortly thereafter, causing josie to reluctantly return to her hometown for the funeral, where she is forced to confront family, friends, and the past, as well as all the lies she told caleb.

    this is all first-act foundation, so don’t come at me with spoiler pitchforks.

    from there, the book splits into two intertwined strands: the truth of what happened the night of the murder and a family story of mental illness, lies, betrayal, the inescapable weight of blood, and whether it is more merciful to forgive or to set someone free to start over.

    it’s a 3.5, rounded up - i’m willing to cut much slack with debuts, particularly with debuts that are bringing something unusual to the mix, which this one does in its structure - the narrative chunks are broken up by transcripts of a true crime podcast, and the reactions of listeners to the episodes on reddit threads. i never listened to serial, or any other podcast - i’m still unclear on how they work, but poppy’s is pretty horrifying - invasive, gossipy and unprofessional, and seeing its impact on a family who has endured so much trauma, and now treated to the blithe idiocy of its fans’ online commentary, is nauseating. which i mean in a good way, because this is the most interesting and original aspect of the book, and which puts me in a precarious position - being disgusted by these vultures who are treating a family tragedy as water-cooler entertainment while i am, myself, being entertained by a novel about a family tragedy makes me just as culpable as they are on the great wheel of voyeurism, although i am giving myself a pass because i’m not camping outside anyone’s house demanding they tell me their darkest secrets.

    it’s a solid debut that you won’t regret reading, even if the characters are a little one-note, and i look forward to seeing what she does next.

    ******************************************

    when it rains, it pours... after not winning a goodreads giveaway for seven whole months, i have suddenly won two in two months! of course, it's terrible timing, as i am completely swamped with books i have promised to read, but i so appreciate freebies that i will use my fastest reading-eyes to get to this one as soon as humanly possible.

  • Susanne Strong

    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.

  • Meredith

    10 years ago, Josie Borden nee Buhrman fled her small Illinois hometown to start a new life. She travels the world, changes her last name, and finally settles down with her boyfriend, Caleb, in Brooklyn. What’s she running from? 13 years ago, Josie’s father was murdered. Lanie, Josie’s t

    10 years ago, Josie Borden nee Buhrman fled her small Illinois hometown to start a new life. She travels the world, changes her last name, and finally settles down with her boyfriend, Caleb, in Brooklyn. What’s she running from? 13 years ago, Josie’s father was murdered. Lanie, Josie’s twin sister, witnessed the murder and identified the killer. As a result of this tragic event, Josie’s mother joins a cult, Lanie becomes a drug addict, and Josie lives in a world of denial.

    Josie’s done her best to keep the past at bay, to the point where she even lied to Caleb about her family background. BUT she can’t hide anymore when the podcast Reconsidered starts investigating her father’s murder.

    Reconsidered (

    ) is hosted by Poppy Parnell, who is unrelenting in her efforts to cast doubt upon the man who was convicted of killing Josie’s father, Warren Cave. In order to sensationalize the podcast, she tears Josie’s family apart, and quetsions their integrity. Did Warren Cave really kill Josie’s father? Or is Poppy Parnell just trying to profit off of one family’s tragedy.

    Told through primarily Josie’s POV, but mixed with the podcast, articles about the murder, interviews, discussion threads on Reddit and Twitter, I really enjoyed the format of this book.

    is flawed (I'm too lazy to go into detail), but as I said above, I got sucked in.

    I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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