________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 27. . . .March 15, 2013


Night Terrors. (Orca Soundings).

Sean Rodman.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2013.
120 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0419-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0420-3 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0421-0 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-0422-7 (epub).

Grades 7-12 / Ages 12-17.

Review by Sarah Clark.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



“No, no, no.” Tom pushes himself back upright. “You’re young – you need to fly free. Go home. You want to be up here with just Harvey and Edward? Stuck in the woods for another week?”

“I don’t know. I wasn’t planning on it. But I could use the money.” The reality is, I have no plan for after I leave this place.

“It’s not worth it and you know it. You think Edward is bad when he has fifty staff to torture? Think about what it’ll be like with just you in the crosshairs? You know he used to be head chef of the kitchen before he was promoted to manager? Ran the kitchen like it was the army. Drills and everything. Ca-razy stuff. Apparently, the owners told him to tone it down when he became manager. But you’ve seen what he’s like.”

Yeah, I have seen Edward in full military-sergeant mode, screaming at a server until she cried. So far my strategy has just been to do the job and stay out of his way. But Tom is right – I won’t be able to hide from Edward now.


After the accidental drowning of his younger brother, Sammy, 18-year-old Dylan struggles to move on, blaming himself for the family’s loss and struggling to cope with series of unending nightmares focused on his brother’s death. When an opportunity arises for Dylan to take on a job at a remote wilderness resort, he eagerly accepts, hoping the experience will provide a much needed distraction. However, this solace is only temporary, and once the summer comes to an end, Dylan can’t bear the thought of returning to the painful life he’d left behind. Though he lands an opportunity to help close up the resort before winter, allowing him to remain on staff for an extra two weeks, his plans quickly turn sour due to his tyrant of a boss, Edward. Though it was tolerable to put up with him during the summer, Edward’s behaviour quickly goes from strict to reckless once the other employees are out of sight, causing Dylan to seriously question his choice to remain on staff and making him increasingly unsettled, especially after a rumor surfaces about a previous employee who had mysteriously gone missing. After being wrongfully accused of damaging one of the on-site cabins, and seeing a strange figure in the woods, Dylan gets the feeling that he is no longer safe. Deciding that he needs to break free of his surroundings before he completely loses his mind, Dylan is hit with a new kind of fear after a freak storm cuts off the resort’s power, and, Edward, the only one left with a set of keys and a vehicle, refuses to leave.

     Like most novels from “Orca Soundings”, Night Terrors effortlessly falls into the format of short-length, high-interest. Despite the predictability of this pattern, however, the book, itself, is far from bland, marked by a plot that is fast-paced and intense. As a reader, I was immediately drawn in by the novel’s suspense and, additionally, found myself intrigued by the mystery surrounding Edward and the resort. Although Rodman is very successful in creating a convincing villain and aptly combining the right amount of mystery and rising action, my only disappointment stems from the lack of closure regarding Sammy’s death. Though the early stages of plot focus heavily on this issue, in reading further, it seems like this event served as nothing more than an explanation for Dylan’s nightmares. Though the incident was said to leave Dylan stricken with insurmountable grief, there was no resolution for his emotional trauma or any suggestion of Dylan’s potential healing process. Morally, it seems as though the book encourages teens to avoid their problems by running away, just as Dylan did. That said, however, I feel that Night Terrors will resonate strongly with teenage boys, or young people in general, who struggle with confronting their emotions, and it provide all readers with their own (healthy) form of escape, through Rodman’s highly engaging narrative.


Sarah Clark is a liaison librarian at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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