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4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,669 Ratings  ·  482 Reviews
Sleeper (colloq.): 1. out-of-town hit man who spends the night after a local contract is completed. 2. A juvenile sentenced to serve any period longer than nine months in a state-managed facility.

This is the story of four young boys. Four lifelong friends.

Intelligent, fun-loving, wise beyond their years, they are inseparable. Their potential is unlimited, but they are cont
Paperback, 399 pages
Published October 30th 1996 by Pocket (first published 1995)
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Τζο Why would you want to listen to something sooo painful.
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I read this once when I was younger and have not read it since. I remember reading this shortly before the movie came out (which I had only seen about once or twice itself) and the events stayed with me ever since then.

The story was a harrowing one exploring the effects of how life can change in an incident with a minor mistake of childhood play. After a childhood prank that ends in the death of a local vendor, the four friends of the book are sentenced to a brutal juvenile prison where the pris
Lee Cooper
Dec 23, 2015 Lee Cooper rated it really liked it
I read this book many years ago when I was in high school and I wanted to re read it to see how I felt about it this many years later. It was still a very hard read. The first part of the book describes the relationships and friendship between the four boys, we get to know their personalities and characteristics and have some insight as to how each of them will cope in this hideous environment. The boys end up in some mischief which has dire consequences, they are sent to a reform school where t ...more
Aug 01, 2012 Ubiquitousbastard rated it it was amazing
Possibly the most disturbing book that I have ever read. After I finished it (I was fifteen), I walked around my house in shock muttering "oh my god" over and over. Originally I had picked it up out of a bookshelf without knowing what it was about, so the subject matter was more of a surprise than if I had known what to expect. I actually feel somewhat horrible giving this five stars, but it was an utterly engrossing and captivating book. Honestly, I wouldn't recommend this for most people I kno ...more
Nov 01, 2010 Nick rated it it was amazing
It was the summer of '97 and I got grounded for sneaking out of my bedroom window (again) to meet up with friends to drink warm, pilfered beers and smoke mexican ditch rat-weed (probably).
So while I'm grounded I read this book and I can't put it own. Because I read it so quickly, I still have a week to kill with nothing to do. So i read it again. I had friends come over to try and get me to sneak out again but i blow em off and say 'nah, im good actually, got this book im reading'. That's about
Nov 09, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nandakishore Varma
The book is very well written and graphic in its portrayal of violence and sex, but I had a sneaking suspicion it may be mostly fiction even while I was reading it years ago. A quick search on the net now convinces me that there is a huge controversy regarding the veracity of the story.

If it's a true story, it rates five stars.

If it's fiction paraded as truth, it rates only one star.

Since there is no way of establishing the truth, I plumb for three stars.
Ivana Azap
Jul 11, 2014 Ivana Azap rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
I have cried so much... I don't know how can people be so evil - we are talking about the boys here!!! I cannot stand that - the idea that everything here is probably true (for this author), that this kind of thing really happens all around the world, is sooo heart breaking, I, I, I.... I cannot... The book is so good written, and of course Mr. Carcaterra implies that the book is based on a true story.... So many good descriptions of emotions, and characters, and places, and the horrific happeni ...more
Oct 23, 2011 Kirsti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author, Lorenzo Carcaterra in his book, "Sleepers" tells the story as himself reflecting back to when he was a boy growing up in Hell's Kitchen (a city in New York) in the 1960's, and a place he and his three other friends were forced to go to after pulling a stupid prank that almost kills someone. This place is a juvenille facility that they soon find out will change their lives forever. There they endure unnecessary verbal, physical and sexual abuse from the guards that watch them.
Later as
Essence Michelle
Apr 11, 2009 Essence Michelle rated it it was amazing
I absolutely fell into the pages of this book. I enjoyed every vivid characters and smiled at the fact that they were at one point real people. The story definitely provides a strong sense of reality that only one who has been abused can relate to. The author was able to convey such images to the reader that could bring one to tears.
The thing I enjoyed the most in this book was the love shared between friends. The main characters knew that no matter what happened in the world or how life changed
Apr 15, 2016 anionce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una maravillosa historia sobre cuatro amigos que se vieron obligados a crecer demasiado rápido. Dura, emocionante, deja huella.

Evidentemente, la novela tiene más "chicha" que la película (al menos, durante la primera parte), pero en realidad, todo lo que sale en la peli es exactamente igual que en el libro; de hecho, utilizan las mismas palabras (y lo sé porque me sé la película de memoria).

Como siempre, mi personaje favorito es el padre Robert Carillo (Robert deNiro en la película), que siempre
*** There is talk that this "based on a true story is just that.....a story! But I'm going on what I read, and that its a telling a real part of a real mans past.

I had been intruded to this movie YEARS ago (I believe 1995-1996) and I knew it had a book on the topic but just never got around to getting it...Fast forward to present time, and I'm walking out a book store and there on a .25cents cart there it is!!!(so I get it!) I knew the premise of the story, as I said I seen the movie before, I
I read this book a number of years ago and believed every word. This time around I found myself skeptical. It reminded me of James Frey's A Million Little Pieces. It was too stylized and unlikely; I could believe it may have had its roots in truth but that doesn't make the story a full truth. The court case seemed particularly unlikely. It is a pretty well-written story but I don't see it as THE TRUTH, just a version thereof most likely. It could, in fact, be lies from beginning to end, but ther ...more
Sep 14, 2015 Siv30 rated it really liked it
קרקטרה לורנצו – "ישנונים"
מעריב, 352 עמ'

זהו סיפורם של ארבע נערים צעירים, לורנצו, מייקל, טומי וג'ון שהיו חברי נפש בניו יורק של שנות ה- 60.

הם גדלו באחת השכונות המסוכנות והידועות לשימצה של ניו יורק : מטבח השטן. שכונה של מהגרים עניים שמחד סיפקה אווירה של אלימות, פשע וסמים אבל מאידך סיפקה סוג של ביטחון לילדים שגדלו בה. בטחון שנבע ממערכת קשרים, אמנות והסכמים חברתיים שבשתיקה. אבל שום דבר מכל מה שחוו במשך ילדותם, לא הכין אותם לחוויה שעברו במשך שנה במוסד לנערים ווילקנסון.

לפי האתר של קרקטרה, הספר מהווה אוט
Fay Bee
Jan 13, 2016 Fay Bee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lives-of-others
This book was gripping and vividly depicted without superfluous detail.

The characters become very real, you want to reach out to them. I was immersed in the scenery. Even if you'd never been to Hell's Kitchen in the 60s you can be there in this book.

Written by one survivor of abhorrent abuse within a New York juvenile detention centre in the 1960s, this book depicts his life - and the lives of his three friends - before, during and after incarceration in the Wilkinson Home for Boys.

This is not a
Aug 06, 2013 Dark-Draco rated it it was amazing
I remember going to see the film of this when it first hit the cinemas, so wanted to read this to understand the story some more. It's a tough tale to read. Four friends, growing up in Hells Kitchen, are mainly harmless and spend their childhood roaming free in the neighbourhood. But when one of their pranks goes wrong and a man is seriously injured, they are sent to a Reform School for Boys. Although their sentence is only for a few months, what they find inside is a group of guards determined ...more
Mar 25, 2014 Nicole rated it it was amazing
This was a riveting read and it kept me engaged throughout.

I looked at my bookshelves and realized that I had not added this book. It is a story of four boys growing up in Hell's Kitchen. One day, a prank goes wrong and they end up killing a man by accident. They are sent to the Wilkinson Home for Boys as punishment. It is there that their horrific abuse at the hands of some guards takes place. After being released, they deal with their abuse in different ways.

Years later, two of the boys see o
Sep 29, 2014 Ziba rated it really liked it
Put Stephen Kings Shawshank Redemption in one hand, and his The Body in the other. Now put your hands together and you'll have Lorenzo Carcaterra's Sleepers; an allegedly true story of four boys who are united through life by solid friendship, never leaving each others side. An eye opener to what went on behind the bars of justice in the 1960's New York, and the 'wrong side of the law'. A gruesome story of what freedom really meant.
Laura Susan Johnson
I love both the book and the film because of wonderful character development. Four kids living in the toughness of Hell's Kitchen on the west side of Manhattan. Mischievious, yet innocent, these boys are always playing pranks, or having the kind of fun only poor, at risk kids have, splashing into the river, opening fire hydrants, eavesdropping in confessional booths, working for the formidable King Benny and hanging out with a concerned priest, Father Bobby. Much of the first portion of the book ...more
Gary Bonn
Mar 05, 2016 Gary Bonn rated it it was amazing
Not for the squeamish. Names and places/descriptions have been changed but the author claims all events are real and I see no reason to disbelieve this.

Totally immersed in New York street life in the latter part of the 20th century, I had a great time. This alone was very educational.

A single event shatters the lives of four boys and the aftermath is horrific. Fight your way through it if need be - you'll see why at the end.

As a structural editor of novels I would have sent this back to the auth
Feb 04, 2008 Bill rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
This is a true story but it reads as fluidly as fiction.
A gritty account of young boys sent to a detention home and the brutality they endured from the guards. Hard to read at times, but compelling.
Karla Phillips
Dec 26, 2012 Karla Phillips rated it it was amazing
This book talks about the life of four young boys and what happens to them as they are growing up in a place called Hell's Kitchen. The boys names are Shakes, Tommy, Mikey, and John. THey was good boys that just like to mess around and play jokes on people. They liked to open up the fire hydrats and play in the water on a hot summer day, trade baseball cards, and play sports. Shakes would always go to King Benny's place and have a cup of coffee with him and he also worked for him as well. They a ...more
Nov 24, 2011 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found ‘Sleepers’ to be an amazingly powerful and emotional read. Very few books capture what friendship mean and I think Lorenzo Carcaterra wrote of his experiences fabulously. Albeit there were a few parts very disturbing to get through, I feel it added to the impact which moved the story along.

I found myself close to tears as I finished the epilogue and I really wanted to know more about the lives of these boys who pulled each other through life. I cheered for them and mourned with them and
I read this book back in HS. It is definitely not for the weak stomach or faint of heart. I first heard about the movie, which was released in 1996. When I discovered that this movie was based on a true story and a book that was written I decided to read it. It is quite graphic and gets into detail of what happens to these 4 young friends. They were beaten and sexually abused. It is sad to think that things like this can happen to young children. It is a good book and it is well written. From wh ...more
May 07, 2013 Jess rated it it was amazing

Four young boys, happy and careless. They are inseparable, they are innocent and wise beyond their years. Build by their own dreams and strengthen by their faith. They always do things together. They always do pranks that make their friendship even more tighter, of course they never get caught.

And they know that they never will.

But one summer afternoon, the free life that they have, has been compromise with a harmless scheme that went wrong. The four boys was sent to a juvenile called Wilki
Jun 21, 2013 Kani rated it really liked it
I found this to be a page turner & read it over several days. I used to live in Hell's Kitchen, around the same time as the conflict resolution, or revenge as some might call it, took place. It was fun for me to be able to really picture the locales our author was describing. I can't imagine swimming in the Hudson River when I was there & that was after the big '70's clean-up of that filthy river! Crazy boys! Nonetheless, the 'hood appeal & NYC through the eyes of growing boys were g ...more
May 27, 2016 Ed rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, nyc, non-fiction
A best seller that despite the home town setting never appealed to me.

364.1066 Crime - Four lifelong friends within the closed world of New York City's Hell's Kitchen. They never get caught until one disastrous summer afternoon. On that day, what begins as a harmless scheme goes horrible wrong. And the four find themselves facing a year's imprisonment in the Wilkinson Home for Boys. The oldest of them is fifteen, the youngest twelve. What happens to them over the course of that year--brutal beat
John Keats
Feb 09, 2016 John Keats rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished this book under six hours and I loved every word of it. It is one of the best books I have read in my 13 year old life and it can certainly be compared with The Lost Symbol as one of the best, in my opinion. The book has everything you could hope to ask for except proof and I say that because the author says that this is based on a true story. Never has a book captivated me like this, not even The Lost symbol, and you don't find me finishing a book under six hours. This book must ...more
Jan 03, 2016 Tony rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
SLEEPERS. (1995). Lorenzo Carcaterra. ***1/2.
This was a huge best-seller in its day, and was Carcaterra’s break-through novel. It was the story of four young boys growing up in the Hells Kitchen section of New York City. (That section is now known as Clinton.) We get to follow the boys and their street antics for a couple of years until they suddenly hit a snag. One of their escapades involving a street vendor of hot dogs ends up with an innocent bystander being seriously injured. The boys are a
Jul 14, 2015 Jordyn rated it it was amazing
This book is one of the most funny, exciting, suspenseful, emotional and upsetting books I've ever read. It is written in first person from Lorenzo Carcaterra's (the author) point of view. The book begins with Carcaterra writing about his childhood and his three best friends: John, Tommy, and Michael. He tells us about the mischief the four boys got up to. This section ends with a prank which goes wrong, resulting in the four being sentenced to a year in a juvenile detention centre. The second s ...more
Feb 08, 2015 Rbette1299 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, crime
It was so hard to read this book and I can't say that I enjoyed the read but I refuse to turn away from evil and this book portrays it so well. I don't understand how anyone can doubt the truth of this story. Whether it happened exactly as written in this story, these hideous events have happened to countless children throughout history and in current modern day. Even now the people charged with making sure vulnerable children are protected from rape and abuse turn a blind eye. I will never turn ...more
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Number-one New York Times bestselling author Lorenzo Carcaterra's highly successful career spans more than 25 years of writing for the diverse fields of fiction, non-fiction, television, and film.

Born and raised in New York's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, Carcaterra landed his first job in the newspaper business as a copy boy for The New York Daily News in 1976. He worked his way up to entertainmen
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“Live then, beloved children of my heart, and never forget that, until the day God deigns to reveal the future to man, the sum of all human wisdom will be contained in these two words; Wait and Hope.” 6 likes
“The night and the streets were ours and the future lay sparkling ahead.
And we thought we would know each other forever.”
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