Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating


4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  7,718 ratings  ·  381 reviews
Die wahre Geschichte einer glücklichen Jugend und einer teuflischen Rache.

Unzertrennlich sind vier Freunde, die im New Yorker Stadtteil Hell's Kitchen aufwachsen. Sie sind die Könige in ihrem Viertel und denken nicht an morgen. Bis sie eines Tages beinahe einen Menschen töten. Sie werden für ein Jahr in das Erziehungsheim Wilkinson Home eingewiesen, wo die Brutalität der A...more
Paperback, 382 pages
Published 1997 by Goldmann (first published 1995)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sleepers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sleepers

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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...more
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
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.
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...more
Essence Michelle
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...more
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
Phase Reading
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...more
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
Ivana Azap
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
Dayhana Ramirez
The story "Sleepers" by Lorenzo Carcaterra is based on true events. In my opinion, the book was well written.The author goes into depth describing the setting and surroundings of the narrators point of view. The setting in the beginning of the story is set in he summer of 1963 in New York's City Hell's Kitchen.

Lorenzo and his 3 lifetime friends rely on each other to make their life in Hell's Kitchen somewhat brighter. They know everything about each other enough to know that some things are bett...more
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...more
Karla Phillips
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
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...more
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

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...more
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
What If...

This is a book that truly shows the meaning of friendship. The first part of the book is basically a story of four boys - telling us about each boy and letting us glimpse what the future would have held for them... you can only imagine what each would do and how all of them would be friends for life know matter what. The story goes into an event that went terribly wrong and then the consequences ... the horrible and terrible things that happened. I was shocked and horrified at what eac...more
This is a book that truly shows the meaning of friendship. The first part of the book is basically a story of four boys - telling us about each boy and letting us glimpse what the future would have held for them... you can only imagine what each would do and how all of them would be friends for life know matter what. The story goes into an event that went terribly wrong and then the consequences ... the horrible and terrible things that happened. I was shocked and horrified at what each boy went...more
Jeffrey Chase
What can I say about this book? Well written, powerful, emotional, moving. 4 boys, 1967, Hells Kitchen, a prank gone bad. These friends make a choice that brings them to Wilkensen's Juvenile Facility, where, for over a year, they are tortured and abused by the guards that work there. What does a thing like this do to a kid? Years later, they are grown, still living in New York city. 2 of them, Michael and Lorenzo, are able to put the past behind them, at least to some degree, but their friends,...more
Shocking, a book that will change the way you think forever. The writing is superb, splendid and yet sad. A story about loyalty, redemption and retribution. The story is about four boys who are growing up in New York’s Hells Kitchen. A terrible prank goes awry and the boys are sent to a juvenile prison in upstate New York. The things that happen to them are unimaginable and unthinkable, but not forgotten. The best book I have read this year.
Katie Bowie
I've seen the controversy over this book and its plausibility... but the thing is, part of me doesn't care if it's all spot on genuine or not, for two reasons, and I'll tell you what they are.

First, this was such a goddamn good, harrowing, gut-wrenching book that if I hadn't had other things to do, I wouldn't have put it down.

Second, even if this story itself is not 100% true, many other stories echo it and are true. There is a Tommy, a Michael, a John, and a Shakes at every juvenile prison in...more
I pretty much read this book because I had seen the movie a few years ago. I can't really say it was good because of the horrific subject matter, but the author did a great job of telling the story. I could almost see the city, hear the accents spoken. I got emotional at the things happening to the boys, and I cheered when the vengeance came.

Amazing amazing book!! Love the characters and really appreciated the hells kitchen history as a resident of hells kitchen now. This is one of the books that is so well-written and fluid that makes the reader feel the same emotions of hatred, entrapment, humiliation, anger and eventually relief as the characters.
"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."--The Count of Monte Cristo

Sleepers is a story that will profoundly affect you. When I first saw the movie back in the 90's, it had a powerful affect on me. It challenges your views about justice and revenge. What makes it even more powerful, is that it really happened.

The movie sticks very close to...more

Wow. That was moving. It was most certainly difficult to read at certain parts, namely through the abuse that these 4 young boys endured, especially if you consider that this is supposed to be based of real events that happened to the author and his friends. I guess there was some controversy with that, some people claiming that this was not based on true events, but I'm not here to speak of that one way or another. Either way I think this was a powerful, emotional journey, and I am glad to hav...more
Juliana Jura
Having seen the film, I knew what to expect in this book, a true story. It was still shocking though! How adults who take responsibility for the lives of children, can act like this is beyond belief! Yet I know it happens. A compelling true story that tugs at the heart strings. Well written.
David Carraturo
This was a gripping story from page one. The era of their youth was told with vivid descriptions, the brutality of the torture made me cringe and the revenge of the ending was sweet. I would recommend this to all. Kudos to the movie script as well as it stayed true to the story.
Raegan Nielsen
This book was disturbing but well written. I loved the dicriptions of Hells Kitchen and the life these boys led. I would caution anyone who wants to read this book. The abuse that takes place in this book made me cry and rage for the boys. Reader beware!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Combine editions 2 75 Feb 05, 2014 09:07AM  
What Was Your Favorite Scene? 1 15 Nov 09, 2013 10:34PM  
  • The Devil's Dozen: How Cutting-Edge Forensics Took Down 12 Notorious Serial Killers
  • Deranged
  • The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia
  • The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs
  • The Good Rat
  • L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City
  • Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator
  • Fireflies
  • Turn Left At The Trojan Horse: A Would-Be Hero's American Odyssey
  • The Profiler: My Life Hunting Serial Killers and Psychopaths
  • In the Still of the Night: The Strange Death of Ronda Reynolds and Her Mother's Unceasing Quest for the Truth
  • Lost and Found: The True Story of Jaycee Lee Dugard and the Abduction that Shocked the World
  • The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases
  • As Dog is My Witness (Aaron Tucker Mystery #3)
  • Crime Beat
  • Hitler's Panzers: The Lightning Attacks that Revolutionized Warfare
  • A Descent Into Hell
  • All The Pretty Dead Girls
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...more
More about Lorenzo Carcaterra...
Gangster Street Boys Apaches: A Novel of Suspense A Safe Place: The True Story of a Father, a Son, a Murder Paradise City: A Novel of Suspense

Share This Book

“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.” 7 likes
More quotes…