Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Review: Insomnia by J.R. Johansson (Whitney Finalist 2013)

Title: Insomnia
Author: J.R. Johansson
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Source: Library Copy
This book would be rated: PG-13 for intense situations and threats of violence

Parker doesn't sleep. He hasn't slept for four years. Instead, he spends his night inhabiting the dreams of the last person he made eye contact with before going to bed. This means he's spent lots of nights seeing his mom's dreams, and way too many nights witnessing the subconscious of people from school. Sometimes he the thing he sees are scary or dangerous. But what's really dangerous is the fact that his brain never rests. He can't concentrate and feels jittery. His mother is convinced he's on drugs. But then Parker meets Mia, a new girl at school, and when he inhabits her dreams, he finds rest.

The problem starts when Mia starts to think Parker is stalking her. It turns out that someone really is stalking her, and she has a troubled past, and since Parker has to make eye contact with her every night before going to sleep, the assumption seems logical. In order to clear his name, Parker has to find the real stalker, before he completely loses it due to his own sleeplessness. The premise of Insomnia is really interesting, and I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the world of the first half of the novel. Overall, I found the book a strong contender. However, Parker is a male character, and this felt like female book. I don't know how to explain it, but the preoccupation with girls and relationships made me feel like this was a book more geared to female readers than male readers, which surprised me because of the male protagonist.

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