Insomnia by J. R. Johansson

Insomnia by J. R. Johansson(Cover picture courtesy of Skye’s Scribblings.)

It’d been four years since I’d really slept, and I suspected it was killing me.

Instead of sleeping, Parker Chipp enters the dream of the last person he’s had eye contact with. He spends his nights crushed by other people’s fear and pain, by their disturbing secrets—and Parker can never have dreams of his own. The severe exhaustion is crippling him. If nothing changes, Parker could soon be facing psychosis and even death.

Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that’s utterly addictive. So Parker starts going to bizarre lengths to catch Mia’s eye every day. Everyone at school thinks he’s gone over the edge, even his best friend. And when Mia is threatened by a true stalker, everyone thinks it’s Parker.

Suffering blackouts, Parker begins to wonder if he is turning into someone dangerous. What if the monster after Mia is him after all?

[Full disclosure: I received a free ARC ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

When I was flipping through the NetGalley catalog first I noticed the cover of Insomnia.  Then when I clicked on it to see the blurb, I knew I would have to request it.  The whole idea of entering the dreams of the person you last looked in the eyes is both intriguing and horrifying as we learn.  It also comes with severe mental and physical consequences.

Parker was really a character I could connect with, in part because I’ve suffered from a lack of sleep lately.  You see, when he enters other people’s dreams his mind is actually awake, meaning he is for all purposes getting no sleep.  I don’t know about you, but even after one night of poor sleep I get cranky and irritable, so imagine poor Parker enduring that for four years.  But then a ray of hope: in the peaceful dreams of the new girl at school, Mia, Parker is able to sleep.  You can imagine that would make a) Parker want to see Mia right after school and not want to look anyone else in the eyes and b) creep Mia out because some odd boy is stalking her.  So when Mia is being stalked and threatened for real, you can also imagine who she blames.

All of the characters were awesome except for the villain of the story, who was lame and completely predictable.  Of course she/he goes on a tirade when they have Parker cornered so he can figure everything out.  Still, I can’t complain about the minor villain too much because the encroaching Darkness inside Parker leaves potential for some villain redemption in the next book.

Aside from the characters, the premise was obviously amazing and well executed.  J. R. Johansson really put a lot of effort into creating the premise but also building a world around it with all sorts of rules that Parker discovers along the way.  The plot is sort of mixed in that at times it’s predictable, but other times you really can’t see the plot twists coming.  If nothing else, it’s fast paced so those 350+ pages really fly by.  Trust me, you’ll be glued to the story by both the plot and J. R. Johansson’s awesome writing style.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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