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Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Twins on Thursday: Insomnia by J.R. Johansson

"The Twins on Thursday" is reserved for the Twins' joint reviews. It is a special feature of our blog that discusses books that we either both like, dislike, or have mixed feelings about. This is also the day where we post reviews for books (and ARCs/Galleys) that have been sent to us by authors/galley sites/publishing houses. And because we don't believe much in uniformity, we'll be trying to mix things up a bit by adding random stuff in relation to our review (well, mostly for books we purchased anyway).

Title: Insomnia
Author: J.R. Johansson
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: June 8, 2013
Publishing House: Flux
ISBN: 9780738735931
Source of Copy: Requested from publisher via NetGalley


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 is utterly addictive. 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 wen Mia is threatened by a true stalker, everyone thinks it's Parker.

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

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Parker's got a gift - or a curse, really - that allows him to enter the dreams of the last person who's eyes he looks into. He has no choice but to watch their memories, fantasies and nightmares play out and is totally helpless about it. He can't exactly sleep because while his body is resting, his brain is still functioning and so Parker's technically "awake" for four years, and it's actually a wonder that he's still alive. But when he meets Mia whose dreams are so peaceful that he can actually fall asleep in them, an altogether different brute seems to awaken.

We love reading about dreams. Heck, we even tell our dreams to each other if we can remember them. It's not really surprising then that we were actually looking forward to reading Insomnia, because Parker seems to have this awesome power of actually witnessing people's dreams, except for the downside that the poor guy seems to be always alert and can't catch a break. Four years of getting no sleep seems downright dangerous, after all. Then of course, there's also someone out there who seems to want Parker to be blamed for certain misdemeanors.

There's no other way to go about it, but Insomnia has lackluster characters, save for Finn and Addie. There was no emotional investment on our part because the characters lacked the oomph to make them connect to readers. We found Parker to be strange and outright creepy thanks to his approach towards Mia. Why couldn't he think of another approach?  We understand that sleep deprivation does wonders to the human body but come on, he's been in that state for four years and we're pretty sure he meets new people all the time. AND He's co-captain of the boy's soccer team and a pretty popular guy. We're pretty sure he can come up with a non-creepy way of making sure he can look into her eyes.

Mia, the newcomer, is boring. We pitied her getting harassed and we get that what happened to her in the past was quite traumatizing, but it does not negate the fact that she was just... there. While others think that Parker is after her for obvious reasons, he's really after her because of her ability to put him to sleep. 

The pace was alright, but there wasn't really much about the story that bugged us to turn page after page after page. For us, the "twist" was random and bizarre, because there was no build-up to it. It felt like the "twist" was put there just so that the case could be resolved, and we really weren't buying it.

While Parker may have trouble getting some sleep, his story in Insomnia, for sure, won't keep us awake.

Insomnia is expected to hit bookstands on the 8th of June.


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