Thank you Flux and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for a review. This generous act did not influence my review in any way.
As a person who oftentimes finds herself still awake in the wee hours of the morning, and as someone truly fascinated in the subject of sleep deprivation (having experienced it in my university life once or twice, ahem), it comes as a no wonder that the moment I saw Insomnia by J.R. Johansson on NetGalley, I felt that I just had to have it. Entering the dreams of people you last got eye contact with?! Wicked. Not having a decent sleep for a long time?! Awesome. On the verge of insanity? Hell yeah.
Needless to say, I consumed this book in less than 4 hours, which is quite a record for me, to be honest. This fast consumption isn't because I skimmed the novel, mind you, but it's because everything was just so fast-paced and exciting, I couldn't stop reading, and NO, I DON'T WANT TO STOP READING. Even if it was already 4:00 in the morning. Even if I was already sleep-deprived. Oops.The best thing about this book is the main male character.
Do any of you have any idea how rare it is to have a freaking male character in a YA book? And a likeable one, to boot! Such heroes in a popular genre are far and few between, so for that reason, I already consider this book a gem. Parker Chipp is an endearing yet complex teenager. You know for certain that he's a cool guy - nice, athletic, has a bizarre sense of humor (but funny, nonetheless!), and even thoughtful. I knew from the very start that I'd like him, and his very personal internal narration made it even more easier for me to feel for him, too. Despite being an overall good guy, you can really feel his frustrations and his fears of dying as a result of not being able to sleep, which influenced his recent actions that have directly or indirectly pushed other people away.
Throughout the book, I found myself rooting and feeling sorry for all the experiences he had to go through. Heck, I was even angry that he was so misunderstood by others, and honestly, this empathy couldn't have come if it weren't for his likeable voice. I love how the author made him so complex, yet a delight to read at the same time. I reckon he'll be a favorite.Aside from that, I appreciated the structured storyline.
For a book that spans 360 pages, it didn't feel dragging at all, and no chapter felt like a filler. Every chapter had a purpose, as if each contributed to the escalation of events that would lead to the much-coveted finale. The way the dreams were described, the way the little technical stuff were thoroughly explained, and the way the twists and turns were meticulously-weaved -- all of those were a pleasure to read. I kid you not that the flow was very nice, which I didn't really expect coming from a Paranormal YA read (because honestly, most paranormal books I read didn't even come this close to being well-written). I loved how there was a sense of urgency, but the overall pace was steady, making sure that the reader was absorbing everything in while still keeping them at the edges of their seats. The same could be said for the psychological aspect of it. As stated and implied in the synopsis, Parker will undergo a lot of... mental and psychological changes, and his journey to this state, rocky and unfortunate as it was, was very fascinating to read. You know for certain that when he does reach that condition, it didn't just happen from out of nowhere. There were events that led to it, there were reasons, and it took a lot of painful time... and the best part is? I loved every minute and every page. The saying "it gets worse before it gets better" holds true here. His transformation from someone potentially dangerous, to his resisting it, and to his ultimate self-acceptance was a wonderful journey.I also appreciate the fact that this will be a series.
I understand from the very start there were supernatural elements, but a part of me thought that this book could've stood on its own as a stand-alone. The ending kind of implied something... deeper and more complex going on in the background that would ultimately reel poor Parker Chipp in, and for a moment, I felt a tinge of disappointment because one, that would mean I have to wait for the next book to come out, and I tell you I have severe withdrawal problems; and two, I thought its impact would have been more phenomenal as a stand-alone. But hey, I'll be seeing more of Parker Chipp and his awesome personality, so I'll shut up now and be grateful for that instead. :)But there are reasons why I gave this 4 stars, although I was very tempted to give it 5. For starters, I felt that the climax was very anti-climactic.
When it was finally revealed who the bad guy was, I didn't feel any "shock" or "aha! I knew it was him!" or even an "I so didn't see that coming!" It felt as if the whole thing was random. Yes, random. The guy only appeared a handful of times throughout the book, and the lack of foreshadowing or implication of his involvement ultimately backfired, because it left me feeling dull. All it garnered was an "oh... ok?" from me, at best. Sad, I know, because I was expecting a lot!
Overall, this was a fun read. I loved every minute and every page of it, sans the climax. That, I think, needs some work, but essentially, everything is good. Very good, in fact. Can't wait for the next book to come out!Final verdict: 4/5
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