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Monday, April 07, 2014

Dream-Walker Novel As Confusing and Unfocused as, Well, a Dream

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

As a Watcher, 16-year-old Parker Chipp has the ability to walk through other people's dreams, unnoticed by the dreamer.  It's not a pick-and-choose kind of thing—he haunts the dreams of the last person he made eye contact with before he fell asleep.  Roaming through the night visions of strangers and friends—experiencing their fears, frustrations and unexpressed desires—might sound like a cool super power, but it's not.  Not really.  Parker hasn't enjoyed a decent sleep in four years and it's killing him.  Literally.  

Then, he meets Mia Greene, a foster kid who's staying with a local family.  Parker's stunned by what he finds in her dreams.  Inside her unconscious mind, he finds only peace and calm.  The sensations are so unfamiliar, so soothing, that he's able to sleep deeply for the first time in years.  Parker craves more rest, needs more to live.  The only problem?  He can't get it without Mia—and she thinks he's a crazy stalker.  

When Mia begins receiving threatening emails, her suspicion naturally falls on Parker.  The thing is, she may be right.  He's so desperate for more of the peace only she can give him that he'll do anything to get it.  Anything.  But is he the one scaring Mia?  Would he really do her harm?  As Parker's need for Mia becomes more desperate and all-consuming, he realizes he doesn't know himself at all.  How can he keep Mia safe—especially if he's the one from whom she needs to be protected?  
I've always found dreams fascinating, so I'm drawn to tales with premises like the one that drives Insomnia by J.R. Johansson.  Having read novels similar to this one, I was happy to discover some fresh elements in this debut novel.  As much as I appreciated these novelties, however, they didn't do enough to save this story from being confusing, unfocused, and melodramatic.  Poor character development and a flimsy plot just made things worse.  In the end, I liked the idea of this novel a whole lot more than the novel itself.  Bummer.

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of the Wake trilogy [Wake; Fade; Gone] by Lisa McMann)  

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence/scary images, and depictions of underage drinking

To the FTC, with love:  I received a copy of Insomnia from the generous folks at Flux via those at NetGalley.  Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Dang. I'm obsessed with dreams too so this one sounds so good. I also heard good things but I'm depressed to hear it's confusing. I'll probably still give it shot.

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