Monday, June 3, 2013

Review: Insomnia (J.R. Johansson)

(Be sure not to miss the special announcement at the end of this review!)

Insomnia (The Night Walkers, #1)
Title: Insomnia
Series: The Night Walkers, Book 1
Author: J.R. Johansson
Publisher: Flux
Release Date: June 8, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Psychological Thriller
Rating: Older Teen (disturbing images and scenes, graphic violence, some slightly perverse sensuality, some language)
Told: First Person (Parker), Past Tense
Format Read: Paperback
Find It On: Goodreads


It’s been four years since I slept, and I suspect it is 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 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 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 stalking Mia is him after all?

*          *          *

Three Words: Creepy. Chilling. Tense.

Cover: All manner of spooky and dark and STOP STARING INTO MY SOUL, COVER.

Writing: The style was a little more relaxed than I usually prefer, but the story was engrossing enough that I overlooked our differences.

Setting: A normal urban setting with nothing significant to note.

Story: The story was uncomplicated and had two basic parts: Parker's struggle to maintain his sanity and stay alive, and the mystery of who was stalking Mia. I welcomed the simplicity, not only because it allowed the tension of Parker's struggle to take the forefront, but because I tend to get lost in the complexity of mysteries - and this one was anything but complex. They found out Mia had a stalker, and their basic response was to investigate the people in Mia's life. Simple, easy to follow, and the list was short and diverse enough that I never got the suspects confused. But don't think because the mystery was simple that the reveal wasn't anything but an explosion in the tension department (in more ways than one ;). I had a suspicion of who it was but really did not see that coming, and I was quite happy (although happy is not the right word to use) with the result.

As far as Parker's abilities were concerned, the questions surrounding them were left for the next book. This didn't detract from the story at all, though - consider Book 1 a very tense and dark and engaging introduction.

Characters: Parker was a nice, average guy forced by desperation and an insomnia- and Watcher-induced psychosis to do seriously creepy things to keep himself alive. But even as he spiraled into some a level of madness, he struggled to keep those he cared about safe - from others, and eventually from himself. He had normal, human bouts of strength and weakness and I had no trouble rooting for him, even when he felt like giving into the darkness. Mia was a troubled soul with a horrific past and the worst luck with life. EVER. Poor thing - my heart went out to her, and I'm praying she gets some happiness in the next book because after this book she should seriously be scarred for life in at least four different ways. Finn and Addie, Parker's best friends, were his lifeline to his sanity and good nature, and although I wished they could've come in on the secret a little earlier, they were there when it counted to hold Parker together when he was ready to fall apart. Finn was also the comic relief, which this semi-heavy book desperately needed at times.

Relationships: The relationships were complicated. Parker was obsessed with Mia because he could sleep in her dreams, but it wasn't anything romantic - simply a survival instinct. Parker's romantic interest was his best friend's sister, which meant she was supposed to be off-limits. But this relationship does eventually progress a little, although by the end it truly becomes the definition of the word "complicated."

Conclusion: An engaging and different read. I'm usually not much for darker content - it tends to depress me - but this book was dark enough to give me chills but still light enough not to bring me down. I will definitely be interested to read Book 2 and get some answers!

Special Announcement: I am participating in the Insomnia Blog Tour! Come back Friday for a special interview of the author herself, along with a special giveaway!


  1. This one sounds like it could really be a lot of fun. I tend to like my mysteries really mind bendy, but I'm sure that a simple one would be nice too! Great review.

  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to read, review and be part of the blog tour, Skye! You've been so great to work with on this! :) :) :)