Review: Insomnia by J. R. Johansson

June 20, 2013 Book Review, Flux, Insomnia, J.R. Johansson, Netgalley, Paranormal, Suspense, Thriller, YA, Young Adult 38

Title: Insomnia
Author: J.R. Johansson
Publisher: Flux
Date: June 8th 2013
Source: Netgalley

From 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?

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Parker is a Watcher, or at least that’s what he calls himself. Every night he invades the dreams of the last person he made eye contact with before he goes to sleep. Pretty freaky, right? I mean, I don’t know about you guys but I have some extremely strange dreams. I can’t imagine what an outsider would think … lol This is having a detrimental affect on Parker’s health though, as he is unable to really rest his mind. His body starts to shutdown and he knows it is only a matter of time before it’s all over. That is until he watches the dreams of the new girl, Mia, and everything changes.

This story has so many layers to it. Mia is terrified of Parker. He scares her with his staring and almost stalking ways at times as he feels compelled to catch her eye every day before bed to achieve that rest his body so desperately craves in her dreams. He has a few creeper moments before he stops himself and sees what he is doing, but it’s more than that as Parker learns Mia has developed a real stalker, and she thinks it’s him! Trouble is, Parker sees a darkness growing inside of him and he’s not entirely sure he’s innocent either. Oh and let’s not forget the weird guy following them both!

Besides the few moments Parker gets creepy out of desperation, I felt sorry for him. I’m a huge fan of sleep. I need it, a lot of it. Going without it must majorly mess with your head. So I understood his desperation, but Parker makes some really bad decisions. Trust me, I was yelling at my Nook. But there is a lot going on with him and we only scratched the surface of it. Different threads of the story were left open for us to explore in the sequel, which is where I’m hoping we learn the ‘why’. Why does Parker have this ‘gift’? That is something we just don’t get enough answers on in the first installment of the series.

A pleasant surprise was the romantic interest. Not that romance was a huge aspect but Parker has a crush on his best friend’s sister, and her on him, and I thought it was cute how he was trying to avoid her because that’s not what friends do. You don’t date a friend’s sister. I assumed beforehand, perhaps, that the girl whose dreams he needed to watch, Mia, would be the love interest, but it was not the case and I like that it surprised me in that way.

Everything that was going on was really interesting and made it a bit exciting, but I wanted more. I wanted creepier dreams! I felt like every dream he saw was a memory and I don’t know about you guys, but that’s not what all my dreams are. I wanted weird and strange and to get my blood pumping. There are some darker dreams, but again, they ended up being memories and didn’t hold that thrill I was looking for.

On a whole, I did enjoy this read and would recommend it. I think those looking for a light thriller with mystery and suspense would enjoy Insomnia!

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

38 Responses to “Review: Insomnia by J. R. Johansson”

  1. Rachel

    Even with some of the bad decision made by Parker, I’m still excited to read this. I love mystery and suspense! Wonderful review. 🙂

  2. Tanja - Tanychy

    This really sounds freaky. I’m trying to imagine if someone did that to me, I probably wouldn’t sleep for a few days. Still this sounds like a great read full of mystery just the way I like them 🙂 Great review 🙂

  3. Renu

    I like that the love interest surprised you and that the romance doesn’t overshadow the plot. I love creepy/mystery books, so I am definitely going to look into this one. Great review!

  4. Andreea G.

    Sounds cool and I agree, creepy too. But then, I really like creepy stories so I might like this one. Thanks for the review.


  5. Lindy Gomez

    Great Review Sara!!!! This book sounds really good! I love books with mystery, suspense, and creepiness! This one sounds unique, and interesting to be able to see someone else’s dreams. I think that I’m going to have to give this one a shot! Thanks for sharing!

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

  6. Lisa (Lost in Literature)

    I was really hoping this one was going to be beyond “creeptastic” on the creep-o-meter. Glad to hear you enjoyed it! I hope to get to it soon… I could go for a good scary dreams book right about now. 🙂

  7. Christina

    Love what you said about the love interest! It’s always great when it turns out to be someone other than the obvious. 🙂

  8. Suzanne Paranormal Pages

    From reading your review, I thought Mia would become the love interest too. If this book leaves a lot of questions, I think I might wait and see what book 2 holds before I pick this one up. I’m a big fan of sleep too lol. Great review 🙂

  9. Born Bookish

    Such an interesting concept! It’s a little annoying that the cause of Parkers gift/condition/whatever you want to call it, is never explained. It always bothers me when stuff isn’t explained enough. Hopefully I can look past all that and still enjoy it. Great review =)

  10. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    Interesting! I totally thought the girl whose dreams he enters would be the love interest. I was always wondering why Mia seems to be the only one with such happy go lucky dreams. I mean everyone has good and bad dreams. This is an interesting concept and the mystery sounds good. I started it but just didn’t get sucked in right away so I’ll have to try it again.

  11. Becca

    I agree with pretty much everything you said. The strong parts definitely were in the creep-factor, but it was clear that all the answers were being left for the sequel.

  12. Aman

    Parker’s gift does sound very creepy, but I’m still interested in knowing more about it. I assumed Mia would be the obvious love interest, so it’s great to see that she wasn’t. I’m really looking forward to reading Insomnia. Great review, Sara!

  13. Lauren Elizabeth

    Even though I have a feeling I”d be shaking my fist at my Kindle too at some of Parker’s decisions, I am still intrigued by this and want to read it. I feel sorry for him, like you I highly value my sleep, and I think I’d be totally messed up without it. 🙂 Glad you had a good time with this, and I”m hopeful I will too. Lovely review!

  14. Kim

    It’s good that you enjoy this book. Personally, I didn’t enjoy this book that much. I thought the love tension was silly. Finn and him were good enough friends that if Parker said “I love your sister, can I date her?” Finn would’ve ben fine with it. Or at least open to thinking about it. Finn was a super nice character, so it didn’t make a lot of sense. And Parker was a good guy, so wouldn’t Finn want his sister with a good guy? I also wanted more creepy moments and some of the logic of his sleep deprivation didn’t work out for me. And the ending … I saw that coming from the time that perfect co-coach was introduced.

    • Sara @ Forever 17 Books

      As someone who had a crush on her friend’s brother when I was a teen, I was scared to say anything, but I totally would have it I was 100% sure the feelings were reciprocated. Maybe he’ll make his move next book. 🙂

  15. Sunny Duvall

    I love the sound of this book! I’ll have to excuse Parker, but everything else sounds great. I also will probably like the surprise as well of not having Mia as the love interest because I always think the two main ones should be, but it’s always great to mix things up. Thanks for the awesome review!

  16. starryeyedjen

    Ugh. I hate when I resort to yelling at a character in a book. I’ve heard this one starts off great but soon diverges from the greatness. Which is sad because I was really looking forward to it. Great review. I think I’ll still read it eventually, but I’m not in any hurry now. 🙁

  17. Leigh @ Little Book Star

    Darn, I was halfway through the book and I dropped it cause I was reading it from my iPhone & it was just TOO TINY to read! I reallllyyyy wanted to finish it but I have very sensitive eyes and I might need glasses in a couple of years. I’ll just wait for the paperback or something. haha glad you liked it though.

    Little Book Star

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