Review: Insomnia by J.R. Johansson

July 15, 2013 4 - 4.5 Stars, J.R. Johannson, Male POV, Mystery 9 ★★★★

Insomnia by J.R. Johansson
Series: The Night Walkers # 1
Published by Flux on June 8, 2013
Genres: Mystery/Thriller
Pages: 351
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Her eyes saved his life.
Her dreams released his darkness.

After four years of sleeplessness, high school junior Parker Chipp can't take much more. Every night, instead of sleeping, he enters the dreams of the last person he's made eye contact with. If he doesn't sleep soon, Parker will die.

Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. But what starts out as a chance meeting turns into an obsession; Parker's furious desire for what he needs pushes him to extremes he never thought he'd go. And when someone begins to terrorizing Mia with twisted death threats, Parker's memory blackouts leave him doubting his own innocence.
The story of Insomnia is one of the more unique I’ve come across.  Parker is haunted by other people’s nightmares.  Each night, he enters into the dream (or nightmare) of the last person he saw that day.  He fears being viewed as crazy, so Parker keeps his ability hidden, even as his physical and mental well-beings deteriorate.

Everything changes the day he meets Mia.  That night, for the first time in four years, Parker is able to fully sleep.  Parker becomes an addict, seeking out Mia every day for the chance to look in her eyes so that he may have a restful sleep.  But Mia’s plagued by nightmares, and Parker soon learns that she has tragedy in her past and that she’s currently the victim of an unknown stalker.  As Parker becomes increasingly intent to look into Mia’s eyes each day, Mia and others begin to wonder if Parker is her stalker.  By the way, bravo to an author who depicts stalking as the awful crime that it is, and not as a demonstration of love.  (I can’t believe it’s necessary to type that!)  No one is going to mistake Parker’s behavior for anything other than frightening, and possibly criminal, behavior, but Johnansson keeps him sympathetic.  Really, he did not have a lot of options.

It’s not only Mia who questions Parker’s intentions.  His best friend, Finn, and Finn’s sister, Addie, begin to wonder if Parker is cracking.  Parker has a bit of a spark with Addie, but he’s not helping his case as a possible boyfriend with his possible stalking of Mia.  The love triangle with the two girls is nicely done.  It didn’t feel forced or contrived, and I could see Parker with either one of the girls.  And THAT is how a love triangle should be done!

The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the final confrontation with the villain.  The villain delivers a speech explaining his/her motivations that had too much of that mustache-twirling feel.  But the ending leaves lots of great possibilities for a sequel, and Johansson has given us a great debut novel.

Check out my interview with J.R. Johansson.

Note: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review posted at Goodreads.


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

  1. Kay

    Yes please! This book sounds really good and I love that you couldn’t believe you had to mention that the book shows that stalking is bad, true story. Great review!

  2. Kim

    This wasn’t my favorite book :/
    I was really looking forward to it but I felt let down. The tension between Parker/Addie didn’t make sense to me. Sure, Finn said he’d hate it if one of his friends tried to date his sister, but Finn and Parker are best friends and (after Parker explains things and it’s clear he’s not crazy) Finn knows Parker’s a good guy. All it took was an honest discussion, and the ever-so nice Finn would’ve understood. Aside from that needless drama, I agree that the love triangle aspect was well done. It was natural and not played up.
    I would’ve really liked it ten times more if not for the way it ended. I guessed who did it from the start (literally thought, if this is going to be a cop out ending, it’s going to be him … then it was). The whole explanation thing was a bit annoying and I really, really want a villain that’s understandable and not just complete scum, you know? They seem to come out of nowhere and be really crazy in a lot of YA mysteries.

    BUT the concept was extremely unique, the writing was good, and Johansson did an amazing job at setting the atmosphere. I just wish it ended differently.

  3. alotlikedreaming

    I love your review! I also found this novel really well done, especially Parker (god, he’s so creepy sometimes!) And the romance in Insomnia is fun, and really smooth. I can’t wait for the next book!

  4. Kristen Williams

    I 100% agree about the ending. that fell flat to me as well. I never like it when the villain explains their motives…we should be shown through-out the book imo. But, as you said, it was a well done debut and I will be reading the next book 🙂

    My Friends Are Fiction

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