Sleepless by Cyn Balog

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

author’s website: website / blog
release date: July 13, 2010
appeals to: Young Adult
genre: Paranormal
length: 224 pages
publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
overall rating: 4.5 Stars

*the inside flap*
Eron DeMarchelle isn’t supposed to feel this connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce his human charges to sleep. Though he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn’t encouraged to do so. After all, becoming too involved in one human’s life could prevent him from helping others get their needed rest.
But he can’t deny that he feels something for Julia, a lonely girl with fiery red hair and sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. In the past, Eron has broken rules to protect Julia, but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can’t reach her. Eron’s time as a Sandman is coming to a close, and his replacement doesn’t seem to care about his charges. Worse, Julia is facing dangers she doesn’t recognize, and Eron, as he transitions back to being human, may be the only one who can save her. . . .
Even once they’ve become human again, Sandmen are forbidden to communicate with their charges. But Eron knows he won’t be able to forget Julia. Will he risk everything for a chance to be with the girl he loves?

*my review*
In a time when paranormal YA fiction is running rampant, this book was truly a fresh idea. I’ve read tons of stories about vampires, werewolves, fairies, etc. (and love the genre!!) but never a book about Sandmen. Not only was the paranormal “species” new to me, but the author herself was new to me, and I must say that I was very impressed!
In Sleepless, we meet Julia, a “normal” teenager who has just lost her boyfriend Griffin. While Julia puts up a strong front filled with sarcasm and constant verbal sparring (mostly with her friend Bret), her inner dialog makes it obvious to the reader that her hard exterior is just a façade, and she actually has some pretty big confidence issues. Throughout the book, Julia mentions and alludes to an event that happened to her when she was younger that seems to have supplied the confidence issues, but she never goes into the details of what happened.
In alternating chapters, we meet Eron, the Sandman responsible for aiding Julia’s sleep. He has been a Sandman for nearly 100 years, and it is obvious from his dialog and descriptions that he still holds the more “traditional” values. It is also pretty obvious that he is head over heals in love with Julia (at least, it was obvious to me!) Throughout the story, Eron is in the process of training his Sandman replacement so that he can rejoin the human world.
This story is full of emotion, and since the chapters alternate between Eron’s and Julia’s perspectives, the reader gets to experience the full range of emotion from both characters. Even though the novel is relatively short, I was very impressed by the way that this story unfolds. Cyn Balog creates a very realistic world and fills the story with details in a way that seems impossible with such a short page count. I was very satisfied with the ending, but could have kept reading for several chapters if they had existed! Overall, this was a great story that I’d definitely recommend for a fun, quick read, and I’m looking forward to more from Cyn Balog in the future!

*short and snappy*
writing
: Smooth to read and filled with details, but in a way that never feels heavy
plot: I thought it was predictable, but there were a few twists that changed my predictions drastically
characters: Julia and Eron are both likable, and fairly realistic, but Balog also creates a few characters that you love to hate
judging by the cover: The cover is quite simple and doesn’t allude to the plot at all, but it’s pretty

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