title ♡ sleeper
author ♡ mackenzie cadenhead
genre ♡ young adult; science fiction
pages ♡ 272
publisher ♡ sourcebooks FIRE
series ♡ none
release date ♡ august 1, 2017
♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ [ 4 out of 5 ]
As if surviving high school wasn’t hard enough, Sarah Reyes suffers from REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, a parasomnia that causes her to physically act out her dreams. When she almost snaps her friend’s neck at a sleepover, Sarah and her nocturnal habits are thrust into the spotlight and she becomes a social pariah, complete with public humiliation.
When an experimental drug comes onto the market that promises nighttime normalcy, Sarah agrees to participate in the trial. At first, she seems to be cured. Then the side effects kick in. Why does a guy from her nightmare show up at school? Are the eerily similar dreams she’s sharing with her classmates’ coincidence or of her making? Is she losing her mind or does this drug offer way more than sleep?
Admittedly, I have not been in the reading state-of-mind since before Christmas now. So Sleeper had a lot to live up to in order to bring me out of the reading rut I’ve been in for so long. I must admit, this book was definitely out of my comfort zone. However, the fact I have finished the book – something I have not done for a while – is an achievement on its own. Perhaps I could describe Sleeper as interesting. Yes, let’s start with interesting.
In other words, don’t be an idiot like me.
What I adored about Sleeper was the sheer thrill of the whole story. The wonderful concept of a drug which enhances Sarah’s REM Sleep Behaviour Order was absolutely brilliant – and truly original. Pitched as a combination of Inception and Heathers (both things I haven’t got a bloody clue on), the book was a pleasant retreat away from the modern YA literature based around romantic adolescent adventures. Sleeper is gripping. The first chapter is a hook, and like a fish on a line, you are sold into what is going on. If you’ve read my previous reviews, you’ll understand this is something I adore in literature.
I would also like to shine a line on the tone of the novel. It was an incredibly easy read, and had it not been I probably would have struggled to read it all the way to the end. Despite having no communication with books over the past four months, I kept to my usual time of six to seven hours. There was no difficulty in reading it, making it a perfect read to give to a younger, more mature reader. Sleeper is also incredibly fast-paced. I like that. MacKenzie Cadenhead did not drag out any part of the book, and all chapters were relevant and interesting to read. This is a rare trait to find within a story, as there is so much emphasis on the building up on specific events.
”I mean it, Sarah. This is way better than a sex tape.”
Ah, that wonderful point in my review where I can mention characters. Sarah is ultimately a flawed character. I had a deep sympathy for her at the beginning of the story – partly because she has absolutely no control over her actions or the consequences. But as the story developed and she found power, the consumption turned her into a creature which did sicken me. Her actions were despicable, no matter how much they could be justified. The world would be a horrible place if we lived by the idea of ‘an eye for an eye’. I’m hoping that Ms Cadenhead was going for this affect. Of course, every character in the wrong seeks redemption, but I found it hard to award it considering her foolishness and behaviour.
Wes was a much harder pill to swallow – and yet, was a refreshing addition to the plot. There is a very British swear word I would love to use in describing Wes. But I’m above that, at least orally. The bad vibes were incredibly strong – intention, I know. And while I really, really, didn’t like Wes, it was nice to see the main guy not seen as some kind of hero. His flaws are laid out on the table, and are tackled quite maturely. Hats off Ms Cadenhead!
I want to know the instant he comes back to life. Because sooner or later, he will.
Summarising Sleeper, it was definitely an odd book. It has pulled me from my hangover (both book and physical) and has surprisingly given me a lot to consider. While I still feel quite unsure as to whether this was a book for me, I do still feel it deserves high praise.
♡ ♡ ♡ ♡
“Nothing gets fully addressed in this book and most things just get glazed over and not mentioned again unless it is to cause some form of emotional trauma to get the victim to comply.”Reading With Wrin
“Other readers may believe this to be “triggering” due to the nature of the contents.”CC @ Charmed Book Haven Reviews
“Sarah and her new love interest are despicable on so many levels, and neither one has the charisma or character development to pull off the evil villain vibe while remaining interesting.”Michelle @ That’s What She Read