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Review: Insomnia by J.R. Johansson

Friday, June 14, 2013


(The Night Walkers #1)
by J.R. Johansson

Genre: Paranormal, Thriller
Hardback: 336 Pages
Publication: June 8, 2013 by Flux


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?

◆ A copy was provided by Flux for review ◆

On the thriller side, I enjoyed this book considerably. Not so much for the mystery or the paranormal aspect. Considering the turn of events at the end of Insomnia, I expect to get more into these in book two.

Parker is a good kid at heart. However, he's desperate to live after finding the one person who could save his life, and despereate people do desperate things. He learns Mia's schedule and basically stalks her in order to ensure that her eyes are the last he sees every day. He's so obsessed with her that he loses control over other areas of life, including friends, soccer, and his reputation. I hated this side of Parker; at the same time, I understand that he's not ready to die yet, and I like how the book explores Parker's mentality as he falls into this downward spiral he's on.

I just wish that it spent more time on the outside world portraying the other characters and how Parker's life falls apart. I'd have especially appreciated seeing more of Mia and get to know her better since she plays such a pivotal role in the story. (Though, on the other hand, not showing more of her character highlights the fact that Parker doesn't care about her -- only the sweet relief her dreams bring him.) While I know that time passes, it still feels as though Parker loses everything in the span of a couple days.

The romance doesn't play a large role in the story, for which I'm grateful. I like a story that can stand on its own without the romance overtaking the plot, and I like how Parker's love interest isn't the new girl that has something to do with his abilities. He likes this sweet girl he's grown up with. I wish that she appeared more if only because she's known him for a long time and her reactions to him show us just how much Parker changes during his obsession phase with Mia. I also wish that Finn, Parker's best friend, showed up more. He's a funny guy and never fails to lighten the atmosphere.

The second half of the story is where things become more muddled. Part of it has to do with how muddled Parker becomes and the addition of Darkness into the equation. He doesn't know what he is anymore and begins to doubt his ability to control his life, and he doesn't trust himself to keep the people around him safe from him. Still, Parker's psychological state could have been better portrayed and the story better executed so that readers don't become confused along with Parker. I also feel as though there could have been a better resolution to the story, one that doesn't leave so many loose threads. A story shouldn't rely so much on the next installment to answer unresolved questions.

Still, I'm curious enough about Parker and his world that I'll probably give the next installment a shot. On the whole, I did enjoy this story, and the ending has me interested in finding out what happens next.


  1. Insomnia
Similar Books
  • A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger
  • Hushed by Kelley York
  • Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton
  • Psychotic symptoms
  • Stalking
  • Threats

6 comments on "Review: Insomnia by J.R. Johansson"
  1. This book is all over the Internet today. I was not aware that it was part of a series though. Worth a shot it seems, but I'm looking more for stand alones these days.

    1. Yeah, I thought that this was a standalone as well when I first saw it. It's worth a try if you enjoy a good thriller, but not if you don't have plans to read the rest of the series since there are some plotlines that aren't resolved at the end of Insomnia.

  2. I've been super excited about this book but everyone seems to be having the same problem with it! I may end up picking it up from the library but I don't think I'll buy it anymore. Being confused as a reader works if there's a purpose, but I don't think there's enough of one in this book to be worth the grief. Lovely review, Kris!

    1. Yeah, I recommend checking this out from the library. I think you'll enjoy reading this for the thriller side, but the other elements don't work in the book's favor. Thanks for stopping by, Julie!

  3. Great review! I like the paranormal aspect of this book and the fact that the main character is a boy, which isn't very common. ;)

    1. Thanks, Cali! The male MC aspect also drew me in. We could certainly use more of that in YA lit!


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