Author: Louise Mumford
Date of publication: 10 DECEMBER 2020
Format reviewed: NetGalley e-ARC
Number of pages: 384
Don’t close your eyes. Don’t fall asleep. Don’t let them in.
Thea is an insomniac; she hasn’t slept more than three hours a night for years.
So when an ad for a sleep trial that promises to change her life pops up on her phone, Thea knows this is her last chance at finding any kind of normal life.
Soon Thea’s sleeping for longer than she has in a decade, and awakes feeling transformed. So much so that at first she’s willing to overlook the oddities of the trial – the lack of any phone signal; the way she can’t leave her bedroom without permission; the fact that all her personal possessions are locked away, even her shoes.
But it soon becomes clear that the trial doesn’t just want to help Thea sleep. It wants to control her sleep…
When I caught sight of Sleepless, I knew this book was for me. Sleep is my frenemy. On Facebook, our relationship status would be “It’s complicated”. I immediately thought the book had been written for me: sleep at its heart, categorized as a thriller, and an intriguing blurb. This was a no-brainer.
Did Sleepless deliver?
It did more than that!
The striking opening felt both like a slow-motion movie and a powerful and quick bounce on a wall. Thea has never been able to sleep properly. She’s lucky if she gets an hour of sleep per night. Or day. We’ve all experienced the lack of sleep, the state of feeling under water, as if every little task was too much. The bright light, the loud sounds, the headache. Thea lives with all of this every day. She’s found a way to cope, or at least, she thought she had, until an accident forces her to look for help on uncharted territories.
Sleep, and more generally how our brain works, is fascinating and Louise Mumford totally nailed both the account of what a lack of sleep can do to us and how to explain it in normal people’s way as well as in a more scientific way. No, there are no intricate talks with medical blabla in Sleepless. Instead, the author took a big lens and focused it on a bunch of people who couldn’t close their eyes for different reasons. Then she gave them a solution. And the rest is… Sleepless!
Thea decides to trust an app and become part of a trial that pledges to ‘mend’ those bad sleeping patterns. She ends up away from her mother, robbed of everything she knows and thrown on an island with strangers suffering from the same kind of issues. Would you make the same choice? Well, after reading this book, my answer is no. I’m gonna befriend insomnia and welcome it when it visits!!! Louise Mumford anchored all of her characters in reality, kept their eyes open, and drew their nightmares in. Isn’t this scary??
Well, there are more than one kind of nightmares in this book. With a bunch of scientists gathering data about you, then trying their magic on you, you can ask yourself who ever thought about doing this. An insomniac? A genius? Yes, there is work to be done to help people, and there is so much we don’t know about the brain, but that’s where it hurts. We don’t know, and we won’t, if we don’t poke and try and get answers. But for that you need guinea pigs. And we all know how science develops. Lots of wrong answers before you get the right one. I loved the human and… less human sides of motivations and stories explored in the book.
Sleepless is like sleep, it is made of different phases: Thea, our main character and the driving force behind the book, human relationships, the scientific research, the mystery surrounding the company and the app, and sleep itself.
I read this book jumping from one scene to the other, just like in a dream; with only a gold string keeping everything attached. ‘Thea can’t sleep’ became ‘Thea embarks on a crazy thing’, then I got to meet new characters, like Rosie, and each of them added colors to the black and white journey of the sleep-deprived. Questions popped up. The genius in this book is that those questions don’t all revolve around sleep. What drives people to use others? What about conspiracies and big companies? Do you believe in ghosts? Can you trust what you see? Can you trust yourself? Sleepless took me on different paths with outstanding landscapes and reminded me you don’t need to sleep for the monsters and nightmares to get to you.
Now, if I could, I’d like to let Louise Mumford know that I need MORE. Call it Restless, and give us thrills and chills again, and answers! Pretty please! The ending left me breathless, almost as if I’d just woken up in the middle of the night, hands tightened around my sheet. Was it real? Was it all? Is this the end? What do I do now?
I recommend Sleepless to all of us battling with sleep, but also to everyone who loves an intricate thriller which majestically knits a tight and suffocating plot about how the suffering of some can be used for… the greater good… until it goes wrong.
This book is insane and freaky, it’s good and addictive, and right at all the right places!
Grab your copy!
Amazon (the ebook is 99p at the time this post is published!)
My thanks to HQ for having me on the tour and for providing me with an e-copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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