ARC Review: Insomnia (The Night Walkers #1) by J.R. Johansson

ARC Review: Insomnia (The Night Walkers #1) by J.R. JohanssonInsomnia by J.R. Johansson
Series: The Night Walkers #1
Published by Flux on June 8, 2013
Genres: horror, thriller, young adult
Source: ARC from publisher
Buy it: AmazonAdd it: Goodreads
It’s been four years since I slept, and I suspect it is killing me.

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?

My thoughts:

I can sum this book up in one word:


I honestly thought this book was going to go in a completely different direction than it did. The fact that it didn’t? This is not a bad thing. Insomnia is the story of Parker Chipp – soccer all-star, everyday good guy, resident psycho. Ok, maybe he’s not psycho (debatable) but I don’t know how not because Parker is an insomniac. And he hasn’t slept in four years. He’s a Night Walker – he’s cursed to see and feel the dreams of the last person he makes eye contact with each day. Sometimes the dreams aren’t so bad. Other times they’re incredibly terrifying or painful. But they never, ever let Parker sleep.

Then he meets Mia. Mia’s dreams are different…and even though he’s there, conscious in her dreams, he finds he can fall asleep inside them. Suddenly, everything is different. Suddenly, Parker has a chance at life. And after four years of sleeplessness, after accepting that his fate was to die without ever really living, Parker will do anything – anything – to hang on to this hope.

Suspension of disbelief. You’ll need it, because HOW ELSE IS PARKER STILL FUNCTIONING LIKE A SEMI-NORMAL HUMAN BEING AFTER FOUR YEARS WITHOUT SLEEP??! I have severe insomnia – it was one of the things that drew me to this book. But I’ll be honest…it hasn’t been four years since I’ve had sleep. As a matter of fact, I’ve slept every night this week so far but I’m still struggling to act like something other than a zombie because all those nights I didn’t get much or any sleep? Yeah…the effects of that never fully go away. So I found it a little hard to believe that he was still functioning…attending school, playing soccer, hanging out with friends. Can I be a book character please? Because, seriously. I’M FALLING APART.

But uh, anyway. Parker has kept his secret for years, thinking no one would ever believe him if he seriously tried to tell them about his ability/curse. But when Mia comes along, all that changes too. Because someone is after her. And since Parker is being a complete weirdo psycho stalker creeper, people start to believe it’s him. Including his best friend, Finn, and Finn’s sister Addie. Mia’s feelings toward him go from mild annoyance to absolute terror and when that terror starts showing up in her dreams, Parker knows he has to do something. What he doesn’t know is if he believes in his own innocence.

Determined to figure out what’s going on with Mia, and what’s going on with himself in the process, Parker reveals his secret to Finn and Addie. With their help, Parker tries to convince Mia that she has nothing to fear from him. But when his plans continue to fail, he finds himself drowning in the darkest night he’s ever seen; full of secrets and horrors and terrible things that go bump in the night. Suddenly Parker’s life isn’t the only one at stake…and maybe Parker isn’t even who HE thought he was.

This book was an absolutely refreshing foray into the world of insomnia, psychosis, and terror. Johansson has a masterful way of drawing the reader in and making sure they can’t leave, even though they’re scared to death. There are so many great things in this book, twist and turns and questions – ALWAYS THE QUESTIONS. You’ll be left guessing, I’m just going to go ahead and spoil that for you. Don’t expect answers. Because J.R. is playing those cards close to the chest…and she’s not ready to reveal her hand yet.

Sadly, this makes for a complaint for me. I didn’t like the ending. There. There it is. I said it. I didn’t want to say it, but honesty is my policy and that ending grated on my nerves. The culprit was all wrong and there were so many questions left unanswered that I didn’t get that amazing adrenaline rush when I turned the last page. This made the book feel more like a long novella leading up to the actual story, which hasn’t been released yet. The good thing about this is that it’s very possible that Johansson won’t fall victim to the very contagious sophomore slump.

All in all a great debut from an amazing author. Plenty of action and adventure, mystery, comedy, and even romance. You don’t want to miss this one.

Just be sure you read it with the lights on.

Note: I was provided an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The book is set for publication on June 8, 2013. This review has also be posted on Amazon and Goodreads.


Tagged with:     ,

About the author /

Hi. My name is Shannon and I like books. And photography. And video games. I use this space to talk about books, review books, and generally participate in badassery.


  1. J.R. Johansson

    Fantastic review! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review Insomnia, Shannon! :)

    • Shannon

      Thank you Jenn! I’m so glad you stopped by to check it out! I am SO glad I was given the opportunity to read an ARC of this book – I’ve been in love with it since I saw the cover…and been stalking you ever since, of course…

      Let me scale back the creepiness and say thank you so much for featuring my review on your blog! I hope lots of people get to see it because I’m convinced everyone needs to read it. Thinking about giving my ARC copy away so someone else can enjoy.

      Also, I know I owe you an email. I haven’t forgotten, I promise! Much love and happiness for your upcoming release day!

  2. J.R. Johansson

    Haha, no creepiness involved. I’m just so happy you enjoyed it and really appreciate all the support you’ve given me. :)

    Much love back at you!

    • Shannon


  3. Wendy

    I don’t read thrillers very often but this one really sounds intriguing! I’ve also been seeing good things about it! When I read it, I’ll be sure to read during the day — I get creeped out easily!
    Wendy recently posted…Summer of Stand Alones Challenge – Intro PostMy Profile

    • Shannon

      I LOVE thrillers and horror and the like – I’m always griping about how I don’t think there’s enough of those genres in YA so I was VERY excited when I first found out about this book. It’s definitely a good one – I hope you enjoy it!

  4. Lectus

    I keep going back and forth with this book. I want to read it, then I don’t…. God! I need to make up my mind!

Speak Your Mind:

Behind the Curtain

Hi. My name is Shannon and I like books. And photography. And video games. I use this space to talk about books and particpate in badassery. You can read a bit more about my awesomeness and how Twilight Sleep came to be (the name has absolutely NOTHING to do with the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, contrary to popular belief) on the about page. :]

Grab my button!

Twilight Sleep

The Zombies Are Coming!

If you're ready for a zombie apocalypse, then you're ready for any emergency.

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: