The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To is told from the perspective of Darren Bennet. Darren is a sixteen year old boy whose dream is to create a series of films and novels based on a futuristic world of his own invention. One day, he is drawing in class when a strange boy named Eric Lederer asks about his drawings and becomes interested in the world created by Darren.
After weeks of sleepovers, hanging out, video game duels, and brainstorming to expand and improve the imaginary world, Eric reveals that he physically can’t sleep. Darren is incredulous at first, but then realizes that if Eric can exist, there is so much potential for other things thought to be fictional. Although their relationship continues after the revelation, they eventually stop being friends because of a fight over a girl. Out of anger, Darren tells someone about Eric’s secret, leading to a search for Eric by an unknown organization and the adventure of a lifetime.
The pacing of The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep was weird in both a good and a bad way. The majority of the novel is about the meeting of the two boys, their relationship, the evolution of their fictional world, and their everyday lives. Even though not much plot happened during this portion, I still enjoyed it. My normal reaction to slow, stagnant passages in novels is boredom, but I was oddly engaged with their lives. It read more as a peek into a real teenager’s life than a science fiction/fantasy novel. The only weird thing in it was Eric’s inability to sleep. I had some similar likes to the two boys, which made me easily relate to them. I liked Eric and Darren and grew concerned when they were pursued by obviously malicious forces.
At this point, the novel went somewhat downhill. I felt it could have been extended a hundred pages or more without dragging to properly explore an added perk to Eric’s condition. In comparison with the previous portion, this part felt rushed and underdeveloped. I would have loved to read more and delve deeper into Eric and Darren’s adventures. The closing pages were poignant and I both hated and loved them, which is the mark of a complex, meaningful novel.
The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep was really funny and a blast to read. It had its flaws, but at its core was a wonderful journey with a couple of unlikely heroes.
Elizabeth is a student at Cal State Long Beach. She laughs a lot, loves cats, and lives for music and books. You can read visit her blog at http://titania86-fishmuffins.blogspot.com/.
This book was provided free of any obligation by Vintage. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.