The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To – D.C. Pierson
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Summary: Darren Bennett is a social outcast who doesn’t really have any friends, until he meets Eric Lederer. The duo have a ton in common, especially as it relates to a shared love of science fiction and drawing, and facing high school seems much easier than it ever was before they met. There is, of course, a secret that Eric has been harboring: he doesn’t sleep at all. Will this secret remain between the two of them, or is something so odd bound to become public knowledge?
Review: Going into this, I hadn’t heard very much about this book, but I found the title really intriguing and decided to give it a try. Even though I had zero expectations for The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To, I was still left feeling disappointed at the conclusion of the book.
Perhaps it’s because I’m out of the target age bracket for this book, but I didn’t find it very funny at all, which is a shame because the synopsis on Goodreads indicated that it would be “hilarious.” While it didn’t do anything for me, I do, however, think that 11 to 14 year old boys would find this quite comical.
For me, both Darren and Eric were pretty flat characters, and I wish that more development was done in both cases. I really felt as if I should feel more sympathetic to both characters, especially as crazy things began to happen to them, but because I wasn’t given the chance to get inside their heads, I didn’t really care about their fates. This is especially true as it related to the love triangle between Darren, Eric, and Christine. While I knew I should feel compassion towards a certain character, especially because the other was being an unbelievably horrible friend, I didn’t feel much of anything at all.
Though there were elements of the book that I definitely didn’t like, there were also things that I really did. For one, the concept was incredibly cool and unique. Having battled with bouts of insomnia myself, I was curious to see where the author would take the plot, and it definitely went to some interesting places.
Eric didn’t have insomnia, though, which is what I had originally assumed; in fact, he couldn’t sleep at all. On the one hand, it seems like it would be pretty awesome to not need any sleep ever, as you’d have more hours in the day to do the things you want to do; however, there would always be that wish to feel “normal.” I don’t want to give too much away, but seeing how never being able to sleep affected Eric was definitely interesting, and when symptoms of what sleep deprivation can do to someone were taken into consideration, it made a lot of sense.
There were also some wonderful fantasy elements within the book that added to its uniqueness. The way fiction turned into reality was quite exciting, and I especially liked how this was handled with the drawings the characters created. I haven’t really read anything quite like this before, and it was nice to see such a fresh concept.
While this book didn’t quite work for me, fantasy fans, especially 11 to 14 year old boys, may really enjoy The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To.