Author: Cyn Balog
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: July 13th, 2010
Eron DeMarchelle isn't supposed to feel this connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce his human charges to sleep. Though he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to do so. After all, becoming too involved in one human's life could prevent him from helping others get their needed rest.
But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia, a lonely girl with fiery red hair and sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. In the past, Eron has broken rules to protect Julia, but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can't reach her. Eron's time as a Sandman is coming to a close, and his replacement doesn't seem to care about his charges. Worse, Julia is facing dangers she doesn't recognize, and Eron, as he transitions back to being human, may be the only one who can save her....
Even once they've become human again, Sandmen are forbidden to communicate with their charges. But Eron knows he won't be able to forget Julia. Will he risk everything for a chance to be with the girl he loves?
Delightful, original, and occasionally heartbreaking, Sleepless is a YA paranormal romance with a twist.
Eron DeMarchelle is a sandman. For nearly a hundred years, his job is to lure women into sleep. But he begins to feel a connection with one of his charges, Julia, who is grieving the loss of her boyfriend. But Sandmen are forbidden to communicate with their charges, and with Julia in potential danger and the odds against him, what will Eron do for the girl he loves and knows better than anyone else?
The concept of Sandmen is pretty much unheard of in YA, and I love how this book delved into it. It's a pleasant change from the expected vampires and werewolves (nothing against them both, but it's nice to read something different every once in a while), so it enables readers to broaden their knowledge on paranormal YA fiction. Balog also reinforces the entire idea with concrete Sandman mythology, and she gives a reader a clear picture of exactly what they are and how they work, so though it's something new, it's not confusing.
Balog's writing is also a winning aspect of this novel. It's told in the alternating points of view of Eron and Julia, two individuals who cannot be any more different not only in their ways of thinking but also their generations. Eron was a teenager a hundred years before Julia so his mannerisms and vocabulary an entirely different story, but still the narration comes out as believable and the shift from one character to another is smooth.
Julia and Eron are fantastic protagonists. They have differences and similarities, and together they just work. Griffin also plays an interesting and instrumental role of the deceased boyfriend who can't move on. A smug character who couldn't take anything seriously when he was alive, he takes his brutish yet at times humorous attitude with him even after his death, never failing to stir things up. I was really happy with how the story progressed, and though I think the romance could have been emphasized more, it was a pleasing read for me. There were highs and lows, a curveball thrown here and there, but ultimately, it all works out and forms one undeniably enjoyable novel.
Sleepless is a novel with an originality on a league of its own, and I'm certainly glad I read it. This was my first attempt at reading Balog's writing, and it won't be my last. Her talent and ability to weave together an intricate, heartfelt story struck a chord with me, and I'll definitely be picking up her other novels.