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A Long, Long sleep by Anna Sheehan A Long, Long Sleep (2011) by Anna Sheehan Hardcover Edition
Publisher: Candlewick Press

buy a copy via Amazon.

synopsis via Goodreads.

It should have been a short suspended-animation sleep. But this time Rose wakes up to find her past is long gone– and her future full of peril.

Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten subbasement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long gone, and Rose– hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire– is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat.Ā 

Okay, NOW I see why this was on a blog’s Top Books of 2011 list. In many ways, THIS was the YA novel I have been waiting to read. I don’t mean I was awaiting its release or anything, but I have been waiting for that book that had a deeper message aside from “I love you, and you love me, we are only 15, but we love each other for all eternity.” A Long, Long Sleep is the book that encompasses all the wonderful things in YA literature and fuses them into so much more. It is a book that leaves you pondering long after the last page is turned.

With all these fairytale re-tellings floating around, why do I never see this book mentioned? If you didn’t guess from the title, it’s a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty, but not really. There’s no prince in shining armor for Rose Fitzroy. I initially delved in expecting YA’s trends: love triangles, dystopian societies, a fighter of a heroine. And there are snippets of each, but that’s not the focus. The focus is in the characters, the way they develop and overcome flaws–they way they aren’t perfect, even annoying at times, but very much believable. While it is a light read, it also touches upon deeper, more poignant themes such as child abuse (don’t worry, it has nothing to do with hitting children, but it might be worse), parental influence, and addiction.

Reading A Long, Long Sleep is like tearing off layers upon layers of wrapping paper from a Christmas present, you grow excited with each new layer revealed…and the end leaves you surprised. I mean it in the best possible way. Just when you thought you grasped finally grasped it–you realize you don’t. Nothing is predictable here. Nothing. After eighteen years of living, I thought I read it all. Boy, did Anna Sheehan prove me wrong.

Rose Fitzroy, the “princess” of UniCorp (aka. the company that pretty much owns everything) awakes after being “kissed” by a young, handsome guy named Brendan. She realizes that its been sixty-two years since she slept and the entire whole world has changed. Everyone she knew is dead and she has to deal with it. Her former boyfriend is gone and her new prince is only nice to her because he has to. Along the way, Rose finds out sleep (called “stasis”) is not as wonderful as she once thought, and why she was put to sleep in the first place. To top it off, someone–no, something–wants her dead.

Sheehan doesn’t leap into explanations–instead she let’s the story unravel itself, connecting the past and present seamlessly. Romance: For a YA novel…and a Sleeping Beauty re-telling, there’s not much romance. I am not big on reading about people smooshing their ravenous mouths together and declaring eternal love at 16 anyway, so I loved it. If you are looking for a love triangle, there isn’t one (though she has quite a few love interests.) But it was refreshing. Finally, I see a protagonist can actually live without a prince in shining armor. SPOILER: Finally, a rejection. Hallelujah.

Pace and Writing:
The novel drags in the beginning, and things don’t really pick up until the middle. But once you get to the middle, you should be fine. It took me awhile to finish this book, I kept putting it down–not because I didn’t like it but the prose was just slower than I liked. But then again, I also kept putting the book down to absorb what I just read. If you are looking for a action-packed thriller, this isn’t your book. The pace is what’s stopping the book from getting a higher rating. Writing is beautiful. It is not flowery, but it blooms into vivid imagery. Sheehan knows when to use metaphors, and not drown you in them. Makes me think she must’ve put herself in stasis. Setting For a sci-fi novel, aside from the technology and slight language changes…not much is different. I am still trying to find out what the “new words” translate to. They keep saying “coit”–at one point I thought that was a name.

Characters:
Sheehan definitely knows how to shape her characters. Now this is how characters are supposed to be: multi-facted, slightly flawed, but also likable. I am usually furious with whiny, damsel in distress, but maybe it’s because Rose is just so…pitiful. She is an observer and an artist. She doesn’t ask for anything, and she wanders aimlessly in the new world she’s found herself in. She is not a fighter and much rather just hide in bed than face her problems–hoping that if she’d only sleep long enough, her problems will fade along with time. One day, she is forced to face her fears–and it makes her stronger. I can see why people don’t like her reserved attitude though.

One of the biggest reliefs is the guys are not love-crazy! They are actually realistic and have emotions aside from sex drives! And all characters either redeem themselves in some way, or end up dead. The real “bad people” is quite a shocker, totally beyond my expectations.

Sci-fi:
Not much sci-fi here, but a few gadgets really.
There are genetically made aliens (don’t worry, he’s nice), and zombie/robots. I told you this book had everything wonderful from YA. I swear the only thing missing are vampires and werewolves.

Questions:

A decades old robot has more technology and intelligence than half the police force?
How in the world can you win a prestigious scholarship, and go missing without anyone caring?

A very delightful read–and I daresay one of the best YA novels I’ve read. (Just don’t go in expecting an elaborate sci-fi thriller) I kept saying to myself while reading “Damn, people need to learn how to construct a story from this woman!” It’s a book I would love to recommend, but maybe not to impatient readers. What are you waiting for? It even has a nice cover.

I need another Sheehan novel, pronto.

Rating: A-

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