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I wrestle with insomnia so the title Sleepless jumped right off my sister’s shelf. When you can’t sleep, a very specific sort of dread comes on as night approaches. After a while I give up and try to ride it out. Sleepless by Cyn Balog did more than get me through a night. I was entertained and completely engrossed.

Love this cover!

It’s late one night when Griffin Colburn leaves his girlfriend’s house and falls asleep at the wheel. His girlfriend Julia doesn’t believe the news, in fact she cracks a joke when a local reporter calls for her reaction. Unlike heartless Julia and Griffin’s best friend Brett, the whole school is devastated by the news. Julia and Brett are shocked and sad, but unable to produce the river of tears expected of them. Julia’s already been scarred by one trauma, and Brett’s busy trying to fill Griffin’s shoes as Julia’s boyfriend.

You think this is a love triangle between Griffin, Julia and Brett with the twist being that Griffin’s dead, but Balog’s more fun than that. At night, Julia sleeps with Griffin’s picture cradled in her arms. Because of her sandman Eron, she’s sleeping better than ever. Eron doesn’t know she’s lost her beloved, but of all his charges he’s always paid special attention to Julia.

Now that he’s almost finished serving is 100 years, Eron is preparing to return to the land of the living. He’s told he has unfinished business and, while he’s not sure what that may be, he can’t wait to live again. All he has to do is finish training his replacement, a pesky fellow named Griffin.

Julia doesn’t know how lucky she’s had things with a sandman who will protect her regardless of the consequences. Turns out that Griffin isn’t very good at watching life move on without him. He haunts her dreams until she can no longer sleep through the night. As Griffin steps further from his boundaries, you question if Eron will put Julia’s life before the one he’s worked a century to have.

Poetic in parts, this is a much smaller story than I imagined. You spend as much time on the sandman side as with the living, but they are often on the outside looking in. We only learn what is absolutely necessary to understand the story. Since sandmen are so interesting, I would’ve been happen with some extraneous details, but that’s like craving fast food fat after a healthy gourmet meal.

This is a sweet, not so simple love story. I really enjoy the author’s writing, and finished wanting more. My only gripe is that as a fan of messy endings, this one tidies up a little too much.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but Cyn Balog! looks like it should always have an exclamation mark. Fantastic Book Review and Down the Rabbit Hole offer their thoughts on Sleepless.

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