Tammara's Reviews > The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To

The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To by D.C. Pierson
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May 30, 10

Read from May 05 to 29, 2010

I got this book from my HS son - we have different tastes in books, but he brings me the ones he thinks are literarily interesting, or just mind-blowing. This one is a bit of both. I've seen it called young adult, but he found it shelved in contemporary fiction at B&N. That said, I read lots of YA and this coming-of-age novel could definitely be boy-aimed YA.

I loved the gen-Y speak voice - ie run-on sentences, stream of consciousness, in the moment writing. If that sort of thing drives you nuts, it will bother you throughout, because that's Darren's voice, and he narrates the story. Darren is one of those kids who thinks deeply about everything, who is smart enough to stay unnoticed most of the time by his peers, because he understands that his geeky habits and way of thinking would make him into an outcast if he drew enough attention to be cast out. Then he meets Eric, a boy even more geeky than he is, a boy who speaks with odd, quiet confidence and shows genuine interest in what Darren is capable of.

Darren and Eric form a friendship I could feel. When a girl comes between them, their heartbreak - which seems to be about her - is really about the loss of their own relationship. The title of the book gives away the secret they share, which also becomes a catalyst for betrayal between them. Others have mentioned how Darren as a narrator seems utterly believable, and then at some point, he isn't. I agree with this, but I'm convinced Pierson did this puposefully. (This novel reminds me of Going Bovine by Libba Bray, though Bray keeps her hands tight on the reigns all the way to the end.)

I enjoyed this novel because it made me think, and because I was entranced by the characters - even Darren's drug-using older brother and his clueless father, who believes that asking the question, "Do you have your phone?" and receiving, "Yes" in reply is all he needs to do to make sure his kid is safe.
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