Wendy Darling's Reviews > A Long, Long Sleep

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
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3.5 out of 5 stars It's rare that I spend so much time frustrated with a heroine and then have such a complete change of heart as the story progresses. I went through literally the first half of this book annoyed with Rosalinda Fitzroy, a sixteen-year-old girl who has just been awakened out of stasis sleep with a kiss. She doesn't really ask enough questions to find out what's been happening since she was last conscious. She falls in love far too easily. She narrates with too many exclamation points. She says that "she's not really that smart." She says that again to someone else at a later date. Frankly, all in all she's kind of wimpy, and as such, she almost got categorized that way on my virtual GoodReads bookshelf.

But then I found out why she does all this. And the reason behind it is really, really sad.

The story also seems to take off at that point, as Rose discovers the terrible truth behind her chemically-induced slumber and realizes that she not only has to stay awake, but she also has to live. This futuristic retelling of Sleeping Beauty would, on the surface, seem like it would be just another boy-awakens-pretty-girl-slays-dragons-and-lives-happily-ever-after tale, but that's not the case. Instead, it's actually a very interesting science fiction story about a girl who finally finds out who she is and starts to figure out who she wants to be.

Along the way, Rose deals with a complications including Bren, the attractive boy who awakened her from her sleep; her grief over the loss of her dead parents and her long-lost boyfriend Xavier; her stalled attempts to study art; her memories of her childhood ally, Asa; and her friendship with an unusually appealing, lonely alien named Otto. There's also a really cool killing thing that is chasing her for unknown reasons, the details of which I won't spoil, but whose every appearance made me sit up and do a happy little wriggle in my seat. I also really enjoyed the cool stasis technology and the action sequences that show up towards the end, all of which were very well written and well thought out.

I do wish, however, that some of the dialogue wasn't so clunky in parts, that there was more showing and less telling, that some of the world-building was a little more complex, and that some of the names weren't quite so cutesy. (Unicorn Estates, really?) It would also help if it didn't take us quite so long to get to the point where we understood why Rose's character took the shape it did. However understandable the big picture, it's hard to feel sympathy in the moment for a character who decides to go away for two weeks and opens up a bag of dog food on its side for her pet, saying that she knows he'll be able to drink out of the toilet. All because she's depressed over a boy. Not cool, Rose! Not cool at all.

In the end, however, the story won me over with a very original concept, some really cool futuristic technology, some fairly bittersweet emotions later in the story, and best of all, the promise of a heroine who is just developing into a pretty interesting individual. The author pulled off a neat trick with her risky gamble in presenting the story the way she did, and I enjoyed the last half of the book enough to be curious about whatever she chooses to write next.

This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
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Reading Progress

06/14/2011 page 1
0.0% "This is the second book I've read in a row that started out with kissing!"
06/14/2011 page 28
8.0% "Heroine to school counselor: "I'd work with tutors. But it might not help--I'm not very smart." Yiiiikkes." 5 comments
06/14/2011 page 106
30.0% ""Now she's told another person I'm not very smart." What is this?""
06/14/2011 page 148
42.0% "Rose, honey, you are really ticking me off."
06/14/2011 page 274
78.0% "Ooo. Okay, now things are really interesting." 5 comments

Comments (showing 1-47 of 47) (47 new)

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message 1: by Nic (new)

Nic Okay you have sold me I am going to give this a read. Great review :)

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) That's all very interesting, Wen, but are there any killer worms?

Wendy Darling Hah! Not a single killer worm to be had, Maja. Sorry about that.

I would temper my expectations, Nic, but I do think this one's worth a read.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Well, that's just wrong! There should be more killer worms in YA fiction. We should start a petition or something. ;)

Wendy Darling I would happily sign that petition. :)

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) In fact, today should be 'bring your killer worm to work' day. (view spoiler)

Wendy Darling Have you read this killer worm book yet? You might want to before you make such sweeping statements. Although they would come in handy for breaking up all those dull conference calls or meetings about meetings.

Vinaya Oh, I LOVED this book! So much that I've been pimping it shamelessly for months! It's very soft sci-fi, but I think the author did a fab job with the characterizations. So glad you liked it! :)

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Actually, the worse they are, the better. I was thinking of unleashing them on my students. :D

message 10: by Wendy Darling (last edited Jun 14, 2011 10:47PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Wendy Darling I did like it! Way more than I thought I would. To be honest, I kept thinking it was going to be a 2 star book for the longest time, then it crept up to 3 and then it finally settled in at 3.5 after everything came out.

By the way...in agreement with another reviewer, (view spoiler) Although I'm not quite sure how that would work.

message 11: by Chichipio (new)

Chichipio Hmmm… I don't think I could make it past the scene with the dog. I'm weird that way. I can tolerate the main character doing almost anything to another human, but animal cruelty is a deal breaker.

By the same token, someone killing the main character's best friend doesn't sadden me as much as when they kill their pet or animal companion.

Wendy Darling Oh Chichi, then you're going to want to stay far, far away from the book whose review I'm about to post. In the case of A Long, Long Sleep, it's more neglect than actual abuse. The cruelest thing she does to it is probably to name it Zavier.

message 13: by Nomes (new) - added it

Nomes LOL @ the exclamation points. haha. Jaclyn Moriarty uses them in her books and they are so completely brilliant ~ but in other books they feel so amateurish.

really thoughtful review wendy!

Wendy Darling Thanks Nomes! It's always a pleasant surprise when a book ends up taking a turn for the better rather than a turn for the worse, which seems to be more common.

message 15: by Nomes (new) - added it

Nomes i know (!) although i have gotten incredibly good at dropping books at the beginning. i used to try and stick it out (especially when my TBR was empty (!) but since finding goodreads i have SO many good books waiting for me :)

Wendy Darling since finding goodreads i have SO many good books waiting for me :)

Likewise! :)

Sandy Nice review, Wendy!

I loved the last half of this book, too. (view spoiler)

I think the author made Rose so weak and full of self-loathing at the beginning so we could see the effect of what's been done to her. The author did a nice job of awakening her throughout the book, and I came to really care about her. There's a REASON why she acts this way, and I feel hopeful about her decisions at the end that she can overcome what's happened to her.

(view spoiler)

Wendy Darling Thanks Sandy! I grew to care about this character, too, and I'm glad there was a reason why she was acting the way she was. I'm curious if there's a follow up book in the works, as there certainly seems to be more to this story that can be explored. But I do appreciate that the author wrote a strong ending that could stand on its own as well.

(view spoiler)

message 19: by Janina (new)

Janina Nomes wrote: "LOL @ the exclamation points. haha. Jaclyn Moriarty uses them in her books and they are so completely brilliant ~ but in other books they feel so amateurish."

Ah, I love Moriarty's - or should I say Em's? ;) - fondness for exclamation marks. It's just too funny in this very subtle way - although exclamtion marks are far from subtle ;). Best were the gothic essays in Dreaming of Amelia, lol.

Great review, Wendy, I think I'm going to pass on this. It just doesn't speak to me. Also, the dog thing? Total no-go for me. Although I'd like to meet the alien named Otto ;).

Wendy Darling Thanks Janina! And my, I have a thing about the overuse of exclamation points (!!) but if you both love this Moriarty person I may have to check her out.

I'd love to meet Otto, too. He's definitely the one I'd want to hang out with the most from this book.

message 21: by Janina (new)

Janina Hehe, you should. She's amazing. Also, she writes epistolary fiction, so all her books consist mainly of letters, emails, notes, ...

Not a fan of excessive use of exclamation marks, either, but with her it works because it's just this one character that uses them all the time, and it just fits her personality. It gives you a great idea of how she is (a little over the top) ... especially as you only get to see her through her letters and what her friends write about her.

Sandy Wendy: (view spoiler)

message 23: by Sandy (last edited Jun 15, 2011 12:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sandy Wendy, I was reading another review of this book just now (trying to remember Otto's girlfriend's name for my post above) when I came across a review Anna Sheehan commented on. Here's what she told the reviewer about why she wrote Rose the way she did:

You know, if you want to know what brought up Rose’s personality, it was actually a protest. I was getting unutterably sick of all the YA heroines out there who showed every symptom of being abuse victims. I figured — okay, if that is what’s selling, let me show you exactly what kind of upbringing CAUSES that kind of behavior. It isn’t pretty.
Your comments are all very constructive. Thank you for the review.

I found Sheehan's comments enlightening because it shows she wrote Rose this way on purpose--to show the effects of the abuse. To the reader, Rose is so weak at first, but Sheehan eventually shows us why. I would encourage those who read the beginning and think Rose is going to be another Luce or Bella to keep reading and not give up. Rose grew a lot during the last half of the book, and I loved seeing her determination at the end to overcome what's happened to her.

Wendy Darling Yes, after the reveal, I understood that the author had intentionally written Rose's character that way earlier in the novel. I would say that there were some ways to make her a little more sympathetic in the beginning, however, and I worry that readers may be too turned off by her weaknesses to continue. I nearly didn't, because in my opinion some of the dialogue and structure was a little rough in parts, too. The writing got much stronger, though, and I agree that that final paragraph was very good.

It's so interesting the author seems to be headed into (view spoiler) A bold and unusual choice. I would be really interested in how that is portrayed if the story continues.

message 25: by Nomes (new) - added it

Nomes okay ~ derailing back to JACLYN MORIARTY

she is my #1 fave author IN THE WORLD

(just beats Melina Marchetta by the tiniest smidgen)

I recommend reading: The Year of Secret Assignments (Ashbury/Brookfield, #2) by Jaclyn Moriarty first ~ which is the same book, diff edition of: Finding Cassie Crazy by Jaclyn Moriarty (so choose either title and pick your fave cover ;)

Sandy Nomes, I've always wanted to read The Year of Secret Assignments, but Goodreads calls it Book #2 of a series. Do I need to read the first one before I read Secret Assignments?

message 27: by Nomes (new) - added it

Nomes no ~ it's more a companion book ~ as in set in the same high school THAT'S IT. completely brand new bunch of characters.

it is the one of hers that i read first :)

you can read all four books in any order ~ but i think you get more out of #4 ( The Ghosts of Ashbury High (Ashbury/Brookfield, #4) by Jaclyn Moriarty Dreaming of Amelia by Jaclyn Moriarty same book ~ diff cover/title) if you've read #2 first. having said that, i know people who just read #4 first and still loved it ...

message 28: by Aleeeeeza (new) - added it

Aleeeeeza too many exclamation? oh God, i HATE THAT! also, instalove is pretty annoying too. but i have this one on netgalley so i'll probably be reading it soon

also: i want to read jaclyn moriarty's books so bad! they sound totally like my thing. but i just havent been able to get my hands on them :(

Sandy Thanks, Nomes! I'm definitely going to read it now.

Wendy Darling Aleeza, that Nomes is the master of taunting us with delicious Aussie YA titles we can't have. (Although I'm happy to say Secret Assignments is available for those of us in the U.S., yay!) Thanks for the recommendations, Nomes. :)

The overuse of exclamation points popped up only sporadically in A Long, Long Sleep, by the way, but it happened enough that I noticed them. I've seen worse.

message 31: by Nomes (new) - added it

Nomes <3

you guys will love Jaclyn. she is my fave EVERYTHING :D

message 32: by Milly (new)

Milly Nomes wrote: "<3

you guys will love Jaclyn. she is my fave EVERYTHING :D"

Coming from you Nomes, I'll definitely read these books! I haven't read any of hers but I'll definitely for sure try them now!

message 33: by Milly (new)

Milly Wendy, you got me really intrigued with this one. Wonderful review! Looking forward to this one!

Wendy Darling I hope you like it, Milly! It's an interesting read, and worth sticking out in my opinion. :)

message 35: by Milly (new)

Milly Wendy Darling wrote: "I hope you like it, Milly! It's an interesting read, and worth sticking out in my opinion. :)"

Well then, I will for sure read it! :)

Katie(babs) I'm reading this one now and my heart breaks for Rose. I hope the ending isn't too heartbreaking and I can't wait to find out what happens with Xavier.

Wendy Darling There's definitely some sadness (as there is throughout the whole book) but I think you'll be happy with the ending, Katie. Look forward to your review!

message 38: by oliviasbooks (last edited Oct 05, 2011 12:35AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

oliviasbooks Maybe the "corn" from Unicorn is a reference to the genetically altered corn the firm was selling in the beginning?

Wendy Darling Hm, I never thought of that, olivia! So would that be...One Corn Estates? Hee.

I keep wanting to call you "piglet," btw. Because of your name. :)

message 40: by oliviasbooks (last edited Oct 05, 2011 04:32AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

oliviasbooks No problem. Piglets are cute - especially that adorable hyperactive one.

Wendy Darling Oh well, if I have permission to do it, I'm going to do it! As long as you know I'm smiling when I call you that.

I love Piglet, too. I actually am very fond of pigs in general, perhaps excessively so, both real ones (I watched pig races with great enthusiasm at our county fair last year) and imagined. There are pigs in every room in this apartment, including in the kitchen:

I really want a teacup pig someday. :(

Kaelie Your review convinced me to keep going on this book when I was ready to throw in the towel. :)

Wendy Darling I'm so glad. :) Hope you end up enjoying it, Kaelie--I did a total U-turn in my opinion!

Megan Wendy, I also found the beginning of this story painful to read. In fact, I nearly gave up on it. You're right though, once we learn the reasons for Rose's behavior and thoughts it is heartbreaking and I liked her a little bit better.

Since Rose discovered (view spoiler) I wonder if this will be turned into a series?

Wendy Darling Yes, I hear there's definitely going to be a sequel, Megan! Although there hasn't been an announcement about dates and such yet.

message 46: by Liyana (new)

Liyana Agreed on all points! I'm reminded of how much I enjoyed the book.

Wendy Darling Yay, I'm glad you enjoyed it, Liyana! :)

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