A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
Published by Candlewick Press
Sixteen-year-old Rosalinda Fitzroy is awoken from a sixty-two years-long sleep (known as stasis) when she is awoken to a world she knows nothing about. Her parents died during the horrific Dark Times, leaving Rose heiress to the biggest interplanetary empire that exists. But Rose is overwhelmed and terrified by the new world she finds herself in. She’s weak and frail from being in stasis for so long, and she doesn’t know who in her parents’ company she can actually trust. She finds herself falling for the boy who woke her up and becoming friends with the strange blue alien at her school, as he is an outcast just like Rose. She must adjust quickly to her new surroundings, though, because things are not what they seem and someone is searching for Rose with a deadly weapon – so she must uncover the mysteries of her past in order to move on with her future.
A Long, Long Sleep is novel constructed around a very interesting concept – the idea (inspired by Sleeping Beauty, according to Sheehan) that a person could literally sleep her entire life away and wake up to a whole different world – that, in my opinion, really delivered on this unique concept. This is a book that doesn’t fit neatly into one genre. It has aspects of science fiction, it is kind of dystopian, it is a twist on a fairy tale, it has a hint of romance… yet it all comes together seamlessly and really doesn’t need to fit into a specific genre to be successful.
The most compelling aspect of A Long, Long Sleep is Rose herself. She is a person who has been completely dependent upon her parents for her entire life, so to wake up to a world without them in it was shocking for her, to say the least. She was an interesting character because she had moments of feistyness and bravery and extreme intelligence, yet overall she was such a passive, compliant person because that’s who her parents raised her to be. So I quite enjoyed her journey over the course of the novel as she became the mature, independent, and spunky young adult/adult she should have been the whole time.
As far as the story itself and the world Sheehan created, I was definitely on board with everything. The story itself was believable and the world was not so out-there that it didn’t seem remotely possible. Possible in the very distant future, at least. The events toward the end of the novel shocked me and the ending definitely had me reeling. Let’s just say that Sheehan hooked me with this one and I was desperate to find out how it all turned out… and I loved what she did with the ending.
I read this novel as an audiobook and the narrator, Angela Dawe, is a voice I’ve heard before and really loved. She did an excellent job with A Long, Long Sleep and I can absolutely recommend experiencing this book in audio format.
One other thing – readers will be shocked to learn that this is NOT a trilogy! To be honest, this is one of the first YA books in a while that I’ve seen that doesn’t have a major cliffhanger ending because of a planned trilogy. Sheehan could definitely take this same world and characters and write another book, but there is a clear ending to this one. It was refreshing to see that, to say the least.
I enjoyed A Long, Long Sleep quite a bit. Definitely recommended!