I deal with occasional bouts of insomnia, and I’m currently in the middle of one. So here I am, in the middle of the night, looking for books about sleeping and sleeplessness.
Here are five that I’m planning on picking up:
Along for the Ride, by Sarah Dessen
This is my go-to book about insomnia. It’s also, hands down, my favorite Sarah Dessen book, which is a high bar to hit. It’s about family and friendship—particularly about female friendship—and it’s about the evolution of perspective. It’s about learning to actually take part in life instead of going through the motions, it’s about new experiences and it’s about giving people a chance. It’s about letting people in, about re-evaluating assumptions and first impressions, and it’s about how the world can be an entirely different place at night. And yes, there’s a romance—but for me, the joy in this one is seeing Auden fall in love with a whole group of friends, not just with Eli. Based on that gush-fest, I’d say that it’s definitely time for a re-read.
Up All Night: A Short Story Collection, edited by Peter Abrahams
Short stories are a good fit when I’m having trouble sleeping—sometimes just reading one or two is enough to distract my brain, to trip it out of the whirring loop of thoughts and anxieties. This is a collection of stories that all deal with life-changing nights, so that seems appropriate, right? There are stories by Libba Bray, Gene Luen Yang, and David Levithan, among others, and, according to the Kirkus review, there isn’t a weak one in the bunch.
The Unstoppable Octobia May, by Sharon Flake
I admit it—the moment I saw the cover on this one, I wanted it in my hands immediately. And I also admit that neither sleep nor sleeplessness is a huge part of this story. But… again, THE COVER! I am a total sucker for historical mysteries, and I am even MORE of a sucker for historical mysteries for the middle grade crowd. This one is set in 1953, and stars 10-year-old Octobia May, who is convinced that a man in her aunt’s boarding house is a VAMPIRE.
The Darkest Part of the Forest, by Holly Black
I’ve been meaning to read this one for ages, and now that I have what feels like ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD—it’s so strange how nights seem endless when you can’t sleep, isn’t it?—maybe tonight will be the night. Appropriately enough, it involves a horned boy who has been sleeping in a glass coffin for years and years, and what happens after he wakes up. It’s been quite a while since I’ve read anything fae-related, and I’m realizing that I miss it.
Althea and Oliver, by Cristina Moracho
This was a darling of 2014—it inspired rave after rave after rave—and I’ve still yet to read it. It’s about Althea and Oliver, best friends since forever who are verging on more, and it’s about possibly bad choices and guilt and forgiveness and a medical study and a road trip. Why’s it on the list? Because Oliver has an undiagnosed medical condition that causes him to fall asleep for days and weeks at a time.
If you’ve got more to recommend, let me know—I’ve got lots of time to fill.
In addition to running a library in rural Maine, Leila Roy blogs at Bookshelves of Doom, is currently serving on the Amelia Bloomer Project committee, is a contributor at Book Riot, hangs out on Twitter a lot—possibly too much—and watches a shocking amount of television. Her cat is a murderer.