Author: Anna Sheehan. Release date: 2011. Publisher: Candlewick Press. ISBN: 9780763652601.
Personal thoughts: I’m just going to come right out and say that when I first read the book jacket I thought that this novel was going to be a rip-off of the Across the Universe series by Beth Nevis. After reading it, however, I am pleased to say that I was completely wrong! Although both novels have the stasis concept in common, that is their only similarity. A Long, Long Sleep is very original and thought-provoking in its own unique ways. I really liked the Rose character and found myself sympathizing with her situation quite a bit more than I usually do. I also really liked Anna Sheehan’s quiet but expressive writing style. I look forward to seeing what else she comes up with and hope that a sequel to A Long, Long Sleep is in the works!
Plot summary: Sixteen-year-old Rose Fitzroy is used to being in stasis: her parents run the most powerful corporation in the world and Rose finds comfort in her stasis tube which allows her to sleep through their absences for months, even years on end. One day, however, Rose comes out of stasis to find herself being kissed by a handsome but unfamiliar boy. Rose soon learns that she has been asleep for sixty-two years, and is horrified when she realizes that she slept through the Dark Times: an era of plagues, death and devastation that wiped out her parents and her boyfriend, Xavier. Even more startling, Rose is informed that, as the sole survivor of her family, she is now the owner of her parents’ company, UniCorp, which has developed into the most powerful corporation in the world. Weak and lost, Rose struggles to belong in a society that is drastically different from what she remembers. The boy who awoke her, Bren, is kind and handsome, but Rose is haunted by memories of Xavier. To make matters worse, a deadly assassin seems to be intent upon capturing Rose, but how or why remains a mystery. Will Rose be able to understand her past while dealing with the increasingly lonely and dangerous present in which she finds herself?
Review: Creative and thought-provoking, this debut novel from author Anna Sheehan combines elements of science-fiction, fairytale and social commentary that makes for an original read that is difficult to put down. At first glance, A Long, Long Sleep appears to be in the same vein as many other young adult novels that play with the idea of characters being trapped in the wrong time, or finding themselves unwittingly plunged far into the future. This novel, however, dives deep below the surface into just what it would feel like to be in Rose’s position, offering up a look into a very possible future scenario as well. The author’s description of the Dark Times and how society changed between our present day, Rose’s original time period, and the reconstruction period she wakes up in is very interesting. It is clear that Sheehan put a lot of thought into this element of the novel, and it is largely responsible for making the novel as enjoyable as it is. The typical young adult plot lines (i.e. romance, high school drama, rebellion, etc.) are present in the story, but the novel is far more introspective and thought-provoking than most. For those readers both teen and adult who want to think while experiencing an excellent story, A Long, Long Sleep is a must read.
Reading level: Grade 8+
Similar titles: Across the Universe by Beth Nevis, Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan, Scored by Lauren McLaughlin, Wither by Lauren DeStefano.
Themes: Dystopian, loneliness, parental neglect, assassins, mystery.
Awards/Reviews: Positive reviews from Publishers Weekly.
Series Information: A sequel has been rumored.
- Why do you think Rose’s parents put her in stasis so much? Was it the right or wrong thing to do?
- What do you think Otto meant when he said there were “gaps” in Rose’s mind?
- Do you think the Dark Times could ever happen? Why or why not?
- How did Rose use her art to cope with her situation? Do you think artistic expression is a good way to deal with things?
- If there was a sequel, what would you like to see happen?