Saturday, September 24, 2011

Insomnia and a Long, Long Sleep

Sunrise was at 6:59, Sunset was 7:03

Woke up at 3:15 a.m., just could not sleep, so read instead. I finished up another fairytale retelling, Long, Long Sleep, by Anna Sheehan, and it was really good, too! It is, of course, the retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

Far into the future, after a plague has wiped out millions of people and genetically modified seeds have left most of the rest of the population sterile, a young man opens a stasis tube he finds in a subbasement and resuscitates a beautiful girl who has been asleep for 62 years. She is now 16, more or less, and her story is dark and sad.

Rosalinda was the daughter of very wealthy parents who traveled a lot and, whenever they left, or whenever they felt she needed a time out, would put her in stasis, eventually letting her out when whatever it was was no longer something they needed to worry about. She moved from school to school because she wasn't very good at it and so never got close to anyone except for Xander, the baby boy next door.

Over the years of living in her family, she was put in stasis a lot. There were times when she would come out of stasis and Xander would be years older. Eventually, he caught up and passed her in age and they fell in love.

62 years later, everyone she ever knew is dead. She is in a foreign world, barely understands the language and her only true friend is an alien, someone who is as much a freak as she is. She has slept through The Dark Times and everything she ever knew is gone. Oh, and there is a plastic human-robot who has a directive to find her and take her back to the principal but, because everyone is dead, including the principal, the next directive is to terminate her.

Very good story, great world building, and the characters were well-developed. The way Rosalinda Fitzroy deals with her life now felt pretty realistic. Her self-esteem is non-existent and the constant need for reassurance was a little much but I had to keep reminding myself that she was belittled and abused her entire life; no wonder she can't trust herself or feel any confidence in her decisions.

Good stuff. Ages 13 and up. (Candlewick. $16.99. Available now.)

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