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Review: A Long, Long Sleep

September 12, 2011

Title: A Long, Long Sleep
Author: Anna Sheehan
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 352
Release Date: August 9, 2011
Format: ARC from publisher for review

Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss.
Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose— hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire—is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat.
Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes — or be left without any future at all.—Goodreads

A futuristic take on the tale of Sleeping Beauty, A Long, Long Sleep imagines what would happen if a girl named Rose woke up in a world she no longer recognized, but one that recognized her.

While at the outset it seems like a “That’d be neat!” idea, Sheehan spins the story in the other direction. Instead of being excited she is in the future, Rose, who is the long-lost-and-assumed-dead daughter of the president of a ginormous corporation and will thus inherent the company and be a kajillionaire, is completely shell-shocked. She mourns for her parents and her boyfriend, Xavier, whom she lost when she woke up sixty-two years too late.

The results are devastating. Not only does Rose have to deal with the knowledge that she’s in a time that she was never supposed to see, she also has to learn about The Dark Times, when a plague ravaged the human population and killed almost everyone. And Rose is a delicate sort, so this REALLY rocks her. And if that weren’t enough, there is a robot trying to kill her.

But that’s not all Sheehan does. Oh no. Living in the future and being hunted by a seemingly indestructible robot weren’t enough for her. She deftly relates a story of abuse in a way that is subtle, haunting, and heart-wrenching all at the same time.

Though there are a lot of things happening in A Long, Long Sleep, it’s not a particularly quick  read. The story unfolds slowly and quietly, but is never boring. And Sheehan does a great job of creating  a world that feels foreign from our own, but is also similar enough that it doesn’t take a great deal of suspended belief to, well, believe in it.

Overall, A Long, Long Sleep is a lovely story about how one girl finds herself in the midst of a world she no longer recognizes. It’s not intensely funny or happy or snappy, but the prose are sumptuous and the story is compelling. It’ll definitely make you think twice before saying, “I just wish I could go to the future.”

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