Another amazingly original concept, shaped into a tightly plotted thriller that’s practically impossible to put down. And there’s a cute dog too!
Sixteen-year-old Laura Henley is desperate to go to sleep. She tired of being ill. She’s worn down by constantly puking and from having to put a brave face on her terminal illness. It’s almost a relief to be cryogenically frozen until a time when she can be cured. However, when she’s woken forty years later, she has a lot to adjust to. She was frozen in 1986 and life in 2028 is very different. She also finds she’s on her own – her parents and her younger brother are all dead and her best friend was imprisoned for an attack on the clinic where Laura’s frozen body was being stored. Laura resolves to build a new life …. until the past starts to catch up with her.
Anyone who reads my reviews on a regular basis will already know that I’m a huge fan of Kathryn Evan’s debut book, More of Me. Indeed, subscribers to my Teen and YA reviews are probably heartily sick of constantly finding More of Me recommended at the bottom of my reviews. (No apologies though. I remain determined to ensure no booklover misses out!) You will be relieved to find out, therefore, that I have a new favourite: yes, you’ve guessed right – it’s Beauty Sleep.
I can’t help marvelling where Kathryn Evans gets her ideas. More of Me had, I thought, the most original concept ever but it’s now got competition in Kathryn’s second book. The idea of a real-life sleeping beauty – a pre-tech girl waking up in a futuristic world – is simply inspired. However, there is much more depth to this story. Laura not only has to adjust to a life that is very different to the 1980s she remembers but she’s soon on mission to solve the mystery of her past. What happened to her brother? Did her best friend really betray her? Can she trust anyone around her? I’d like to say more but this is such a clever plot that I don’t want to risk spoiling your enjoyment. I will, instead, just mention that the resolution of the plotline about her brother was perfect – truly, truly perfect.
As with More of Me, the characterisation is strong and it’s easy to identify with all the characters. The story is written as a dual narrative with two distinct voices – Laura and a teenage boy, Shem. If I’m honest, I preferred the chapters from Laura’s perspective, at least at the start, but this is probably more a result of the power of the writing and the fact that Shem’s chapters are so uncomfortable to read. Indeed, the description of Shem’s life rough sleeping in a shed and dodging the authorities are lightened only by his interaction with his dog, Scrag. (I totally fell in love with Scrag and spent most of the book biting my nails and praying he wouldn’t suffer the same fate as Todd’s dog, Manchee, in The Knife of Never Letting Go).
If you enjoyed this, you should also read (yes, you’ve guessed it) More of Me by Kathryn Evans. Alternatively, one of my other all-time favourite teen titles utilises a similar setting and has an equally creepy and brilliant plot, so I’d also suggest you read See How They Lie by Sue Wallman.
Publication Date: April 2019
Author: Kathryn Evans