The Insomniacs

Flatiron. Sept. 2020. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250257352.
Gr 9 Up–Seventeen-year-old Ingrid, who is part Swedish, is an All-Star swimmer and U.S. Nationals contender recovering from a recent diving accident. She can’t remember what happened that day to cause her concussion and now has insomnia. In the wee hours of the morning, she observes her neighbors in Austin, TX, and discovers secrets that people close to her hold the key to unlocking. Ingrid’s single mother works nights as a nurse, and that separation makes Ingrid believe she needs to do everything on her own. She notices her mother’s exhaustion, realizes they are struggling financially, and wants to get back into diving, with mounting pressure from her sweet yet overbearing coach. As the minutes leading up to Ingrid’s last dive become clearer, she finds love with her old friend Van, who is Japanese American. Van’s dedication to helping Ingrid get some sleep unlocks emotional doors for her, while she learns of Van’s own issues with his family and drugs. All her life Ingrid has been shown that emotion translates to weakness, and she aims to show others that she is strong. Ingrid is a resilient character whose inward reflections allows her to make thoughtful decisions but also help her confront the pains of her past. This book has an ebb and flow of slowness and intensity that might lose some readers. However, it is worth finishing in order to unearth Ingrid’s memory.
VERDICT A bittersweet, mysterious romance that will leave readers yearning to discover the secrets of the seemingly normal cul-de-sac.

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