Goodreads: The Insomniacs
Source: ARC from publisher giveaway
Published: September 1, 2020
Seventeen-year-old competitive diver Ingrid froze on the board. Suffering from a concussion, she’s staying home on the doctor’s orders. All she can remember from before her injury is noticing her neighbor and crush Van sitting on the sidelines with his girlfriend. But what really caused her to mess up? She’s kept awake at night wondering.
It turns out Van is experiencing insomnia, too. He can’t remember the details of a weird night in which he fought with his best friends and caused his girlfriend to get angry with him. But no one will tell him what really happened. Now Van and Ingrid are staying awake together, trying to piece together the truth. But what if they don’t really want to know?
The Insomniacs by Marit Weisenberg is a riveting YA mystery that keeps the focus on the developing relationship between its protagonists even as it builds suspense. Ingrid is a competitive diver who cannot remember what she saw that made her hit the board. Van is her next door neighbor and longtime crush. He is having trouble remembering an evening with his friends. Together, they begin to stay up all night, trying to to piece together their missing memories. As time passes, however, their nights together start to mean something more. But Van does not seem to want to bring their relationship into the day. Weisenberg expertly increases the tension in her novel, often moving away from the mystery and towards her characters, but always keeping the suspense in the background.
The Insomniacs is not necessarily the type of book I would have picked up on my own. However, since I had a copy, I read it, and I found myself gripped by the narrative. It was only when I was halfway through that I realized that, although the summary makes this book sound like a thriller, with Ingrid and Van seeking clues to their missing memories, it is really more of a story about Ingrid finding herself. She has to let go of her father, who left her; figure out what she wants out of a relationship with Van; and acknowledge to herself that much of her life she has spent chasing her coach’s approval, using him as a surrogate father figure. She has to decide why she is really diving, if she wants to continue, and how she will continue when she is afraid to go back on the board.
Still, even though I was focused on Ingrid’s character arc, I still wanted to know what had happened to her on the day of her accident. Ingrid may have seemed to have left it behind, but I could not. I think it is a testimony to Weisenberg’s skill that the mystery does not have to be at the forefront of the story to be compelling. Indeed, having Ingrid lose focus perhaps makes the reader even more interested–it raises the possibility that Ingrid might simply let everything go, leaving the reading hanging forever!
Ultimately, The Insomniacs delivered a satisfying conclusion, giving Ingrid important character growth and revealing what happened both to Ingrid and to Van. The book is a gripping read, one that lovers of YA thrillers will enjoy, but one that will also appeal to readers who might not normally pick up this kind of fare.