Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Long, Long Sleep

A Long, Long Sleep

Anna Sheehan
Fiction
For ages 13 and up
Candlewick Press, 2011   ISBN: 978-0763652609

When Rosalinda Fitzroy wakes up from her latest session in her stasis tube, she finds out that she has been in the tube for sixty-two years. Her parents have, over the years, put her in the tube for days, weeks, or months at a time, but it is unbelievable that she has been in limbo for so long.

In bits and pieces Rosalinda begins to figure out how she came to be forgotten. Rosalinda learns that soon after she was last put into the stasis tube the world experienced a period called the Dark Times.  During this dreadful time in human history, millions of people died of the plague, and when people began to rebuild society after it was all over, many things changed. After the Dark Times were over Rosalinda’s parents were killed in a helicopter crash, and her boyfriend Xavier must have died too because he never came looking for her.

Not having any family members alive to care for her, Rosalinda is watched over by Mr. Guillroy. For years Mr. Guillroy has been the head of UniCorp, the company that Rosalinda’s parents built. Now everything has changed because Rosalinda is “the sole surviving heiress to an interplanetary empire,” and one day UniCorp will be hers. Of course, she is still underage, so for now she will go to school and try to get used to her new life.

The problem is that getting used to being ‘normal’ is very hard to do. The only things that Rosalinda has from her past are her memories and her painting skills. Most of the people at her school think that she is a freak or that her story was manufactured. The only person who treats her with kindness is Brendan, the boy who found her stasis tube and accidentally released her from it.

Brendan introduces her to his closest friends, one of whom is an alien hybrid called Otto. Otto cannot speak, but he is able to use his thoughts to communicate with others, which he can do if he is touching them. Something about Rosalinda frightens Otto though. Something in her is missing, there are “gaps” in her mind, and he won’t touch her to talk to her.

Then Rosalinda reaches out to Otto by sending him messages over the Internet. The two strike up a friendship, and Rosalinda begins to finally open up. Over time, Otto finds out that Rosalinda has had a terrible life, and he figures out why she has the “gaps” that scared him. Then Rosalinda, Brendan and Otto find out that someone has programmed a robot like machine to kill her. Someone from Rosalinda’s past wanted her dead.

This captivating and often heart wrenchingly painful story will fascinate readers who like mysteries. Though it is not a traditional whodunit, this story is a mystery nevertheless, and the author does a masterful job slowly revealing the layers of Rosalinda’s extraordinary story. It is painful to see how emotionally damaged Rosalinda is, and we cannot help hoping that somehow she will find a way to be happy in her new life.

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