Title: None Shall Sleep
Author: Ellie Marney
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, Horror
Trigger warnings: death, murder (including teenage death), PTSD
Summary: The Silence of the Lambs meets Sadie in this riveting psychological thriller about two teenagers teaming up with the FBI to track down juvenile serial killers.
In 1982, two teenagers—serial killer survivor Emma Lewis and US Marshal candidate Travis Bell—are recruited by the FBI to interview convicted juvenile killers and provide insight and advice on cold cases. From the start, Emma and Travis develop a quick friendship, gaining information from juvenile murderers that even the FBI can’t crack. But when the team is called in to give advice on an active case—a serial killer who exclusively hunts teenagers—things begin to unravel. Working against the clock, they must turn to one of the country’s most notorious incarcerated murderers for help: teenage sociopath Simon Gutmunsson. Despite Travis’s objections, Emma becomes the conduit between Simon and the FBI team. But while Simon seems to be giving them the information they need to save lives, he’s an expert manipulator playing a very long game…and he has his sights set on Emma.
Captivating, harrowing, and chilling, None Shall Sleep is an all-too-timely exploration of not only the monsters that live among us, but also the monsters that live inside us.
“Power. Domination. Control. Manipulating the people around you, fooling them into thinking you’re normal. The smarter ones cover their tracks better, and they’re better at the manipulation part, which makes catching them harder.”
None Shall Sleep was an intensely electrifying read that pushed the boundaries of YA psychological thrillers. Many readers are used to reading psychological thrillers with serial killers from an adult’s perspective. But what None Shall Sleep does is bring the audience a book with serial killers, but from the perspective of two teenagers, which I found to be wonderfully clever.
The whole story is exhilarating and fast-paced, but the last 100 pages I devoured in one sitting. The storyline moves quickly, with sharp and biting scenes that had me wishing I could read faster. I needed to know what was going to happen, especially to the characters I’d come to love. But the overall story, plot, and characterization was beautifully executed. There were moments where my heart was beating fast and my eyes were glued to the story and my hands gripped the pages. None Shall Sleep is a chilling story brimming with pure brilliance. The plot is deeply rooted in every chapter. Every scene offered some type of importance to the story, you just may not know it yet.
“All the things that can’t be helped…All the things that circle back around and find us again.”
What was really cool about this story is that, as the reader, I didn’t just get to see into Emma’s and Travis’s minds. I got glimpses of Special Agent Cooper and the serial killer himself. I ended up knowing a bit more about the unknown serial killer than the FBI. Those snippets gave me the additional equipment I needed to further put this story together. And even with those additional insights, I was still left guessing until the end. It was a thrilling and gripping read that I had the hardest time putting down.
And yes, I will admit, that I was one of the readers that succumbed to Simon’s charms. But I found it to be so difficult not to. He knows how to get under a person’s skin, even if he is a fictional serial killer. His portrayal, his character, felt exceptionally real. There were times where I was even second guessing if he was truly a bad guy, and that’s how I know Marney captured Simon’s personality well. He knew just how to charm someone, how to dig deep enough to get them to spill their darkest secrets. And he works to do just that to one of our wonderful protagonists, Emma.
“A girl created by a serial killer who hunts serial killers.”
Like Simon, I found Emma really fascinating. She’s a serial killer survivor still learning to move on from the past and be the person she was before the incident. But how can one go back to being who they were after facing something so traumatic? How do you hold onto the person you need to be the most? You don’t, and Emma’s journey in this story really captures that feeling and those emotions that you’re no longer the same person after experiencing something traumatic. Emma represents all those that have PTSD, but she also represents those that won’t go down without a fight. She’s a fighter and a protector, which is why she signs up to help Detective Cooper: she doesn’t want there to be any more victims from this unknown serial killer. As Simon so magnificently puts it, Emma’s got a shine and that shine is what makes her stand out from everyone else. She’s a character that could, in every way, burn the world down (those who have read None Shall Sleep will understand the reference).
Marney also provides a healthy and stable female and male friendship, which I was one hundred percent there for. Emma and Travis have a truly real friendship, and both face past hardships, but they do it together. Travis lost his father to a serial killer, so he somewhat understands Emma’s emotions. And even the emotions and the moments he doesn’t understand, he’s there for Emma every step of the book, and she’s there for him. That’s the type of friendship I will always support.
“Good luck hunting.”
The overall characterization in this novel is truly brilliant and well defined. I could see how much research went into this story, how much Marney worked to make these characters feel as real as possible. Marney has created a masterpiece here for young adult readers. Her characters are built with flaws and charm, with baggage and pain, and all together, it creates a fantastically gripping story. None Shall Sleep has an atmospheric vibe, and Marney’s writing is engrossing. Her writing had the riveting effect of immersing the readers into this psychological thriller. And even though this is a standalone, a part of me wishes there was a sequel because I am here for watching Emma and Travis work as teenage detectives.
If you are a YA thriller and/or horror reader, I implore you to preorder this psychological masterpiece. None Shall Sleep is surely a story that will bury itself in your mind and leave you guessing until the end.
*All quotes listed above are from the ARC version of None Shall Sleep and may not appear in the final copy. Thank you NOVL for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!*
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars