Thora Green had a life once upon a time. But that ended the day her parents enrolled her in a sleep clinic prison. At the facility, her chronic months-long insomnia is observed by scads of doctors, but she is never actually treated for her dire disease. In a feat of desperation, Thora escapes for New York City. Buried deep in the city’s underbelly, there is rumored to be a secret haven called the Insomniac Café: a place where people like Thora can find relief.
As Thora joins forces with Aiden and Florence, two fellow insomniacs, their midnight quest will take them from the dusty bookshelves of The Strand, to the smokey underground clubs in the Lower East Side, to countless taxi and subway rides. Clues leading to their final destination are waiting for them at every turn. But so are Sleepers—a powerful core of sworn-enemies to all Insomniacs—who wish to see Thora and her friends destroyed at any cost.
The door booms shut, zapping all light away. A drainpipe drips heavy droplets, and I can’t help but jump at each splash. They sound like shotguns in the silence. My heart goes cold. This could be a trap. Maybe the note wasn’t from Lucas at all.
“Thora.” Lucas steps from the shadows. His dark fluffy hair is falling into his eyes. Eyes so blue, they still seem bright in the darkness. Eyes I have to glance away from because they seem to have a serious effect on my judgement.
“I don’t know whether I should be happy to see you or worried. Something bad always happens when you’re around.”
“Is that my yoyo you’re wearing as a necklace?” A small smile plays at his lips, and I can tell he’s trying hard to hold back a full-blown grin.
“Florence did it.” I pull the sleeves of my shirt down over my hands, hoping to warm them up from the chilling night air.
“It’s cute.” Lucas takes a step closer. “Are you cold?”
“I’m fine.” I’m not sure what I should do, standing here with my hands stick straight at my side. I probably look tense and stiff. Like a robot. “So, why did you want me to sneak out the back of a Chinese restaurant and into a dark alley? I’m assuming it’s not for idle chit chat or more yoyo toys.”
“Right.” He moves a step closer so he’s now only inches away. It’s hard to avoid looking at him when he’s this close. “Have you given up on finding the Insomniac Cafe then?”
“Then what, may I ask, are you doing eating dumplings when you’re meant to be on your way to the dream house?”
“We don’t know where to go next. The clue doesn’t make any sense, and those assholes took our phones so we can’t Google anything.” I finally meet his eyes. “And we were hungry.”
“Good then. I was rather worried to think you’d given up.”
“Well, would you blame me? After all the shit that’s happened so far? I probably should give up, Lucas.” I’m the one who steps forward this time. “But I can’t give up because I have nowhere else to go.”
Lucas nods with a sad smile. “You’re angry now. Good.”
“Anger isn’t going to keep me alive.”
“It might.” He sighs. “Here’s a hint about your clue.” And that’s when I notice our noses are practically touching. My breath catches, and I hate myself for it. “Might be best to focus on the dream house.”
“Is that what you came here to tell me? That’s very helpful, thanks.” I prop my hands on my hips. “We couldn’t figure that out from the clue, even though they said, ‘house of dreams’ in their song. I guess it takes an Oxford scholar to unravel that mystery.”
He grins, dimples creasing his cheeks. “You nugget. I actually came here to help you, but if you’d rather me not, I’ll be on my way.”
As he starts to turn away, I hold out a hand to stop him. My fingers brush his arm. “Wait.”
- A paperback copy of Never Sleep
- A “Dreaming of New York” sleep mask