Angela Morrison's sophomore novel Sing Me to Sleep is not a hard book to read. The pages turn smoothly, the story is believable enough and there is enough universality in these teen characters to strike a chord with most readers. And I am happy to finally get to review this book after taking control of my life again, after so many exams, obligations and other nasty stuff.
One thing I loved about Morrison's writing is that she is not afraid to take the extra step and show us how high school indeed can be gruesome and harsh. The protagonist of the book, Beth aka "The Beast" is forced to live with constant ridicule, as well as insults and attacks (both verbal and physical). Some of the scenes in Sing Me to Sleep shocked me with their honesty and brutality, and even though I didn't always care for the more romantic side of the story, it was how genuine the book was that made me rate it positively.
There is a huge story about a love triangle, a singing competition and more YA stuff that are mostly okay, but it is the realistic portrayal of characters that wins the prize. Beth is insecure, but not an idiot. She is fully aware of the world around her, and even though she is in desperate need of an attitude makeover (neatly connected with her physical makeover), we never really lose faith in her. The hunk named Derek is also not a typical, boring romantic interest. Not only does he sing in choir, he also has a secret or two, and it is exactly these details that make us care about these characters.
I could name a couple of things that do not exactly work in the book, mainly the poetic attempts scattered throughout the book, or many unnecessary narrative detours (we don't really have to know how singing in choir works in such detail), but it is refreshing to find a YA book that doesn't rely on vampires and werewolves for its thrills. Sing Me to Sleep is a fun, clever little book that, while it's certainly no classic, is also far heavier and thought-provoking than your regular beach read.