''I live by the clock, I survive by the pills.”
— Melissa Allen, Never Let Me Sleep
Melissa Allen, a fourteen-year-old, paranoid schizophrenic, wakes up to find the entirety of her town has died in their sleep. When she’s contacted by Homeland Security, they tell her that she is the only person they know of who is still alive within the “South Dakota Quarantine Zone” and that they desperately need her help to find out what’s going on. Worse than that, she’s not alone. Something, provided they’re not just hallucinations, is hunting her.
Never Let Me provides examples of:
- Adults Are Useless: Averted. Thomas Harrison and David Hood. Homeland Security manages to contact Melissa after she calls the hotline by monitoring all calls in and out of Onida. David Hood becomes her point of contact until he heads to Onida to help her, in which Thomas then personally takes on that role.
- Apocalypse How: Regional Scope as it's most of South Dakota.
- Batter Up!: Mister Bat is Melissa's primary weapon of choice.
- Conspicuous Trenchcoat: All of the Fedora men.
- Crazy Sane: Melissa allows her dead friend, Darcy Payne, to comfort her, knowing it’s a hallucination, to give her brain a break.
- Death of a Child: One of the special mention deaths in the prologue is a seven-year-old girl, Gina Clark.
- Determinator: Melissa has to deal with being the only survivor of small town, fighting off Fedoras and hallucinations alike. She is slashed multiple times and burned at least one.
- David also counts given that he drives into the quarantine zone, staving off sleep through the use of drugs, smelling salts, and adrenaline filled epi-pens, to rescue Melissa. He also manages a two-mile walk after being poisoned and slashed by a Fedora.
- Disability Immunity: Discussed. Melissa Allen, a schizophrenic with bi-polar disorder, is the only person to wake up in South Dakota. David hypothesizes that it’s actually the medications she is on for her mental disorders rather than the disorders themselves.
- Hallucinations: Melissa has several over the course of the story and is consistently running her surroundings through a reality filter to keep track of them.“First, I inventoried my physical senses.”
- Heroic BSoD: Melissa collapses next to the dying David and gives over to madness. From her Happy Place of escaping with him in a truck to Nebraska, she hears a radio drama of a girl who smothered her sister and brother-in-law in their sleep and is now being detained in a hospital.
- Imaginary Friend: Played With. Melissa questions whether David is real or a hallucination to help save her breaking mind. He’s real.
- Imaginary Enemy: Played With. The lights and the Fedoras The lights and the Fedoras are the same creatures, and they are very real.
- It Can Think: The Fedoras can hunt, and grief their dead.
- Madness Mantra: Melissa develops one during her Heroic BSoD.“There were eight.”
- No Medication for Me: Averted. Melissa is a schizophrenic who sees herself as “living by the clock but surviving by (my) pills”. She even religiously counts them to ensure that she has taken them.
- Nuclear Option: Operation Zeus
- Promotion to Parent – Melissa’s sister, Sharon, fifteen months before book one begins. It helps that she was twenty-five and married at the time.
- Quarantine with Extreme Prejudice: After a conversation with his boss, David tells Melissa that if they try to break quarantine they will be shot on sight.
- Success Through Insanity: Whether it’s the way her brain naturally works, or the medication she takes for her disorders, Melissa is the only person not effected by the death sleep.
- Unreliable Narrator – Justified. Melissa is aware of her schizophrenia and starts off uncertain of just how much of her current situation is real.