Hard-hitting yet humorous, this young adult contemporary by debut author Morgan Vega is perfect for fans of Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour and Today, Tonight, Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon.
Foster care always promised her a bed. Now she doesn’t even have that.
Coralee (Corey) Reed can’t wait to trade her current foster house for Harmony Hall, the dorm for music majors. Corey arrives at Borns College with her pawn-shop violin and a borrowed duffle bag, ready to leave her foster care baggage behind.
But Corey's first day on campus starts on a sour note. She runs into her archrival violinist Dylan Mason, then her name's not on the dorm's roster. Worst of all, Corey can't live at Harmony Hall. Period. Because she's not yet accepted into the music program. Instead, Reslife shoves her into a temporary triple with two unsuspecting (and beyond different) roommates.
When one of her roommates does the unforgivable, Corey starts sleeping around campus—from air mattresses to random couches—while waiting for an open room. But how can she beat Dylan for first chair if she can’t keep her eyes open? How can she pass her finals without a good night’s sleep? Will college, the place she thought would launch her dreams of becoming a professional violinist, be the place her dreams end all too soon?
Plot/Idea: Vega's debut novel, Sleeping Around, is a masterpiece of early college angst, complicated friendships, young love, and overcoming trauma. The author expertly weaves together multiple themes, carefully framing difficult subjects—homosexuality, religious trauma, foster care, insecurity—into an accessible, charming novel. This book will appeal to those looking to reminisce about early college life; to musicians; and is an important piece of representation for those who have gone through foster care. Overall, Sleeping Around is a fabulously written slice-of-life story about a girl finding herself.
Prose: Vega's ability to write multiple different personalities, including those who are young, old, queer, religious, etc., while avoiding turning them into caricatures and simultaneously presenting them from the perspective of the author, is striking. The prose is interesting, immersive, and precise.
Originality: Sleeping Around has taken multiple unique themes and melded them together in a mosaic. Not only does the book feature the struggles of growing up within the foster system, but it also has multiple sub-themes throughout, such as a very accurate depiction of pursuing a music degree. Vega has also made sure to mix up the prose of the novel so that the content never grows dull for the reader, featuring phone calls, texts, and other storytelling mechanics. Every detail of the book feels unique.
Character Development/Execution: College is often the place where people's minds are expanded, as they meet classmates and faculty from all walks of life. In the novel, Vega has perfectly captured this aspect, showcasing a wide variety of personalities, all of which interact with the main protagonist, Corey. Vega has also written a highly sympathetic main character—Corey is lovable, but also flawed. Readers will empathize with her throughout the novel.
Date Submitted: April 12, 2022
"Coralee's history in the foster system makes her struggles to find a safe place on campus all the more realistic, and a major theme of Vega's novel is the protagonist's quest to figure out where she belongs—with her foster family, with Emma or Dylan, or with any of her roommates. The author does a fine job of capturing just what it's like to be a college freshman—constantly meeting new people, living in complex dorm situations, and running around campus to get to classes. Music theory references are well integrated and help to show Coralee's passion for the violin . . . The ending is solid and satisfying."
"Must read. Excellent writing and a nuanced and multifaceted plot make this coming of age story a highly recommended read for older young adults."
"Exploring trauma and resilience in gritty first-person detail, Sleeping Around by Morgan Vega is a powerful reflection on stability, the concept of home, and the heavy baggage we all must sometimes carry. As an intimate coming-of-age tale, this young adult novel highlights the impact the foster care system can have on the mindset and psychological wellbeing of children, and the adults they become. Driven by a complex narrator and woven together with unassuming, conversational prose, the target audience for this book may be older teens moving into a new chapter of life, but the intense themes will resonate with older readers as well."
“This is a charming, engaging tale. There are so many golden aspects here, including the perspective of foster care, the devotion of a musical genius, the social aspects of entering college, and so much more. All of this is offered through an intimate perspective of Coralee allows for an interesting story that will hopefully either inspire young readers to try the violin or pursue a craft that can elevate their life. The combination of so many different elements allows this narrative to be a special novel that would be difficult to find elsewhere. Vega does a great job to get several balls in the air and juggle them through the end of the story.”
James Madison University featured Sleeping Around in their alumni magazine, Madison Magazine, on page 56.
Newspaper The News Virginian highlighted Sleeping Around in the article, "Weyers Cave Author Morgan Vega Donating Proceeds from Her First Book to Charity."
James Madison University included Sleeping Around in the news article, "Warm up with these JMU reads," a list of published books by alumni.
Humankind spotlighted Sleeping Around in the news article, "Local Debut Author Donating to HumanKind Foster Care."