A kids/YA book I would have read in the 90s about a kid who travels to a world where people don't sleep. They must have been largely human other than that though, since the protagonist was able to pass as a local. Their technology level was contemporary as well.

Kids who are suspected of sleeping are picked on and beaten up. I think the protagonist attempts to befriend someone who was beaten up for sleeping but claims they were just daydreaming or something.

The protagonist finds their teacher in some kind of zoo or museum exhibit, gawked at by the public. There is a vending machine where people can purchase snacks to feed the human, all junk food of course. The teacher just looks sad and the protagonist feels sorry for him, because the vending machine doesn't have M&Ms, which is the only candy the teacher would eat because it wouldn't melt in his pocket. So the teacher's got chocolate stains on his pocket now. Something like that.

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The Shuteyes by Mary James

The fantastical story of a lonely eleven-year-old whose parrot takes him on a magical mystery tour of a planet where sleeping is against the law

Chester Dumbello’s mom interprets people’s dreams. One day a white, one-eyed parrot flies into the Dream Café. Chester’s mom says that the day something rhymes with orange, they can keep the parrot. Since nothing does, she comes up with the name Lornge, and the parrot becomes the newest member of the Dumbello family. But there’s something odd about Lornge: He never sleeps. (Or as he puts it, “I tell no lies, nor shut my eyes.”) It’s summer, and school’s out—Chester’s favorite time of year because the other kids can’t bother him about his unusual mother. But he feels trapped in a tug of war between his aunt Dolly, who wants Chester to visit, and his mom, who doesn’t want him to go. Then one night, Lornge takes him to the planet Alert, where sleeping is against the law. Chester is adopted by a family named Quick—boasting a mother and a father—and meets all kinds of strange and interesting people. He goes to school, but before long, he is convicted of being a “shuteye” and gets thrown in jail. Suddenly, his home in Lucy, Mississippi, is looking a whole lot better. This is a wildly inventive novel about a boy who yearns to run away—only to discover that there’s no place like home.


I held The Butterfinger up between the cell bars and Mr. Pye took it. He shoved it into the pocket of his suit. I noticed then how dirty that left pocket was from the chocolate melting inside. I remembered how he always favored M&M's because they didn't melt.

  • I'd given up on tracking this down. Thank you!
    – Drew
    Mar 18, 2019 at 14:19

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