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The Midnights

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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  246 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Susannah Hayes has never been in the spotlight, but she dreams of following her father, a former rock star, onto the stage. As senior year begins, she’s more interested in composing impressive chord progressions than college essays, certain that if she writes the perfect song, her father might finally look up from the past long enough to see her. But when he dies unexpecte ...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by HarperTeen
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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  246 ratings  ·  60 reviews


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Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
“You have to shake your notions of good and bad, and create outside of judgement. Follow the instinct, not he convention.”

I wanted to love this so much and I just didn’t and that makes me really sad. I was looking for this moving story of grief and family and Susannah finding herself, but this book made me feel absolutely nothing. I didn’t connect to it at all - not the characters, not the relationships, not the plot. Nothing. I can’t remember the last book that I was completely apathetic towards.
...more
Rachel Solomon
THE MIDNIGHTS is one of the most exquisite YA novels I've ever read, with an evocative, dreamy setting that is truly a character in itself. I've never read a Southern California so raw and alive and unapologetic. Sarah Nicole Smetana's prose should be savored like the darkest dark chocolate. So many lines burrowed into my heart and stuck in my throat. I loved and ached for Susannah, grieving the sudden loss of the musician father who didn't have enough time for her. Every member of Susannah's fr ...more
Amber Smith
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-blurbed
A stunning, beautifully-written debut, THE MIDNIGHTS explores the complex nature of loss, grief, secrets, and family, as we follow one girl on a poignant journey of self-discovery.

*I received an advance copy*
Lauren
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-debuts
I've been dying to read The Midnights ever since I saw Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of the AMAZING You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone, raving about it on Goodreads. I figured if she'd loved it I'd probably love it as well, and as it turns out, I was one hundred percent correct (thankfully!).

The Midnights is not just good but great. Combing lyrical writing, a drool-worthy setting, and a thoughtful coming-of-age, The Midnights is a standout YA debut, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen's This Lullaby.

When
...more
Samantha (WLABB)
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I am always up for a good grief and loss book, and The Midnights absolutely fit the bill. It was filled with the pain we associate with losing a loved one, and the ways one may go about trying to fill the hole left in their heart.

•Pro: Smetana beautifully depicted the emotional pain experienced by the characters in this book. The grief and suffering was utterly palpable.

•Con: I know it's realistic for some people to spin a little out of control when they
...more
Vicky Who Reads
3 stars

It's been two months and honestly I've already forgotten the majority of this book.

I definitely wanted to read because Sarah is cool and support debuts!!! but this didn't really hit the mark for me. I definitely think I have specific tastes in contemporary, and a big part of why I didn't like this as much as I wanted to was because it wasn't really my style? But I like trying new things, hence why I read it.

I didn't connect with Savannah a lot, and one of my biggest criticisms would be how I wanted a
...more
Just Reading Everything
Smetana's gorgeous writing and heartfelt storytelling soar in THE MIDNIGHTS. The novel follows Susannah, a seventeen-year old who has music thriving in her bones, who's uprooted from her LA home and moved to Orange County with her mother after experiencing a monumental loss. The passages about grief and striving to find answers are heartbreakingly realistic and thoughtful, and Smentana's masterful plot is effortlessly captivating. It's the kind of coming-of-age story that settles in your heart a ...more
Amber
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018, own-it
IThank you to Booksparks for providing me with a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

really loved reading this book. I was completely in the mood for some YA fiction, and this was a perfect fit. I mean, not only was it set at that slightly awkward, slightly angsty end-of-high-school age, but it was also laced with music. And by “laced” I mean “completely submerged in music”. And I loved it!

I’m finding myself wanting to say that this was a really sweet book, despi
...more
Lia
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what to think. Objectively it's not bad at all but I also didn't like it very much.
Lea (drumsofautumn)
DNF at 30%. I'm just gonna stop pretending that I will ever continue reading this. I had a hard time deciding to DNF this because there's nothing I can really say about it. I can't pinpoint an exact reason why I didn't enjoy it, I just simply didn't. I was not attached to any of the characters, I thought they all felt a little bit emotionless (not that they really were but the emotions didn't really come through in the writing). I constantly had to force myself to pick this up and then I still o ...more
☾❥
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bibliophile Euphoria
This story has a melancholy feel to it with a side dish of inspirational. 
Through the wondrous power of music, this beautiful story navigates the path of friendship, family, the grief of losing someone, and finding who you are. (Proven once again, music never fails).
The setting description was my favorite part of the book. The scenery and visuals given made me feel like I was right there in Orange County. An unforgettable read, indeed. 
This is the type of story t
...more
Brenda Rufener
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Friendship, family, music, and romance. All layered in a way that will touch your heart and make you feel. Really feel! Also, I appreciated the OC setting. Haven't read many books, although I'm sure they exist, that capture this California atmosphere. Smetana's light stroke paints a vivid picture with all senses evoked. THE MIDNIGHTS is a must-read for 2018! Can't wait to see this book on the shelves.
Heather Ezell
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, 2018-releases
Visceral and heart breaking, THE MIDNIGHTS explores grief and artistry and the secrets that make up a family, a friendship, an identity in both sharp and subdued layers. The voice is absolutely evocative of Janet Fitch, both in terms of the prose overall but also in the way Sarah captures the raw natures of LA and Orange County. The description does not lie: you can *feel* the scintillating landscape that Susannah navigates -- both the external and internal. And also the music. THE MUSIC. <3
Bethany
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Midnights is a moving story about family, grief, music, and finding yourself. Set in Southern Califonia, there is a strong sense of place. The Los Angeles area is captured beautifully, and not as a glitzy Hollywood stereotype, but rather in a richly nuanced way that could only come from someone who has lived there. Nature is almost personified at times in the Santa Ana winds, earthquakes, and wildfires. As someone who lived for many years in Southern California, I really loved that aspect of ...more
Michelle
Susannah and her father have a bond through music. Her entire existence is connected to music. Her parents actually met at her dad’s concert, his biggest hit was about her mother and Susannah knows her dad quit the band when her mom got pregnant.

Susannah loves music too. She loves nights spent writing and playing music with her dad. They have a connection that Susannah just doesn’t have with her mom.

Her dad definitely isn’t a perfect person and he’s not always a great fat
...more
Luke Reynolds
It’s kind of awkward when a book you bought with your own money ends up being something you DNF. Oof.

But the more I think about it, I’m just not sure if I’m interested in continuing this book. The Midnights feels like it would be better suited for an adult literary novel frame (which is how Smetana originally drafted it as confirmed in a book launch video), as the writing is the focus here. And even though it’s very lush and pretty, everything else feels secondary. I’m not sure if I’m really
...more
Milly Hammett
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, edelweiss
So many of my writing friends were raving about Smetana's The Midnights on Twitter, so when I saw a copy available for review, I jumped at the chance to get a sneak peek. I wasn't disappointed. Smetana writes beautifully and evocatively. She captured that delicate age where you realize your parents aren't who you thought--or hoped--they were, grief, and relationships both platonic and romantic. I savored and enjoyed every word. Her main character, Susannah, was authentic and strong yet very vuln ...more
Vicky Skinner
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A heartbreaking and real story with unique pacing and a cast of characters that all have distinct voices. This was a lovely book. It made me want to go out and learn how to play the guitar. Beautiful!
Jessica | Booked J
Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Review also found on Booked J.

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Edelweiss by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

For the first time in ages, I felt truly captivated by a YA contemporary novel. Lately, meaning around the time that I picked up The Midnights, I felt as though I were in a never-ending reading slump when it came to its genre. There's something in Sarah Nicole Smetana's prose that packs a serious punch and/>
...more
Liz Overberg
Susannah Hayes loves every moment that her dad allows her into his world--his garage studio where he writes music, drinks, and dreams of recreating his youth, sometimes not emerging from the studio (or even talking to Susannah) for days at a time. She knows her dad can be irresponsible. She knows her mom struggles to support their family while her dad behaves erratically. But he gave Susannah music, and she clings to the connection that she feels when she plays her guitar with her dad.
...more
Jena
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Even as time passed, as my fingertips hardened into calluses, as I slipped into those awkward early teenage years, my father’s studio remained the sole place where I felt the most extraordinary, and most alive.”

Susannah Hayes wants to follow in her musician father’s footsteps more than anything. She writes song lyrics in her spare time and spends countless late night hours with her father in his studio. They live and breathe music the way other people breathe air. When the unthinkab
...more
Kit Frick
The Midnights is a slow burn of a novel, the kind that slips beneath your skin with its harmonies and thrumming chords; that moves through you with its lyrical, immersive prose; and that builds to a beautiful crescendo of self-realization, revealed secrets, and a future brimming with the promise of things unknown. Sarah Nicole Smetana has written a beautiful debut about family, friendship, loss, and music that rocks and hums in equal measure. I was lucky to read an advanced copy, and I'm so exci ...more
Dana Mele
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sarah Nicole Smetana's debut The Midnights is a delightful must-read for fans of YA contemp, romance, coming of age stories, & girls who rock. Extra nostalgia points if, like me, you spent (or spend) a decent amount of time in rock clubs, tuning guitars, scribbling lyrics and set lists on scraps of paper, and trying to figure out the difference between a good kisser and a good liar.
Teenreadsdotcom
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoughtful, stunning and beautifully-written novel, THE MIDNIGHTS by Sarah Nicole Smetana will leave you lost in the music of life as it follows one young girl’s journey of self-discovery as she explores the complexities of loss, grief, secrets, love, friends and family.

Seventeen-year-old Susannah Hayes lives quite a normal and content life experiencing common teenage things such as having a first job and crush as well as having a big dream --- to become a musician. All she wants t
...more
Chrissi
The Midnights centres around Susannah who lives at home with her mum and dad. She’s living a fairly normal life, working, going to school and jamming with her dad who used to be in a band. Susannah is a songwriter and wants to write an amazing song to impress her dad who she absolutely idolises. However, Susannah’s dad dies unexpectedly and Susannah finds her life being completely turned upside down. She has to move to Orange, to live with a grandmother she didn’t know she had. Susannah’s mum se ...more
Leelo
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When my library put their list of new books out for the month, I just ordered a few that seemed like I might be interested in them. I’m so glad that I did!

I started reading it knowing only that it was a coming of age story and that she was interested in music. I didn’t even really read the back so I was really surprised by the events that unfolded.

I think a lot of teen books will inflate certain activities like having crushes, having sex, losing friends, etc to be absolutely dramati
...more
Gmr
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story about midnights...that mysterious time between morning and night that often gets wiled away as we slumber between the sheets. That's the norm for most, but what if it wasn't? What if during that magical in-between, where you have one foot in nighttime and one foot in morning, you were spending time with those you love, making memories to cherish, and impressions you'll need to hold on to all too soon? What if you were not only able to reach out to someone who is more desperately ...more
Nicole
Jul 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-fiction
The thing that first enticed me about The Midnights was the combination of the book cover and the title. The second thing that captured my interest was synopsis of the book. Upon reading the synopsis of the book, I thought The Midnights would be a story of a girl discovering herself through loss and pain and maybe finding a side through herself that she was too afraid to unleash. I didn't quite get that in this book and that's both a bad and a good thing. A bad thing because it seemed as if the ...more
Sarah
I received this through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Susannah has always had a special bond with her father. They connect through music. He is a washed up rock star, who continues to record and work with music in their home recording studio in the garage. Susannah writes songs and tweaks music to make something beautiful that will impress her father. He has had mental challenges, and addiction issues for years, which threatens family bonds and the relationship between Susannah's p
...more
Trista
I was definitely expecting to lose myself in this book when I first started it and there were many times I did find myself getting completely absorbed into the story. There were also times where I was taken out of it and it took a while to lose myself again. There were a lot of different themes and different bonds, and I really liked seeing how the author explored each one and how she used them within each other. There was the family bond, the bonds of friendship, but there was also the bond Sus ...more
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Sarah Nicole Smetana grew up in Orange, California, where she wrote songs, played in a few bands, and successfully pilfered all of her parents’ best vinyl records. She received her BFA in Creative Writing from Chapman University and her MFA in Fiction from The New School. Currently, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their three-legged cat.

Her debut novel, The Midnights, is on shelves now.
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“It struck me then that this was how most things end: seemingly slow and then all at once. As the last trace of him slipped like sand through my fingers, all I could do was smile bleakly, drink my water, and watch him go.” 2 likes
“And the pain doesn't get easier. It may lose its priority in your life, but it will always be a big fucking crater right in the center of you. The best you can do is try to keep it from swallowing you whole.” 2 likes
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