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On Midnight Beach

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  73 ratings  ·  16 reviews
In this beautiful, epic coming-of-age novel, an old tale is rewoven as a stunning YA story by well-known Irish author/illustrator Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick.

I kept clear of Dog Cullen. Till the summer we turned seventeen, the summer the dolphin came to Carrig Cove . . .

Donegal, 1976

When a dolphin takes up residence in Carrig Cove, Emer and her best friend, Fee, feel like the
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 2nd 2020 by Faber Faber
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  73 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Emer (A Little Haze)
I 100% requested On Midnight Beach from NetGalley because the MC and I share the same first name and I thought it would be interesting to read about another Emer.

But I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did!

I tore through this story as quickly as I could so desperate was I to get to the end and to see how the story would pan out.

And what made this more interesting to me is that this 1976 set story is a loose interpretation of the great Irish mythological epic Táin Bó Cuailgne (Catt
Claire (Silver Linings and Pages)
On Midnight Beach is a vibrant, coming of age YA retelling of the Irish legend Táin Bó Cuailnge. It’s set in an imagined village in Donegal during the hottest ever recorded summer in Ireland in 1976.
The story evokes long, hot and languid days, when a dolphin has ventured into the bay. A group of young people sneak out at midnight to swim with him, but the enigmatic visitor attracts “dolphin fever” and rivalry from the neighbouring town, until dangerous tensions heat up...
I enjoyed reading this
Anoeska Nossol
2.5 stars out of 5 stars
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!

'On Midnight Beach' is a young adult story about Emer who, together with three other teens, got obsessed over a dolphin in the bay. The four teenagers try to get closer to the dolphin. It's an adventure that brings up lots of other feelings. Love, friendship and growing-up are large themes in this book.

I adored the cover and the description of the book grabbed my attention immediately. When I started reading, the story didn't grab my attent
Sarah Webb
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A gripping YA novel written with so much passion and heart the worlds practically beat on the page. Inspired by the Táin Bó Cuailnge – the Cattle Raid of Cooley - it re-imagines the ancient story from the Táin, recasting legendary warrior, Cú Chulainn as ‘Dog’ Cullen, as a teenager in 1976 who fights to defend his village from another village who are trying to steal ‘their’ dolphin, Rinn. The story is told through several eyes, including those of Emer who works in her family’s shop and falls har ...more
Manon the Malicious
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
*I got a physical ARC at Deptcon 5 because Deptcon is the best*

Set in 1976, in the North-Western coast of Ireland, this book is a twist on an old Irish tale.
I actually don't think I can say anything about the plot without ruining this story.
It was so atmospheric, it truly transported me there and then. I could picture it all... The sea, the dolphin, the beach, the cliffs, all of it.
The story itself really grabbed me and I had to read it all, as fast as I could. I can't even pinpoint why or how b
Teren Lee
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5/5 stars
Firstly, the narrator of this audiobook is fantastic.

When I started this tiny novel, I didn't realise that it was based off the Irish hero Cu Chulain. Upon reading the description, I rewatched OSP's fantastic summary of Cu Chulain and I'm so glad I did so I could really appreciate the details of the retelling, pinpointing Fitzpatrick's reinterpretation of the classic.

It was upon learning about Cu Chulain that the name Dog Cullen less weird. I loved the way Fitzpatrick retold this cla
Egle (readingfreakquotes)
On midnight beach is a young adult story about adventure, friendship, family dynamics, rivalry and love. It’s told from two different POV’s, Emmer who lives in Carrig Cove and Gus who now lives in Ross. These two villages are located on the opposite sides of the bay and there seems to be a bit of a competition and rivalry going between the

Emmer is 17 years old, she has to do a lot of work in her father’s owned grocery store in the summer of 1976 when a dolphin Rinn finds his way to the
Belinda Carvalho
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was a dreamy and unusual read. 17 year old Emer is growing up in Carrig Cove, a sleepy seaside down wih a down at heel reputation. It is rural Ireland in the mid 1970's and there is not a lot to do. She mainly works in her Dad's shop (he has an old-fashioned patriarchal attitude and acts like he owns her) and she hands around with her best friend Fi and Fi's nerdy brother Rory. Prepared for a boring summer, fate has other plans when a heat wave strikes and a dolphin starts visiting the loca ...more
Tiarna Georghiou
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it
On Midnight Beach follows a group of teenagers who bond with a dolphin that enters their shores. It also follows the story of a boy from the rival town, and the conflict between the two towns because of this dolphin. I really didn’t enjoy this book. I liked some of the characters, but found the story a bit silly, I did love the ending though. I would have liked to see more of a connection with the dolphin as they fought so hard for it, but there didn’t seem to be much of a connection there. Over ...more
Laura-Jayne Wesley
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
On Midnight Beach kept me engrossed throughout. It is probably not the kind of book I would have picked up in a bookshop however my partner bought it as a gift for Christmas.
I was completely enthralled by this coming of age tale and could barely put it down!

I particularly enjoyed the Authors notes at the back of the book - They made me appreciate both the story and the authors representations of the characters even more.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I received this book from Netgalley in an exchange of a honest review

What drew me to this book was the description. I really wanted to love this book but it just didn't grab my attention, I also found the writing style stayed the same through the book, even when exciting things happened. I did really like the characters as they all had their own personalities and were all very likeable. I did like this book but it didn't captivate me how I wanted it too. 3 Stars
Jayce Cairo
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Listened to this via Spotify. It was a really immersive experience. The tone was very good, all the YA coming of age feels but the foreboding undertone was always present. You just know tragedy is around the corner. But I did appreciate the hopeful ending. Loved this.
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved the setting, the story had me captivated - that ending though!
Mary Judy
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This story unfolds with such a self-assured pace that the reader experiences every moment completely. The landscape, the people, the circumstances are painted with clear, pinpoint accuracy of language that creates not so much a book, as an experience. You believe and feel on a almost physical level that you are right there, part of the story. And what a story it is! The beautiful wildness and ensuing events mirror the 'growing-up' as it happens to Emer, along with all the trepidation, self-reali ...more
Denai Piscopo
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Not at all what I was expecting and kept changing and twisting until the very last pages. The main female character of Emer - what a girl. You feel for her at main points and for such a long girls and to go through so much in the space of only a couple months would make anyone stumble. The little town i feel won't ever be quite the same. I would love to see a follow on book and where her life goes next.
Thank you to NetGalley and Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick for allowing me to read
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
1970s Irish summer, cool, cool, cool and a dolphin called Rinn. This brilliant book has adventure, a bit of romance and deals with nationalism, identity, growing up and the transition to adulthood. It’s really fantastic. I hope everyone reads it!! 🐬
Lisa Hagan
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Nov 01, 2020
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Millie Scott Allen
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Feb 04, 2020
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Good Night To Read
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Oct 14, 2020
Vicky Conway
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Dec 19, 2020
Ellie Darracott
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Aug 30, 2020
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Nov 19, 2020
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I’m a Dubliner living in Wicklow and I’ve been making picturebooks for nearly thirty years and now I write novels too.

My husband, Michael Emberley, also writes and illustrates children's books, as does his dad, Ed Emberley, and his sister, Rebecca Emberley.

We blog at

My Facebook pages are:

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