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A Wish After Midnight

(Genna & Judah #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  424 ratings  ·  87 reviews
Genna Colon desperately wants to escape from a drug-infested world of poverty, and every day she wishes for a different life. One day Genna's wish is granted and she is instantly transported back to Civil War-era Brooklyn.
Paperback, 244 pages
Published 2009 by CreateSpace
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3.62  · 
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 ·  424 ratings  ·  87 reviews

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Naz (Read Diverse Books)
Jun 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Visit my blog for the in-depth review: Read Diverse Books

A Wish After Midnight is one of the most thrilling reading experiences I’ve had this year. Author Zetta Elliott writes with an urgency that informs the reader early on that this will be an important story. It is book 1 of the series, the sequel having been released earlier this year. Given the promising start, I’m eager to see where the story heads.

The novel is a work of speculative fiction, in the spirit of Octavia Butler’s Kindred. The t
Nia Forrester
This book is the standout of all the books I've read this year. It follows Genna, a 15-year old girl in modern day Brooklyn, living with her mother and siblings in the projects, dreaming of a better life for them all. Genna watches her brother and sister make bad choices, all the while planning her own escape. The one bright spark in Genna's life, apart from her baby brother Tyjuan, is Judah, a young Jamaican immigrant at her school who teaches her that there is beauty in her dark skin, and her ...more
Michelle (Sherbet Lemon)
I found "A Wish After Midnight" to have a slower start than what I typically prefer. The most intriguing aspect of the story and when it started to really take off was, after all, the travelling back in time. As much as I found the stark realities of Genna's life interesting (when contrasting them with my own experiences growing up), I think it went on for much longer than was strictly necessary.

I really liked Genna as a character. I found her to be intelligent, strong and highly adaptable. She
Alexis Villery
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
Genna Colon lives in Brooklyn and faces struggles that many teens face in a single parent household where there is just enough to get by. Genna's brother gets arrested and her sister runs away. All the attention is focused on everyone else and Genna is left to take care of her baby brother and continue to be the "good" kid. Feeling lonely and distraught Genna wishes for a different life and is taken back in time to Civil War-era Brooklyn where she is mistaken for a runaway slave. As you can imag ...more
Lisa Cresswell
Dec 31, 2011 rated it liked it
I've changed my initial review to three stars due to issues I had with the plot and the theme. A four or five star book shouldn't leave a reader feeling this way, in my opinion. I really did enjoy the story, especially when Genna went back in time. The time period, New York City in the 1850's, was one I didn't know much about. I found myself wishing the whole book had taken place in this one time period, rather than including the time travel. As some other reviewers have mentioned, there's no ex ...more
Laura Martinelli
Before I get into the review proper, I need to touch on the fact that I had a privileged upbringing and schooling. For me, learning about the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement basically boiled down to “Slavery is Bad, Racism is Bad, but Racism is basically over now except for These Racist People but They are Bad too.” It hasn’t been until the last few years or so that I’ve now just realized that no, I’ve been raised in a society that’s still pretty racist and that I’m guilty of a lot of no ...more
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the stories in both centuries, but never figured out how they fit together. It was as if I was reading one book, stopped in the middle, and then picked up a differnt book and started it on page 40. The characters and plots in both times were well-drawn and compelling, but the disjointed construction of the book as a whole left me wondering what was going on and the point of the time travel. Based on the end, I assume there are more books and so maybe it would make sense eventually. But ...more
Sam Musher
This! This is what I was looking for when I started the Diverse Authors Project. I bought an ARC at a kid's sidewalk sale in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. I'd already made up my mind to buy something -- it was a books 'n toys sale to earn money for a new bookshelf, c'mon! -- and the kid said this was good. It's right up my alley, being historical with a fantasy element, but had never been on my radar because Elliott self-pubbed. It came out again under Amazon Encore, so that's the ARC I have.

This i
Jamie Dacyczyn
Oct 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Eh, 2.5 stars. This book read very much like a teen version of "Kindred". A black girl, Genna, living in Brooklyn gets mysteriously transported back in time to the civil war era, where obviously being non-white is kind of dangerous.

Despite the interesting premise, this one falls short. There didn't seem to be any purpose to the time travel or explanation of why/how it happened. Genna's presence didn't seem to have an effect of the events taking place in the past, and it didn't seem like she deve
May 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, fantasy, ya
"A Wish After Midnight" is a slice-of-life story exploring what life is like for poor blacks now and what it was like in 1863 in Brooklyn from the Emancipation Proclamation to the New York Draft Riots. I'm calling it a slice-of-life book because it doesn't really have an ending or even a resolution of some difficulty. I would have enjoyed it more if it had a more typical problem-resolution story format.

The novel was written in first person, present tense. In part one, Genna told the reader about
Fifteen-year-old Genna lives in Brooklyn in a cramped apartment in a crime-filled neighborhood and dreams of a better future and a career as a psychiatrist. Her only consolations are her boyfriend Judah, who's from Jamaica and wants to go back to Africa, and her nearly daily visits to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where she tosses a few coins into the fountain and makes a wish. One night, when she flees into the garden after a fight with her mother, she is transported back in time to Civil-War-er ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by AdrienneBe for

All Genna Colon wants is to find a way out of her current life. She doesn't want to win the lotto or meet a vampire. No, all Genna wants is to leave Brooklyn. She can't stand living in a crowded and dark apartment with her druggie brother, overworked mother, estranged sister, and innocent baby brother.

Genna wants to go to college, and she is fighting to make that goal come true. To her mother, Genna is the family's only potential for a better life. To h
Dixie Keyes
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best "trip-back-in-time" novels I've read. From 21st century Brooklyn to Civil-War Era Brooklyn, the author effectively draws us with the main character Genna, from present to past. We feel the violence she feels, the love she feels, and the hope. We are not spared the horrors experienced by slaves and former slaves during that time period in New York--Elliott includes it all-- historically researched riots that happened during that time; details about Irish immigrants; the an ...more
LeRay Kious
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviews
Zetta Elliott is a fantastic author. She has a Ph. D in American Studies and writes not only novels, but poetry, plays, and essays as well. She bluntly writes about racism and discrimination, shining a spotlight on issues that many people hide away in the shadows. She says in her bio that she writes the books that she wishes she could have had to read as a child.
All that being said, I'm currently traumatized. I just finished reading "A Wish After Midnight" and I haven't had time to process eve
Guy Gonzalez
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Guy by: Sarah Rettger
Shelves: self-published
Genna Colon, an ambitious half-Black, half-Panamanian 15-year-old, inadvertently wishes her way out of modern-day Brooklyn and into the middle of Civil War-era Brooklyn, and Zetta Elliot makes it work by focusing on her coming-of-age story and keeping the time travel hook in the background.

Despite some minor plot holes and one-dimensional supporting characters, Genna's voice and experience rings true throughout and Elliott deftly handles the historical setting, tackling the question almost every
Miss Susan
May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Guys check out this cover, is it not wonderfully attractive? :D I know they say don't judge a book by it's cover but a nice one definitely doesn't hurt.

Anyways! This is a YA time travel story in the same vein as Octavia Butler's Kindred. It's tight first person POV which really only works when you've got a good protagonist to carry it. Luckily this does! I really liked Genna and got invested in both her lives: present and past. I was a bit sad at each changeover actually, Elliott does such a goo
Davina Bell
I picked this novel up from my local library in the YA section after it caught my attention. After reading the synopsis, I was excited because I really enjoyed Kindred. This book was nothing like like it! That comparison should not have been made!! I felt the novel was lacking and missing something important to make it flow better. It dragged, and many times I put it down. IT was a poor attempt at time travel, but unfortunately, I have read better.
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book transported me into the 1860's and I didn't want to go at first (not because of the writing - just because of all hate in the country right now!) And the story line was so real. I hope there Zetta Elliott is writing a series as this story of America needs to be told and retold to our youth so that they understand the awful construct of race in America.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is very much in the spirit of Octavia Butler's Kindred, but geared toward a younger audience, though it sacrifices none of the harsh reality and depth.

We follow 15 year old Genna, who lives in a Brooklyn ghetto, with her single mother and siblings. She's got dreams and goals, works hard, and is a good kid, but everything around her is limiting, and no one involved in her life really encourages her efforts. Her mother is bitter and jaded, she's vehemently self-defeating and counter-productiv
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book blew me away in the same way Kindred did. I wouldn’t be able to say which one I prefer because despite having the same premise, the whole story was so different but there were similarities.

Genna was quiet and suspicious but so proud. I loved how she had such big dreams and she didn’t let it phase her when she was in the past. She didn’t give any of the characters a pass simply because they were in a different era (Martha and the unforgivable word, Dr Brant’s general patronising air) an
Claudia Black
Aug 01, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Reading through the beginning was sheer agony. The narrator’s voice is painful to listen too. I have a 16 year old and the voice reminded me more of a whinny toddler. I listened to the book at times without headphones and even my children and a friend thought that the performance was so bad, we had to turn it off. I literally forced myself to keep going because I was hoping for a good story somewhere but overall felt disappointed. I haven’t taken that long to finish any of my last books.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it

Genna Colon lives in Brooklyn and faces struggles that many teens face in a single parent household where there is just enough to get by. Genna's brother gets arrested and her sister runs away. All the attention is focused on everyone else and Genna is left to take care of her baby brother and continue to be the good kid. Feeling lonely and distraught Genna wishes for a different life and is taken back in time to Civil War-era Brooklyn where she is mistaken do a runaway slave. But this is not wh
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
As an adult I enjoyed reading the book. But, as a parent I felt there were some issues that were brought up that should not be in a book for a 12 yr old. There was mentioned prostitutes which I understand was part of her life in Brooklyn but a young person in the suburbs would not know about.
There was a thought about extramarital sex between the two young people when it wasn't really necessary. Genna thought it would be a good tool to soothe her boyfriend , Judah.
The language was realistic b
Jherane Patmore

This book is every black sci-fi geek’s worst nightmare- accidentally time travelling to the past. I really enjoyed Genna’s inner monologue because I remember having very similar arguments with myself as a teenager about race, beauty, education and self worth. There are a few gaps in the plot that I think could’ve been handled more smoothly but all in all I enjoyed this thrilling historical speculative work of art.
I’d recommend this to fans of Octavia Butler
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At some point don't we all wish to be someone else...

The story lagged at the beginning but as it went on it definitely got better and more interesting. I'm not much for historical fiction the magical elements made it intriguing.
Yvonne Edwards
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy time travel it makes me believe that somewhere out there is a version of me living their best life. This book told the story from a real point of view things that are rarely told about the feeling of how some girls really feel about themselves. Congratulations to the author on this hit book
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ownvoices
Powerful, relatable, historical--sequel?
Lots of interesting historical details- but the story is abrupt, the two worlds need to be woven together better, and the story ended without enough of a resolution.
Jun 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
When I first saw A Wish After Midnight, what stood out for me aside from the beautiful cover design (front and back are both lovely) and the name Zetta Elliott (I love her picture book, Bird), were the words “In the tradition of Octavia Butler’s Kindred.” Kindred, which tells the tale of a modern black woman who is forced back in time to the antebellum South, is one of my favorite books of all time and Butler is a brilliant author (be sure to check her out at some point!). Though there are some ...more
Apr 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
15 yr old Genna lives in a one bedroom apartment with her mother and three siblings. Her mother struggles to make enough money so the family can move to a better neighborhood. Genna does her part by staying out of trouble, getting good grades, looking after younger brother, Tyjuan. She finds solace in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Genna befriends another Garden regular Mr. Christiansen an older white man. Mr Christiansen seemed like a nice man at first I couldn't understand why his appearance wa ...more
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I’m a Black feminist writer of poetry, plays, essays, novels, and stories for children. I was born and raised in Canada, but have lived in the US for 20 years. I earned my PhD in American Studies from NYU in 2003; I have taught at Ohio University, Louisiana State University, Mount Holyoke College, Hunter College, Bard High School Early College, and Borough of Manhattan Community College. My poetry ...more

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