Luke Reynolds's Reviews > The Midnights

The Midnights by Sarah Nicole Smetana
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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 attached to the characters or the situations they go through. Also, why do the main plot points take a while to happen? IDK.
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Reading Progress

June 20, 2017 – Shelved
June 20, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
June 13, 2018 – Shelved as: the-tbr-pile
June 13, 2018 – Shelved as: teen-fiction
June 13, 2018 – Shelved as: realistic-fiction
July 11, 2018 –
page 10
2.4%
July 11, 2018 –
page 17
4.09%
July 11, 2018 –
page 20
4.81% "The first chapter of this kind of missed the mark for me, but I’m really liking the second chapter because the dialogue flow is really good and the writing has clicked! Yay!
I’ll definitely need to give this more time to see if I like it, but right now it’s good. The book began with Susannah playing with her dad on guitar for the first time in a flashback."
July 11, 2018 –
page 20
4.81% "Then we cut to the present in that same studio with Susannah working on a song her father likes but can’t help but critiquing its lack of bravery. His daughter needs to open up.
Susannah reports to work at the coffee shop, where she shares cute banter with her boss and allows us to meet her great friends. Both of them are in student council, and I’m getting the sense they’re hiding something from her."
July 11, 2018 –
page 20
4.81% "Then we cut to the present in that same studio with Susannah working on a song her father likes but can’t help but critiquing its lack of bravery. His daughter needs to open up.
Susannah reports to work at the coffee shop, where she shares cute banter with her boss and allows us to meet her great friends. Both of them are in student council, and I’m getting the sense they’re hiding something from her."
July 11, 2018 –
page 20
4.81% "One is super into filmmaking and film score, while the other was gone for the summer because she was in Maui with her parents. The former is a boy and may be crush material.
An old crush of Susannah’s walks into the coffee shop and is invited to the female friend’s big summer blow-out party."
July 12, 2018 –
page 30
7.21% "Susannah’s dad locks himself in the garage for three days, and despite Susannah’s new idea for a song, it vanishes.
Susannah’s mom and Dad have a fraught relationship compounded when it’s revealed the dad takes pills for headaches and the mom warns him not to take them while drunk. What’s going on?
The last paragraph of the chapter was good."
July 12, 2018 –
page 30
7.21% "Susannah seems stuck in this stagnant house, wanting to change but knowing she can’t because all she wants is to make her father proud and do what she loves: music. But her mom’s wanting her to go to college and do what she couldn’t."
July 13, 2018 –
page 34
8.17% "Susannah and her dad walk up to a cliff as the sun’s setting, where her dad starts talking about the guitar he wanted as a kid that he managed to get for Christmas. He snuck into the closet before his parents were supposed to give it to him so he could play it, but his parents lost interest.
This is the first time Susannah’s hearing about her dad’s past. Thank the pills and beer and a sickness."
July 13, 2018 –
page 34
8.17% "I have an uneasy feeling."
July 14, 2018 –
page 50
12.02% "AH THIS BOOK IS GETTING REALLY GOOD! Part of me wants to reread that first chapter to see if it might’ve been a fluke because the writing has gotten so smooth and lovely and lyrical, and the whole thing is very enchanting.
Almost done with this chapter."
July 14, 2018 –
page 53
12.74% "When thy walk back from the cliff, Susannah’s dad runs into these two college-aged guys who are essentially his groupies, the last believers of his band. Susannah thought they were gone, so when they say they want to cover her dad’s classic love song that was dedicated to her mom, Susannah is taken aback because it feels like her father is replacing her musical talent with people he shouldn’t necessarily care about."
July 14, 2018 –
page 53
12.74% "She decides to make her own cover of Love Honey, but she gets impatient and decides to go to Cora’s party instead. Dolled up in a dress borrowed from her mother, she ends up getting drunk and kisses Nick, which she stops because of Cora. Nick and Cora did have one interaction going on, but Susannah quickly realized Nick doesn’t feel the same way Cora ever will. She runs out of the house and gets sick."
July 14, 2018 –
page 53
12.74% "The next morning, Susannah changes out of the dress and finds her dad in the kitchen, where he talks about hanging out with the groupies in the studio. Susannah is deeply hurt because the studio is their sacred place, and she snaps at him when he tells her he feels like things are gonna be different and stuff will change."
July 15, 2018 –
page 59
14.18%
July 15, 2018 –
page 75
18.03%
July 15, 2018 –
page 79
18.99%
July 15, 2018 –
page 81
19.47% "Susannah spends most of her first week of senior year either ignoring friends or getting ignored. Her dad misses a doctor’s appointment and the family may move to Phoenix because her dad’s boss offered him a job.
Then brush fires start, Susannah’s family doesn’t evacuate, Susannah’s dad goes for a drive, and his car ends up turning over and crashing into the guardrail and electricity pole on the highway."
July 15, 2018 –
page 81
19.47% "A possible motive may be suicide due to a lack of skid marks on the highway, but no one is certain. However, Susannah and her mother are completely shocked by the death, so her mother gives her husband a simple cremation and Susannah tears down the family’s record collection before putting it upright.
This entire book feels dreamy because of its excellent prose."
July 15, 2018 –
page 81
19.47% "I’m getting Sweetbitter flashbacks because the writing style and the way the book flows is very literary and adult (Smetana talked about this in a book launch video I found on YouTube), but I find the writing of The Midnights a lot less awkward and more lyrical, which makes it more immersive. The past tense does add some distance, but it creates the perfect hazy escape."
July 15, 2018 –
page 81
19.47% "I can easily see this being adapted into a movie or television show with the retro charm of Lady Bird (I also had this opinion about Ramona Blue but did not voice it because my brother is getting sick of me talking about adaptations LOL)."
July 16, 2018 –
page 91
21.88% "Susannah enters a funk where she helps her mother around the house (starting with the garden) and gives up on school altogether even though Cara gives her all her missed assignments.
The dad’s ashes come in this tacky urn that’s swapped out for a coffee tin."
July 17, 2018 –
page 92
22.12%
July 17, 2018 –
page 105
25.24% "So looks like the ash-transferring to the coffee tin was a lie. Susannah throws her father’s ashes over the cliff while her mom watches, and they leave the tacky urn on a rock there.
Susannah has an item of her dad’s the crematorium left unburned: a matchbox that has a place and an address: Ellory Plains, IA.
Lance and Travis are holding a vigil outside of the house after the dad’s death leaked."
July 17, 2018 –
page 105
25.24% "Susannah calls on Nick for a late-night visit, and rather than hook up again like the party, the two look up and talk about that fourth grade Career Day performance Susannah’s dad did, and how that inspired so many people in that room.
Susannah also reconsiders her future after Nick says they’ll go to the same college together, and she recognizes she can act out on her feelings then."
July 17, 2018 –
page 105
25.24% "Her heart might yearn, but she knows better than to try now when her life’s a mess. Smart cookie.
Next chapter, Susannah’s on the hunt for the Vital Spades’ alive ex-members and their whereabouts."
July 18, 2018 –
page 115
27.64% "That awkward moment when a main plot point happens a fourth of the way into the book.
Why am I now debating on whether I should finish this or not? It’s a mystery."
July 18, 2018 – Shelved as: dnfs
July 18, 2018 – Shelved as: lost-interest
July 18, 2018 – Shelved as: my-2018-dnfs
July 18, 2018 – Shelved as: could-have-been-better

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