Lauren's Reviews > The Midnights

The Midnights by Sarah Nicole Smetana
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 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 the book first begins, Susannah is living a relatively normal life. She works at a coffee shop, has a crush on her guy best friend, and loves the midnight jam sessions her and her father have. Susannah is content with her life. She doesn't feel the need to ask for more, to work for more. She's not worried about college. She's just worried about coming up with the next great lyric. However, everything changes in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, her father- her idol, her rock - is gone, and she's exiled to Orange, CA to live with a grandmother she didn't know she had and a mother she barely recognizes as the days go on.

I'll be honest: I didn't love Susannah at first. I didn't like how she treated her mother, or how selfish she could be when it came to putting her needs before others. Suffice to say it took me a long time to warm up to her; however, while I didn't always love her attitude and choices, there was something so incredibly compelling about her voice, something that made me keep reading, no matter the situation. Over time, I began to understand Susannah more. I began to see her passion for music, why she was so willing to put it before everything else. It was her "thing" as well as her tie to her father, and I gave her dedication props. When Susannah moves to Orange, she has the opportunity to reinvent herself. Suddenly, she's in with the cool, elusive kids, the ones who drink, sneak into bars, and have midnight parties at the beach. Susannah slowly transforms, letting herself being influenced by people who shouldn't have say. I found this transformation to be interesting as well as realistic. I think it will resolve with anyone who's ever slowly changed a bits about themselves only to wonder later why they did it. By the end, I was happy I had accompanied Susannah on this journey. I was proud of who she had become and how she had transformed her life.

This book won't be for everyone. It's a slow novel, focusing on music, relationships, and grieving more than action and swoon-worthy romance. However, it worked for me, and for those like me who like novels that are character drive, I think it will work for them as well.

I appreciated the amount of time Sarah put into development here. First, she did an amazing job of developing the California setting. It was dreamy and evocative and fit perfectly with the feel of the book. I can't imagine this book being set any place but Orange. Second, Sarah did an amazing job of developing the relationships to be found here. Over the course of the book, Susannah begins to reevaluate her relationships. She begins to wonder what made her father so special to her, what made her so willing to overlook his flaws, and what she can do to be close to him even though he's gone. Her relationship with her mother is challenging. She has a lot of resentment towards her and she doesn't understand the majority of her decisions. Their relationship had many ups and downs, so many highs and lows, but there was something special to be found there. I also appreciated that there wasn't one guy. Instead, Susannah bounces from guy to guy over the course of the book, not because she can't decide on one, because each one feels perfect at the time. I found this to be realistic, because you don't always find the one in high school, and that's okay. Each relationship is just a building block in a sense.

Overall, The Midnights is a slow-burn, evocative novel. I look forward to reading more by Sarah in the future.

*ARC was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

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Reading Progress

October 4, 2017 – Shelved
October 4, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
January 13, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018-debuts
March 3, 2018 – Started Reading
March 3, 2018 – Finished Reading

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