Liz Overberg's Reviews > The Midnights

The Midnights by Sarah Nicole Smetana
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bookshelves: ya-contemporary

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.

Then, the unthinkable happens. Susannah's dad dies in a single car crash, and Susannah's mother moves them out of LA and into her old family home, with the WASPy grandmother Susannah had always believed was dead. Susannah must face her senior year in a new town, without her dad or her friends.

Through happenstance (and a little work on her own part) Susannah immediately makes friends with a girl-who-hangs-with-a-band. The girl, Lynn, is simultaneously troubled, moody, wonderful, supportive, captivating, and a mess. (Think John Green's Alaska.) Susannah is thrilled to be accepted into the band's universe and to have a chance to share her songwriting with them and perform as part of the band.

The primary conflicts come from Susannah's various romantic entanglements and her confusion about her own feelings, tension between her and her mother, and her struggling to face the loss of her father. There is plenty of drama, a ton of underage drinking, drug use, sex, driving under the influence (which we can intuit from descriptions of substances imbibed and smoked and statements of who is driving later), and lying to parents without consequences. The "rock star" life is often glamorized.

I think fans of Sarah Dessen might enjoy this novel, although the romantic situation is a little complicated so it might not appeal to those who prefer a clear "ship."

Personally, I was bored throughout, and found myself annoyed at Susannah's risky behavior and her horribly angsty song lyrics. Maybe 16-year-old me would have liked this better.
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Reading Progress

March 4, 2018 – Started Reading
March 4, 2018 – Shelved
March 5, 2018 – Shelved as: ya-contemporary
March 5, 2018 – Finished Reading

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