Review: The Midnights by Sarah Nicole Smetana

9:30 PM

The Midnights by Sarah Nicole Smetana | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

 As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Edelweiss by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

For the first time in ages, I felt truly captivated by a YA contemporary novel. Lately, meaning around the time that I picked up The Midnights, I felt as though I were in a never-ending reading slump when it came to its genre. There's something in Sarah Nicole Smetana's prose that packs a serious punch and kept me riveted from the first few pages, effectively knocking me out of my slump and moving me. I think that's the first thing readers need to know about The Midnights--it's moving, it's a true coming of age story that provokes thought. And if you want to feel something, this is the book for you.

Although the plotlines aren't at all similar, beyond the loss and the weaving of music through the pages, there's just something in The Midnights that feels emotionally reminiscent to If I Stay by Gayle Forman. It is undeniably its own story and by far one of my favourite YA releases of 2018. This is, naturally, due to Sarah Nicole Smetana's unflinching honesty and ability to tell a story. As she writes Susannah, you feel as though her words command you to listen.

There won't be a dry eye upon finishing the book. At least, in my case, there wasn't. I was just deeply and thoroughly moved. While I hadn't been in the same shoes as our lead character, I felt connected to her. From the good, and the bad, Susannah is complexly human. I loved the elements of music in The Midnights because it's something that I can, personally, relate to easiest of all.

As for everything else in the story--there's so much to be told. From its setting to its cast of characters the novel is a pure image of youth and family. My only complaint is that there were moments when you felt a certain grip slipping in the prose but at the same time, this also felt very organic. I scarcely remembered its flaws by the end of the novel because I felt so many other things whilst reading it.

The truth is, you don't need to be in Susannah's shoes to feel her story. You see it in the prose, you see it as she learns and makes mistakes and grows and mourns and loves. The Midnights is the coming of age story you've been looking for.

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