Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book Review: Midnight at the Electric, by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Midnight at the Electric, by Jodi Lynn Anderson book cover and review
Midnight at the Electric is a uniquely written story, narrated by three women in three different time periods.

Adri exists in the near future.  She has been chosen to go to the colony on Mars. (Don't worry, this book isn't science fiction.) As part of her final training, she will go to The Center in Kansas where the rocket will be launched.  She finds out she has a cousin, Lily, who is 107 years old and lives close to the Center.  Adri will stay with Lily while in her final preparations.

While Adri is staying with Lily (who is in the early stages of dementia), she finds letters from someone called Catherine, who is writing in 1934.  They are in the middle of the Dust Bowl, and Catherine, her mother, and her little sister are barely surviving. Ellis is their farm hand, who they hired after Catherine's father died.  Catherine is secretly in love with Ellis.

Catherine finds letters that were sent to her mother, Beth, by someone named Lenore.  When Cathy asks her mother about Lenore, all she gets is silence. It seems Lenore was Cathy's best friend when Cathy's parents decided to leave England to avoid the war.

Lenore is writing in 1919 and has lost her brother, Teddy, in the war.  Her entire family is in mourning.  She longs to go to America to be with Cathy and is saving her money to do so.  Lenore finds an old shack in their woods and begins to clean it up.  It is a place she can go for peace and quiet.  And she can pretend that Cathy is there.  Soon she realizes that someone else has been using the cabin.  And she meets James, who is a severely deformed veteran of the war who has left civilization and is surviving in the wild.

There are secrets, friendship, hardship, and a lot of soul-searching in Midnight at the Electric.  It is interesting how the stories finally fit together, and we find out, along with Adri, how these people are connected to Lily's house.  Oh, and there's a Galapagos turtle, who is probably older than Lily, that plays an important part in the story.

Midnight at the Electric is a mellow story that I got wrapped up in quickly.  The changes in time and perspective are easy, and with all the jumping around, the story flows well. I'm not sure which teens to push this one to -- I've already recommended it to some of my adult friends.  I think it will need to be pushed, but it's a wonderful story.

Published by HarperTeen, June 13, 2017
Copy obtained from the library
257 pages

Rating: 4/5

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  1. It's amazing how the author manages to write such a complex story in less than 300 pages. I, too, haven't found the right group of teens to try it but I think some of my advanced readers may interested in the originality of the plot.

  2. One criticism I read about this book was how little attention was actually paid to the event from which the title of the book was derived. I liked the book, too, though I think the Sci-Fi aspect was played down in favor of the historical stories.

    1. You are right - the title is kind of off. "The Electric" wasn't really a big part of the story. And I didn't expect Sci-Fi, I was surprised that in the first couple of pages, you realize this girl is going to Mars! I didn't want others to be off-put by that beginning.

  3. This story (stories) sound like a good one filled with emotion, historical interest, and good drama.

  4. Sounds intriguing! I'm glad the transitions are easy to follow. Sometimes these kinds of plots are so confusing that I stop reading. I added this one to my TBR list on Goodreads. Thanks for the rec!


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