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One Past Midnight Hardcover – July 22, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Sabine has everything: the perfect house, the perfect friends, the perfect car. Everything is exactly as it should be for the 18-year-old queen bee reigning supreme in her wealthy Boston suburb. However, every night at midnight, she Shifts to her other life where she has nothing: an increasingly difficult family life, hard relationships with peers, an unrewarding after school job in an as-yet-to-be gentrified Boston suburb. Sabine has two lives—living each day twice—and has kept it a secret for as long as she can remember. That is, until she meets Ethan. By developing a rich and nuanced mythology of Sabine's experience, Shirvington invites readers to consider what it means to struggle with the social pressures of being a teenager. The short, action-packed chapters move readers swiftly from day to day and life to life. The story is fresh and focused and would be a welcome addition. A complex and compelling tale.—Pete Smith, Pioneer Valley Performing Arts CPS, South Hadley, MA
What if you had to choose between the perfect guy and the perfect life? Every night at midnight, Sabine “shifts,” getting pulled endlessly back and forth between two parallel but very different lives. One is defined by struggle: her parents work long hours to make ends meet, and Sabine’s expectations of life are low. The other is defined by privilege: she drives an Audi and is starting Harvard in the fall. Exhausted by the constant stress of living an unwanted double life, Sabine begins a dangerous experiment, seeking a way to stop shifting. Just when it appears that she has found a solution, she meets Ethan, and choosing between lives suddenly becomes impossible. This psychological mystery will hook readers with its compelling protagonist and philosophical questions. Don’t get caught up in the mechanics of shifting; it exists only as a point from which teens can explore classic themes of choice, responsibility, and self-actualization. This is perfect for readers who like to ponder life’s deeper questions, and the romance adds a nice spark. Grades 9-12. --Summer Hayes
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Top Customer Reviews
I found the concept refreshing for this genre, and I think the main characters and their relationships, for the most part, were satisfactorily fleshed out. I particularly appreciate the author's successful integration of family dynamics--an element that is so often lacking in this genre.
Now, if you are the type of reader who questions the plausibility of novels to the extent that it interferes with your enjoyment of the books, this might not be the story for you. As another reviewer mentioned, certain aspects of the plot require you to suspend your disbelief. Once I gave myself permission to do that, I became immersed in the plot, and I realized that the (often heavy) issues dealt with in the book are in fact very real--uncomfortably so.
On that note, I think it is important to be aware before reading the book that it unabashedly confronts topics of alcoholism, drug abuse, battery/sexual assault, and suicide. In some cases, it probes these controversial issues quite deeply, and even refrains, in most instances, from forcing moral lessons or judgments on the reader.
I want this review to be as spoiler-free as possible, but I will say that I applaud the author's relativist approach to such sensitive topics--not because I condone the actions themselves, by any means--but because the book demonstrates the mental anguish of those affected. In that sense, some of the themes addressed in this book are very timely.
As a reader, I've gotten so accustomed to the same set of recycled plots being shuffled through different settings, characters and smut-ratings that it's both shocking and gratifying to find myself so affected by One Past Midnight & Sabine & Ethan's unique story that I'm still wiping tears say from my eyes and hoping for a sequel as well as a couple of prequels about her earlier life.
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