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Together at Midnight Hardcover – January 2, 2018
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“Castle expands the story from a feel-good romance into a reflection on what makes us human.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Castle’s easy prose alternates between [the characters’] perspectives and is interspersed with brief, poignant insights from the strangers they help along the way... Feel-good holiday fare.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“A heartwarming, tender, and wistful look at the power of goodwill.” (Booklist)
“Castle crafts relatable, endearingly flawed characters that readers will love. This book captures the magical essence of winter in New York City... It is a story that builds empathy and encourages teens to connect more with those in their own world but also with the world as a whole.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
“Recommended for collections where realistic fiction such as Eleanor & Park or Jennifer Castle’s other novels are popular.” (School Library Journal)
About the Author
Jennifer Castle's first novel, The Beginning of After, was named an American Library Association Best Fiction for Young Adults selection and a Chicago Public Library "Best of the Best" Book. She wrote many unproduced movie and TV scripts before returning to her first love, fiction . . . but she's still hooked on film and the way we can find and tell our stories with images. She lives with her family in New York's Hudson Valley.
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When Max and Kendall witness a terrible, tragic accident, they’re at a loss. They don’t know how to move on from such a quick yet monumental moment, and to make matters worse: they feel as if they could have prevented it. Thus begins their random acts of kindness across New York City, and from that moment starts an incredible journey – one that changes Max and Kendall’s lives for the better.
When it comes down to it Kendall and Max are in an incredibly similar place: they’re at a crossroads in life, not sure of what to do next. Kendall has recently returned from a semester abroad, and she's feeling incredibly unsure in her skin. How she can she return to normalcy after being so happy with her adventures? Max, on the other hand, has chosen to put off college for a year. On the surface, he says he did it for his ex-girlfriend - she needed him around - but deep down he knows he did because he's afraid, afraid of the future and what it might meant for him.
I loved them both equally. They were so incredibly easy to relate to it. I admired Kendall for his kindness as well as loyalty. She's the kind of person you'd be lucky to have as a friend. What I loved even more was the fact that Kendall was her own person. She didn't always do or say the right thing - sometimes she would stop randomly to write something important for her future novel down - but she so completely embraced it. She was more fearless than she gave herself credit for. Max, on the other hand, I feel was the more cynical out of the two, and I think most of it had to do with being afraid. I could relate to that - change is scary, especially when you're in that weird time between high school and college.
Together Max and Kendall were a dynamic duo. I loved watching them explore New York City together and perform random acts of kindness. Better yet, I loved the changes that resulted from their adventures. Both became more confident and daring as well as helped each other find comfort in the unknown.
Another aspect of Together at Midnight I enjoyed was the multiple POVs used. Jennifer included perspectives from Max, Kendall, and all the people they helped or tried to help on their journey. All the POVs flew perfectly together, and I especially loved seeing the viewpoints of the strangers. It added such a personal touch to the novel, and I especially liked when it gave more clarification to a situation, i.e. why wouldn't that woman accept help?
I also enjoyed the slow-burn feel of the romance. When the novel begins, Kendall has been flirting via email with a guy she previously knew and Max is somewhat still tied up with his ex-girlfriend. Over the course of the book, however, Kendall and Max begin to see something in each other, something that begins to change their feelings towards their other relationships. Honestly, at times I really wondered if they would or wouldn't, but in the end, I was so incredibly happy with the conclusion.
In all, Together at Midnight is another stellar release from Jennifer Castle. I said this when I first finished this book and it still rings true: my heart is so incredibly full from this novel. Seriously, it's beautifully written, thought provoking, and hopefully...it's actually inspired me to start my own random acts of kindness in 2018.
Sometimes you have to take a step, and sometimes you have to take a leap, and either way, all that really matters is that you're not standing still
Together at Midnight is about making choices: good, bad, and indifferent. Everyone in this novel is making a choice. Every. One. There is no escaping the choices made, but the consequences of said choices are always made clear to the reader--even when the main characters are completely oblivious.
Always having access to the aforementioned information added depth and understanding to the reading of this book; such omniscience was not only a plus, but it also made me acutely aware of how often we exist in this world, being nice, acting, kind, but not always knowing if we're making a difference--hence the "leap of faith".
In this story, Max, Kendall, and Jamie witness a tragic accident. After the victim is carted away to an unknown fate, each of these characters lament over what they could have done to have changed Luna's (the victim) fate.
Guilt-ridden, and feeling powerless over the consequences of their inaction, Max and Kendall decide--based on the playful "dare" of a stranger--to perform seven 'Random Acts of Kindness'; the seven represents the number of persons who stood by, and bore witness to the accident, and did nothing.
The kind acts performed by Max and Kendall would have been easily dismissed if we'd only been privy to the acts themselves--leaving us all to assume the best, or worst, of each kindness. However, what Castle so brilliantly does--and what truly makes this book an even deeper discussion piece--is make the reader aware of how each act truly made its recipient feel.
That is knowledge and insight only we receive. Kendall and Max are only allowed to see the tip of the iceberg, not the depth beneath it.
One of my favorite instances of how being privy to such knowledge was invaluable, to the interpretation of how the reaction to a kindness can be perceived and misinterpreted, involved a grandmother and her granddaughter.
I won't give anything away, but the way it played out for Kendall and Max, versus the reason behind the grandmother's reaction, spoke so powerfully to how unfortunate it is to not have access to the "Big Picture"; Sometimes, when you don't understand the whole story, you take it personal.
In such instances, the way you process that feeling of being lashed out against can make or break your view of the world and how you decide to move within its boundaries, and whether it hardens you or strengthens your resolve.
Most people choose the former and that is why so many of us decide to consistently "mind our business". Castle teaches a firm lesson about how unfortunate that truly is without having to say much at all.
This was an easy read with a beautiful message: learn to be kind in an unkind world; kind not only to others, but also to yourself, as well.
Most recent customer reviews
Together at Midnight is a New York story that reminded me of a few others that happen before Christmas.Read more