Title: A Wish After Midnight
Author: Zetta Elliott
Genre: YA, Time Travel, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: March 5, 2009
Challenge: Calico Reaction's Book Club - September Challenge (Alternate)
This book is divided into three parts; the first being about Genna's life in Brooklyn. It is a struggle to say the least. Her family is financially drained, there is the threat of drugs and violence around her, and there are still racial undertones in the city. Genna doesn't fit it as much as she would want to. I thought that this first part of the book was a good way to introduce us to Genna and her life. It also creates and interesting parallel to 1863: there is, surprisingly, still a lot of changes to be made in society. Genna gets an after-school job babysitting for a white woman and ironically, that's the same job she gets in 1863.
The second part is based on Genna's life in 1863 Brooklyn. I personally was more interested in the past part of the story. This is probably because I like historical fiction so much and anything set in the past is attractive to me. I really was fascinated by all the information Elliott crams into one book without info dumping. She not only explores the lives of African-Americans of the time but also the racism against the Irish and the mistreatment of women as well.
I really felt immersed in this story and I think this has to do with the fact that it is told in first person by Genna. I thought it was very emotional and raw and real despite the fantastical premise.
Overall, I really liked this novel and I cannot wait for a sequel! The ending left in a pretty big cliffhanger and I'm really interested to see what happens in the present and the past. Also, I thought Elliott was just expert at creating a world where different characters have different opinions on everything and it serves to teach the reader about issues such as race in the present day and the past. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a gritty novel, a smart young adult read, or even just a great historical tale.