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Review: A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliott

>>Thursday, September 30, 2010

Title: A Wish After Midnight
Author: Zetta Elliott
Pages: 258
Genre: YA, Time Travel, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: March 5, 2009
Rating: A
Challenge: Calico Reaction's Book Club - September Challenge (Alternate)

A Wish After Midnight is the story of 15 year old Genna Colon and her turbulent life in Brooklyn, New York. Her days are filled with school (which she is very good at), taking care of her younger brother, Tyjuan, and dealing with her older brother and sister. Her father left the family when they were little; their tiny apartment is crowded with five people. Then Genna meets Judah, a Jamaican boy who teaches her about her African roots and who is also there to support her. Suddenly, she is thrown into a new time: the year of 1863. There she learns about America during the civil war the hard way and exposes us to the daily life of African-Americans, the Irish and American people of Brooklyn 1863.

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.

1 comment:

  1. I first read about this book on calico_reaction's blog and put it on my amazon.com wishlist. Now, after reading your review I am -very- much looking forward to reading it! :)



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