Thursday, July 10, 2014

One Past Midnight (review)

2.5/5 stars

When looking at my friends ratings on Goodreads, I feel like the outlier on One Past Midnight (Goodreads | Amazon). Part of me wonders what I missed.  I can't say the book is terrible or hard to read, but there are some very integral parts that I just don't believe and a relationship that's blatantly insta-love.

One Past Midnight is the story of Sabine, a girl who lives two lives.  At midnight every night she transitions from one world into another.  Where she lives, who she hangs out, who her parents are, is entirely different in each world.  In one world, she's the rich girl who has the perfect life.  In the second world she's a poor girl who's parents work too hard.  Because of the secret she's forced to keep, she struggles to build deep relationships or feel like she's truly living. For her whole life, there have been certain rules between the two worlds.  But suddenly, things start to change and Sabine realizes that maybe the rules no longer apply.

First I'll say the good about this book.  It's unafraid to ask big questions about what it means to be alive. Sabine's struggles to figure out who she is in light of her two lives is the strong point of this book.

However, for me, what doesn't work outweighs the good.  First, there's when Sabine tells her poor-life parents, a father who admittedly is distracted and not invested in his family life, and expects them to believe her. The whole scenario doesn't seem realistic, not like something a teenager would do it.  It's an important plot point in the book and I just can't quite believe it.

Another problem was the instalove.  I could see how some could argue that it didn't happen instantly.  But really it does.  Yes the first meeting between the two is the typical argumentative flirting you see in these type of stories, but Sabine pretty immediately starts day-dreaming and having feelings for a guy she barely knows.  From there, like it always does, the relationship escalates quickly. The love story is too central to the plot to ignore or forgive.  It's not some side-plot to a greater story, but a key element of Sabine's story.

This is a book that I'm sure will work for some people.  But for me, believability in characters and relationship trumps whatever good it might have going on.

I received an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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