I’m not always a fan of a book with more than two or three narrators, so I was a bit wary of this story about a group of teens at a crossroads before and during New Year. But I ended up a fan, and recommend this to those who enjoyed another popular YA book. Read more in my Review of Together at Midnight below!
Published on January 2, 2018 by Harper Teen
Source: eARC from publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads: What does it really mean to be kind ? High school senior Kendall, who just returned from a life-changing semester in Europe, and Max, who is drifting his way through a gap year before college, struggle with these questions when they witness a tragic accident in New York City. Wracked with guilt, the two accept a dare to perform random acts of kindness to strangers. The challenge pulls these two teens, who have a history together from back home, closer and closer as they explore a vibrant city filled with other people’s stories and secrets. Kendall and Max can’t deny their growing bond, even though they both have other romantic entanglements and uncertain futures. As the clock counts down on New Year’s Eve, will they find themselves together at midnight?
Review of Together at Midnight
There’s something fun about reading a book that’s set during the same time you’re reading it. I started this right before the New Year, which is when the story takes place. It also takes place in New York (where I am!) during a snowstorm (check!)
That said, it did take me a while to adjust to this story. There are multiple narrators, a romantic set-up which could have felt rectangle-y, and a plot involving random acts of kindness that zigs and zags a bit.
Kendall has spent a semester away from high school and is gearing up to head back to high school midyear as a senior. The day after Christmas, she impulsively follows her older brother and his boyfriend to their apartment in New York. She’s hoping to connect with Jamie, a guy she likes. Max, who’s staying with his grandfather in New York, also seems a little adrift. He’s deferred his enrollment at Brown because his ex-girlfriend needed him, and he seems afraid to move forward, toward college and away from her. Kendall and Max have a bit of history, having shared a kiss back in high school.
Kendall and Max cross paths in New York because Jamie is staying with Max. After their group witnesses a tragic accident, Kendall and Max accept a stranger’s challenge to perform random acts of kindness. These acts, and the very slow-burn romance between the two of them, drive the story forward.
As I said initially, I’m usually not a fan of stories with too many narrators. This story is told in alternate chapters by Kendall and Max, with snippets of narration from the people they encounter in their project. If you’ve read Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star, it’s a bit like that. I also thought the two books have a similar feel – New York setting, a compressed timeline, a bunch of serendipity, and some random narrators thrown in the mix.
Together at Midnight was a great book to kick off 2018. It had an optimistic, altruistic vibe that I liked. Though I think a short epilogue after the ending would have been nice (I wanted updates on Max, Kendall, Emerson and Andrew!) But overall I really enjoyed this and definitely recommend it to fans of realistic YA.