Title: A Wish After Midnight
Author(s): Zetta Elliott
Genre: YA Urban Historical Fantasy
Page Count: 230
Publisher: Rosetta Press
Summary: Fifteen-year old Genna Colon believes wishes can come true. Frustrated by the drug dealers of her building, her family's cramped apartment, and her inability to compete with the cute girls at school, Genna finds comfort in her dreams of a better future. Almost every day she visits the garden and tosses coins into the fountain, wishing for a different life, a different home, and a different body. Little does she know that her wish will soon be granted: when Genna flees into the garden late one night, she makes a fateful wish and finds herself instantly transported back in time to Civil War-era Brooklyn.
-Summary from backcover
The Review: To say that I love this novel may perhaps been an understatement. But love it I do, and I will probably end up using the word "love" for basically everything I discuss in this review. Just a heads up to the readers that stumble on this blog review. =D Also, I'm kinda enamored with Judah/Genna couple (OTP FOREVA ♥) and er, while I tried to cut down on the OTP gushing to make this review more readable
Okay, let's begin with the setting of Brooklyn. I absolutely love and adore how strong the sense of setting is in this novel. With Elliott's amazing writing talent, she brings Present Day!Brooklyn and Civil War!Brooklyn to life. The city feels tangible and real, and I wished that all urban fantasy could manage this amount of realism with their respective cities.
I also liked how Elliott spent equal time in the Present as in the Civil War Brooklyn. At first, due to the summary, I kept on waiting for the time-travelling to happen, but then Elliott pulls us into this sweet first love story between Judah and Genna and, for me at least, my investment in this couple is one of the many things that helped make everything that happened in the second half just that much more intense. (It kind of reminds me of The Secret Garden in the sense that it builds up slow, but because of this it just brings everything that much more meaning and punch at the climax. Er, actually I'll just link what Neesha Meminger wrote, for she is so much more eloquent than I. ^^; )
Moving on to my darling GENNA. Oh, sweet, level-headed, practical Genna, I was routing for her dreams and wishes all the way through the whole novel. I love how Elliott took the time to really let us get to know Genna before she gets transported back in time. This way we get the chance to really understand Genna as a whole person, with a life and a family and people she cared for, so that when she does get torn away from home, her sharp homesickness and uncertainty about how she'd return just hits us readers in the heart that much more. I especially appreciate how well-developed Genna's family was and the exploration of family interactions. I love reading stories about siblings and parents and stuff, having more than one sibling myself, and Elliott delivers this factor in spades.
I really loved the supporting cast in this novel. Even though not all of their back stories are revealed, I definitely got a strong sense that every single one of the side characters had their own story to tell, i.e. they don't feel like plot devices. As for Judah, I'll be straight up and confess that I love this guy to bits. Yes, I realize this is probably a minority opinion from the way things look in the internet, and it is probably due to his controlling demeanor in the second half. I understand all this, but I don't care, TEAM JUDAH ALL THE WAY. Judah's got a big heart, is dorkishly sweet (the HAIKU ♥ and his encyclopedia knowledge of everything), and his relationship with Genna makes my heart melt.
(Um, just to put it out there, I do like Paul just fine. He's sweet, flirty and fun
What I also found interesting was Genna's reaction to Civil War!Brooklyn as a 21st century girl. Genna is very much a present day girl with present day views that are extremely different from the commonly accepted and default views found in the U.S. Civil War Era. The issues of race, ethnicity, gender, morality were explored well and isn't treated stereotypically in both Present Day and Civil War Era parts of the novel. I'll try not to be spoilery and just say that I thought her reactions to Mrs. Brant and how they evolved over time was probably one of the most interesting character interactions in the whole novel. In fact, I in general just really appreciated how Elliott shows us readers how Genna grows and changes as she meets more and more people.
lol, all this raving and I haven't even gotten to Elliott's exquisite writing!! Every time I am reminded of the fact that publishers/editors/agents rejected A Wish After Midnight for five years, I just can't wrap my mind around it. It plain boggles me. I can't understand how people can turn down A Wish After Midnight after just trying one paragraph of this novel. You know what? Since I'm basically incoherent and can't talk about this aspect of the novel properly, I shall just quote a passage. (Gratuitously Judah/Genna because I can't help myself):
"You know what a haiku is, Genna?" Judah presses a small piece of paper into my palm and walks on ahead with Tyjuan. I trail behind, wanting to be alone. I stop in front of the purple irises growing next to the pond and open Judah's note. At first I feel disappointed 'cause there are only a few words written inside. But then I read them and my eyes fill up with water and my heart aches with that sweet kind of pain, and I wonder if I'm always going to feel this way whenever someone does something nice for me. Inside the note is a poem. Judah has given me these words:my love is the sun
and you are a blue lotus
turning towards me
Guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh~~~ ♥ Everyone, go and order a copy now. You won't regret this decision. =D
Enjoyment: 100% ♥
Title and Cover Discussion: You know, I actually don't know how to approach this part of my review? I mean, I don't find our Wish title particularly grabbing, but the more I look at it the more it fits? It might not be a title that makes readers go HOMG MUST READ but it just works so incredibly well with the story. I guess it's like those songs you hear on the radio that you didn't really like at first but the more you hear it the more you like it, lol. Same with the cover. (Though I'm biased since I love pink *is bricked*) It's not like the Shiny YA novel covers I'm used to, but the more I see it the more I like it. Hence, I'm going to wuss out on the rating thing since I'm at loss. Instead I'm going to ask: what do you readers think of the cover and title? I'd like to hear and share opinions/thoughts, etc, along with the novel discussion, of course. =D