The Midnights

The Midnights

Susannah Hayes has never been in the spotlight, but she dreams of following her father, a former rock star, onto the stage. As senior year begins, she’s more interested in composing impressive chord progressions than college essays, certain that if she writes the perfect song, her father might finally look up from the past long enough to see her. But when he dies unexpecte...

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Title:The Midnights
Author:Sarah Nicole Smetana
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Midnights Reviews

  • Just Reading Everything

    Smetana's gorgeous writing and heartfelt storytelling soar in THE MIDNIGHTS. The novel follows Susannah, a seventeen-year old who has music thriving in her bones, who's uprooted from her LA home and moved to Orange County with her mother after experiencing a monumental loss. The passages about grief and striving to find answers are heartbreakingly realistic and thoughtful, and Smentana's masterful plot is effortlessly captivating. It's the kind of coming-of-age story that settles in your heart a

    Smetana's gorgeous writing and heartfelt storytelling soar in THE MIDNIGHTS. The novel follows Susannah, a seventeen-year old who has music thriving in her bones, who's uprooted from her LA home and moved to Orange County with her mother after experiencing a monumental loss. The passages about grief and striving to find answers are heartbreakingly realistic and thoughtful, and Smentana's masterful plot is effortlessly captivating. It's the kind of coming-of-age story that settles in your heart and doesn't let go. You'll absolutely want to keep your eye out for this one in 2018.

  • Amber Smith

    A stunning, beautifully-written debut, THE MIDNIGHTS explores the complex nature of loss, grief, secrets, and family, as we follow one girl on a poignant journey of self-discovery.

    *I received an advance copy*

  • Rachel Solomon

    THE MIDNIGHTS is one of the most exquisite YA novels I've ever read, with an evocative, dreamy setting that is truly a character in itself. I've never read a Southern California so raw and alive and unapologetic. Sarah Nicole Smetana's prose should be savored like the darkest dark chocolate. So many lines burrowed into my heart and stuck in my throat. I loved and ached for Susannah, grieving the sudden loss of the musician father who didn't have enough time for her. Every member of Susannah's fr

    THE MIDNIGHTS is one of the most exquisite YA novels I've ever read, with an evocative, dreamy setting that is truly a character in itself. I've never read a Southern California so raw and alive and unapologetic. Sarah Nicole Smetana's prose should be savored like the darkest dark chocolate. So many lines burrowed into my heart and stuck in my throat. I loved and ached for Susannah, grieving the sudden loss of the musician father who didn't have enough time for her. Every member of Susannah's friend group is deeply realized, nuanced, and compelling. This book is 400 pages, but I'd happily have read another hundred. A must-read for fans of Nina LaCour, Jandy Nelson, and Jessi Kirby. Pairs beautifully with Janet McNally's GIRLS IN THE MOON.

  • Derek Milman

    * REVIEW OF ARC I RECEIVED *

    The Midnights is a lush, poetic, coming-of-age tale set in present-day CA. Sarah Nicole Smetana is too clever a writer to present your typical palm-tree-shadowed California love story, with sea-blue swimming pools, and empty In-N-Out wrappers scattered across the leather seats of convertibles.

    Instead, the west coast is painted in tangerine, volcanic shades; a sleeping beast that might awake at any second. Fires, quakes, and storms threaten with every new twist and sh

    * REVIEW OF ARC I RECEIVED *

    The Midnights is a lush, poetic, coming-of-age tale set in present-day CA. Sarah Nicole Smetana is too clever a writer to present your typical palm-tree-shadowed California love story, with sea-blue swimming pools, and empty In-N-Out wrappers scattered across the leather seats of convertibles.

    Instead, the west coast is painted in tangerine, volcanic shades; a sleeping beast that might awake at any second. Fires, quakes, and storms threaten with every new twist and shape of the clouds, with every nervous gust of wind. This is a beautiful metaphor for Susannah's trip through her late teens, her passion for music, musicianship, and human connection, her confusion over various boys (who are also figuring out who they are, who they want to be), her attempts to find herself, and a measure of stability, and truth about her parents, in the wake of familial tragedy.

    Borne out of hazy Laurel Canyon rock n' roll yore, but not specifically set there, the Midnights pays subtle tribute to the "so cal sound" that seemingly merged our consciousness with the stoned harmonies of the Mamas and the Papas, Fleetwood Mac, and the Eagles, before we ever realized it was happening.

    I love how smart the MC is, and her relationship with her mother, grandmother, and best friend, all gorgeously flawed characters in their own right, is meticulously rendered.

    A very strong debut, highly recommended.

  • Lauren

    I've been dying to read The Midnights ever since I saw Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of the AMAZING You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone, raving about it on Goodreads. I figured if she'd loved it I'd probably love it as well, and as it turns out, I was one hundred percent correct (thankfully!).

    The Midnights is not just good but great. Combing lyrical writing, a drool-worthy setting, and a thoughtful coming-of-age, The Midnights is a standout YA debut, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen's This Lullaby.

    When

    I've been dying to read The Midnights ever since I saw Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of the AMAZING You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone, raving about it on Goodreads. I figured if she'd loved it I'd probably love it as well, and as it turns out, I was one hundred percent correct (thankfully!).

    The Midnights is not just good but great. Combing lyrical writing, a drool-worthy setting, and a thoughtful coming-of-age, The Midnights is a standout YA debut, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen's This Lullaby.

    When the book first begins, Susannah is living a relatively normal life. She works at a coffee shop, has a crush on her guy best friend, and loves the midnight jam sessions her and her father have. Susannah is content with her life. She doesn't feel the need to ask for more, to work for more. She's not worried about college. She's just worried about coming up with the next great lyric. However, everything changes in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, her father- her idol, her rock - is gone, and she's exiled to Orange, CA to live with a grandmother she didn't know she had and a mother she barely recognizes as the days go on.

    I'll be honest: I didn't love Susannah at first. I didn't like how she treated her mother, or how selfish she could be when it came to putting her needs before others. Suffice to say it took me a long time to warm up to her; however, while I didn't always love her attitude and choices, there was something so incredibly compelling about her voice, something that made me keep reading, no matter the situation. Over time, I began to understand Susannah more. I began to see her passion for music, why she was so willing to put it before everything else. It was her "thing" as well as her tie to her father, and I gave her dedication props. When Susannah moves to Orange, she has the opportunity to reinvent herself. Suddenly, she's in with the cool, elusive kids, the ones who drink, sneak into bars, and have midnight parties at the beach. Susannah slowly transforms, letting herself being influenced by people who shouldn't have say. I found this transformation to be interesting as well as realistic. I think it will resolve with anyone who's ever slowly changed a bits about themselves only to wonder later why they did it. By the end, I was happy I had accompanied Susannah on this journey. I was proud of who she had become and how she had transformed her life.

    This book won't be for everyone. It's a slow novel, focusing on music, relationships, and grieving more than action and swoon-worthy romance. However, it worked for me, and for those like me who like novels that are character drive, I think it will work for them as well.

    I appreciated the amount of time Sarah put into development here. First, she did an amazing job of developing the California setting. It was dreamy and evocative and fit perfectly with the feel of the book. I can't imagine this book being set any place but Orange. Second, Sarah did an amazing job of developing the relationships to be found here. Over the course of the book, Susannah begins to reevaluate her relationships. She begins to wonder what made her father so special to her, what made her so willing to overlook his flaws, and what she can do to be close to him even though he's gone. Her relationship with her mother is challenging. She has a lot of resentment towards her and she doesn't understand the majority of her decisions. Their relationship had many ups and downs, so many highs and lows, but there was something special to be found there. I also appreciated that there wasn't one guy. Instead, Susannah bounces from guy to guy over the course of the book, not because she can't decide on one, because each one feels perfect at the time. I found this to be realistic, because you don't always find the one in high school, and that's okay. Each relationship is just a building block in a sense.

    Overall, The Midnights is a slow-burn, evocative novel. I look forward to reading more by Sarah in the future.

    *ARC was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

  • Samantha (WLABB)

    Rating: 3.5 Stars

    I am always up for a good grief and loss book, and The Midnights absolutely fit the bill. It was filled with the pain we associate with losing a loved one, and the ways one may go about trying to fill the hole left in their heart.

    •Pro: Smetana beautifully depicted the emotional pain experienced by the characters in this book. The grief and suffering was utterly palpable.

    •Con: I know it's realistic for some people to spin a little out of control when they are grieving, but I had

    Rating: 3.5 Stars

    I am always up for a good grief and loss book, and The Midnights absolutely fit the bill. It was filled with the pain we associate with losing a loved one, and the ways one may go about trying to fill the hole left in their heart.

    •Pro: Smetana beautifully depicted the emotional pain experienced by the characters in this book. The grief and suffering was utterly palpable.

    •Con: I know it's realistic for some people to spin a little out of control when they are grieving, but I had such a hard time with the choices Susannah was making.

    •Pro: The music references were so awesome. I really loved being pulled into Susannah's musical world, and I was truly fascinated by her songwriting process, her performances, and the bands who influenced her life.

    •Con: The book was kind of long, and had some parts, which didn't really seem necessary to the story.

    •Pro: I have been keeping track of where books are set, and it seems like a ton of books are set in California. However, I really thought Smetana's approach to describing the setting was different and interesting. She often focused on the weather elements, and connected them to the musical elements, which was different and a welcomed surprise.

    •Pro: The Midnight sessions Susannah shared with her father were quite special, and I thought it was brilliant the way these different "midnights" kept popping up throughout the story.

    •Pro: I had quite a fondness for Susannah's grandmother. She was a tough lady, but she was wise, and I really appreciated the way she tried to help Susannah see things from a different angle.

    •Pro: I was really proud of Susannah towards the end, and loved that she grew up a bit over the course of the story as she healed.

    Overall: An emotional and affecting look at one teen's struggle with grief, and her attempt to move on.

    *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Amber

    IThank you to Booksparks for providing me with a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

    really loved reading this book. I was completely in the mood for some YA fiction, and this was a perfect fit. I mean, not only was it set at that slightly awkward, slightly angsty end-of-high-school age, but it was also laced with music. And by “laced” I mean “completely submerged in music”. And I loved it!

    I’m finding myself wanting to say that this was a really sweet book, despite the fact

    IThank you to Booksparks for providing me with a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

    really loved reading this book. I was completely in the mood for some YA fiction, and this was a perfect fit. I mean, not only was it set at that slightly awkward, slightly angsty end-of-high-school age, but it was also laced with music. And by “laced” I mean “completely submerged in music”. And I loved it!

    I’m finding myself wanting to say that this was a really sweet book, despite the fact that it wasn’t a “sweet” story per se. It was, in fact, quite emotional because it dealt with some pretty difficult situations. And yet, I have this warm feeling toward the book now that it’s done. I’m chalking that up to Susannah. I have a soft spot for her. Watching her struggle for her father’s praise, and then her struggle to fit in and find her own way after he was gone broke my heart. And yet I remembered that season as a teen, constantly searching for you’re own identity and your place within the world around you.

    Ok, I have to stop here or I’m going to start spoiling all the details. And nobody likes a spoilsport! This book will be perfect for fans of YA fiction with a side of romance, and music fans. (I am *still* drooling over her dad’s vinyl collection.) It’s a great coming-of-age story that you’ll probably be able to relate to, and you won’t want it to end.

  • Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)

    I wanted to love this so much and I just didn’t and that makes me really sad. I was looking for this moving story of grief and family and Susannah finding herself, but this book made me feel absolutely nothing. I didn’t connect to it at all - not the characters, not the relationships, not the plot. Nothing. I can’t remember the last book that I was completely apathetic to

    I wanted to love this so much and I just didn’t and that makes me really sad. I was looking for this moving story of grief and family and Susannah finding herself, but this book made me feel absolutely nothing. I didn’t connect to it at all - not the characters, not the relationships, not the plot. Nothing. I can’t remember the last book that I was completely apathetic towards.

    I found the pacing in the beginning to be really disjointed and rushed. Because of that I never bought any of the relationships. This was really detrimental because Susannah’s relationship with her dad is incredibly important to the story and it’s progression, but I just didn’t care about it. There was also this reflective quality to the writing, that while worked for the story, felt out of place. There was moments when the narration read like a voiceover looking back at what happened, but it was used infrequently and pulled me out of the story. Even the music element, which I usually love in story fell flat here. I didn’t feel Susannah’s connection to the music. I just didn’t feel much of anything.

    So

    was a super unfortunate miss for me, but I’m sure A LOT of people will really love it and connect with it, so it’s worth a shot if you’re in the mood for a contemporary with a little more depth. Hopefully it will work out for you, but I think this was a case where the book just isn't for me.

  • Lea (drumsofautumn)

    DNF at 30%. I'm just gonna stop pretending that I will ever continue reading this. I had a hard time deciding to DNF this because there's nothing I can really say about it. I can't pinpoint an exact reason why I didn't enjoy it, I just simply didn't. I was not attached to any of the characters, I thought they all felt a little bit emotionless (not that they really were but the emotions didn't really come through in the writing). I constantly had to force myself to pick this up and then I still o

    DNF at 30%. I'm just gonna stop pretending that I will ever continue reading this. I had a hard time deciding to DNF this because there's nothing I can really say about it. I can't pinpoint an exact reason why I didn't enjoy it, I just simply didn't. I was not attached to any of the characters, I thought they all felt a little bit emotionless (not that they really were but the emotions didn't really come through in the writing). I constantly had to force myself to pick this up and then I still only ever read a couple of pages. Not worth it for me but maybe still a good book for you :)

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