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One Past Midnight

Review

One Past Midnight

With books such as TANDEM, PIVOT POINT, and PARALLEL, It seems that parallel lives and universes are a steadily creeping new trend in YA Lit. Or maybe I’m the only one who believes it’s a trend because I’m slowly making my way through every recent parallel life/universe novel out there. I’m in love with the concept and from the number of positive reviews out there for such books, I know I'm not the only one. There's just something so thrilling about imagining what life would be like in a parallel world. What would your everyday life be like if you had been born to other parents or came from different circumstances? How fantastic would it be if one day you were able to get a glimpse of these other imagined worlds?

For Sabine, the 18-year-old protagonist at the center of ONE PAST MIDNIGHT by Jessica Shirvington, parallel universes --- or lives --- are a reality, and there’s nothing fantastic about it.

Each night at one past midnight, she “shifts” into another world, one where she lives a whole separate life from the one she fell asleep in. There, she relives the same day twice but as almost different people. In one life, she hails from Wellesley, Massachusetts and is a privileged and beloved daughter and girlfriend. In her other, she lives in Roxbury, just outside of Boston, and is rebellious and misunderstood by struggling parents. To some, a life twice lived might seem lucky, but Sabine does not count herself as remotely fortunate. She lives a double nightmare. And one that offers no hope of escape. She feels as if she can never truly be herself, and each day she has to be careful to hide any evidence of her two lives, making sure to be entirely two different people and not allowing herself to confide in anyone. However, after an accident just after her 18th birthday causes her to see some differences in the shift between lives, she realizes that there may be something she can do about her unfortunate predicament.

I love that [Sabine’s] she’s not just a privileged character or a down-trodden one. She’s both of those things, and the combination of that makes her really fascinating.

I was so unsure about this novel going into it. The premise was so promising and intriguing, but I’ve found that it takes more than a good premise to make a novel truly wonderful. The first few chapters were a bit shaky, but once we got into the meat of the book, I started to fall in love with it. And I fell hard.

The thing is, at its core, this novel is a psychological exploration of choices and what people do when faced with extraordinary decisions. Sabine, despite her paranormal experience, is wholly human. She just wants to be normal, be loved and be happy. And when her two lives offer none of those options together, she’ll take what she can get. Sometimes her actions seem drastic and hard to understand, but it’s her struggle that I admire. I love that she’s not just a privileged character or a down-trodden one. She’s both of those things, and the combination of that makes her really fascinating.

And have I met another character that I love more than Ethan? Jessica Shirvington did such a wonderful job with him. He’s likable and frustrating yet endearing. Quite the enigma. He was definitely one of those characters that I’d like to sit down and talk with because there was so much depth to him in the short time that I read about him. His experiences and characterization complemented Sabine so well in the book. Their inevitable romance did not overshadow the plot, but enhanced it.

I got to a point in this book where I couldn’t put it down. I was so overjoyed by it. That is to say, until Jessica broke my heart. For a few chapters, I was lost. But not for long! Some would say that all of the “twists” in this novel are easily spotted from the beginning, but even so, that doesn’t take away from the gripping nature of the events that take place. And even if you think you might guess it, the ending was fitting and you need to just read through as if you didn’t have a clue.  Overall, I’d say the novel was just about perfect. It was a quick read that had the pleasure of making me think and consider my own actions, in terms of moral ambiguities and parallel universes. I was so impressed with this novel that I urged everyone I know to go pick it up. It’s definitely a unique book and one that I think might have an impact on everyone who chooses to read it.

Reviewed by Brianna Robinson on July 23, 2014

One Past Midnight
by Jessica Shirvington

  • Publication Date: July 22, 2014
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
  • ISBN-10: 0802737021
  • ISBN-13: 9780802737021