Friday, March 8, 2019

Book Review: Just After Midnight

By Sara Steven

No longer tolerating her husband’s borderline abuse, Faith escapes to her parents’ California beach house to plan her next move. She never dreamed her new chapter would involve befriending Sarah, a fourteen-year-old on the run from her father and reeling from her mother’s sudden and suspicious death.

While Sarah’s grandmother scrambles to get custody, Faith is charged with spiriting the girl away on a journey that will restore her hope: Sarah implores Faith to take her to Falkner’s Midnight Sun, the prized black mare that her father sold out from under her. Sarah shares an unbreakable bond with Midnight and can’t bear to be apart from her. Throughout the sweltering summer, as they follow Midnight from show to show, Sarah comes to terms with what she witnessed on the terrible night her mother died.

But the journey is far from over. Faith must learn the value of trusting her instincts—and realize that the key to her future, and Sarah’s, is in her hands. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Catherine Ryan Hyde has a unique way of connecting two polar opposite characters and sending them into an even more unique situation. Her characters defy age or life circumstances, as witnessed in the connection between Faith and Sarah. An unlikely pairing. Yet, in trying to work through her own circumstances that have brought her to her parents’ beach house, Faith discovers that in getting to know Sarah, she’s learning that there is a lot more they have in common, despite their polarities.

There are a lot of past hurts in Faith’s life, something that Sarah can easily identify with. It’s the basis for their friendship, giving credence to Sarah’s trust in her newfound friend. So much so, that Faith ensures Sarah’s safety and travels with her, keeping watch over her, all in the name of protection. Mixed in are the obvious resentments Sarah still has over losing her best friend, her former horse, Midnight. It was interesting to have an inside look into the backstory on what the show horse life is like, the responsibilities that come with it. I appreciated the off-kiltered dynamic that presents itself with Sarah becoming the one in charge, the one that holds the answers. It was felt in the reactions other characters have with her, and helps to really identify the dynamics in the relationship between Faith and Sarah.

In the bond that Sarah has with Midnight, we learn more about her past, the obstacles she’s had to face, the ones that loom before her. We also learn that, true to form, the old adage of, “you can’t judge a book by its cover”, is a real and true thing. Friendship shouldn’t be confined or limited. While Faith and Sarah are an unlikely duo, their friendship is inspiring, defying the odds. I appreciated the subtle twists and turns to Just After Midnight, too; the heavy darkness that settles in when you least expect it, complimented by the silver linings when you least expect that, too.

Thanks to Lake Union  for the book in exchange for an honest review. Just After Midnight can be purchased here.

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1 comment:

Janine said...

This book sounds really good and interesting.