Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Digital Audiobook narrated by Bailey Carr, Fiona Hardingham, Jorjeana Marie
Published by HarperCollins on June 13, 2017
Genres: Dystopia, Fiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 259 pages or 6 hours, 20 minutes
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Kansas, 2065. Adri has secured a slot as a Colonist—one of the lucky few handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house over a hundred years ago, and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate. While Adri knows she must focus on the mission ahead, she becomes captivated by a life that’s been lost in time…and how it might be inextricably tied to her own.
Oklahoma, 1934. Amidst the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine fantasizes about her family’s farmhand, and longs for the immortality promised by a professor at a traveling show called the Electric. But as her family’s situation becomes more dire—and the suffocating dust threatens her sister’s life—Catherine must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most.
England, 1919. In the recovery following the First World War, Lenore struggles with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail to America in pursuit of a childhood friend. But even if she makes it that far, will her friend be the person she remembers, and the one who can bring her back to herself?
While their stories spans thousands of miles and multiple generations, Lenore, Catherine, and Adri’s fates are entwined.
After reading Tiger Lily, I kept telling myself that I shouldn’t read this book. I didn’t like Tiger Lily, even though most other people did… and it sort of put me off Jodi Lynn Anderson’s writing. Still, Midnight at the Electric kept popping up. A lot of other people were reading it… and I kept seeing that cover. I love the cover. So it made it to my TBR, and here we stand.
Sometimes, it is good to ignore logic and go with your gut.
I loved Midnight at the Electric. This is a completely different story than Tiger Lily, showing a little more of Jodi Lynn Anderson’s range. At first, this seemed like it was going to be a dystopia, but this is more of a generational story. There are three women – the primary story line is Adri. A loner all her life, Adri is headed to Mars as part of a recolonization project. On her last few weeks on earth, she connects with a lost cousin and discovers letters left behind by the past owners… and a Galapagos tortoise.
Each story has an otherworldy feel, and the three remain cleverly separate and intertwined. Anderson does a fantastic job of making her reader fall for each of the strikingly different young women. There’s Adri, passionate but standoffish. During the dustbowl, there’s Catherine. And in England just after WWI, there’s Lenore. Each of the three girls struggle with love and loss, and through them all, there’s the displaced tortoise. Usually it’s easy for me to pinpoint a favorite character, but in Midnight at the Electric, I liked them all. Coming under 300 pages, this is short for the YA genre, but there are so many layers to each of the characters that you cannot help but love them.
Aside from the three protagonists, there are strong side characters who help the girls overcome their struggles. James, Sophia, and Lily are all brilliant characters, each interesting and unique in his or her own way. One thing I remember about Tiger Lily – and liked best about it – was that Jodi Lynn Anderson’s side characters shine. That remains true in Midnight at the Electric, and it’s a delight.
I think that people flocking to this novel only because they fell in love with Tiger Lily will struggle here, but it you like historical fiction and are able to go in with an open mind, Midnight at the Electric is a beautifully written novel. All three of the narrators for this audiobook were superb as well, but I particularly liked Fiona Hardingham, who I hadn’t heard before. The writing is smooth and lyrical, and each girl has her own voice (which makes me love the choice of three narrators even more). The pacing is quick enough to hold the reader’s attention, which is no easy feat in an introspective novel.
For myself, I’m glad I picked up this book. I think that it’s fantastical, quick historical fiction and is a great read for not only YA readers, but older readers as well. That is one thing I appreciate about Jodi Lynn Anderson’s writing style – she tells stories in such a way that makes them feel accessible to multiple audiences.