A Wish After Midnight is a tale packed with so much emotion and heartache, it will leave you racing along behind its daring characters, sharing their hopes and dreams. It deals with such heavy topics as racism and abandonment, in a way that is at times delicate and at times strikingly straightforward. Spinning a tale of wishes and woe, Elliott has certainly created a novel with important messages and hopeful characters that I will remember for that a lifetime.
Genna is a strong-willed female protagonist whose pain practically creases each page. Her drive and determination are inspiring, while her past and her thoughts create a depth that leaves you wondering if you could travel to Brooklyn and meet her. Feeling insecure and trying to carve out her place in the world, Genna is a relatable character for any teenage girl to read about. Her will to survive and ability to adapt serve as a driving force in the story, taking her from the poverty of 21st century Brooklyn, to the racism and struggle of the Civil War Era.
Judah is a character to be remembered. He is strong, intelligent, and deep. He sees Genna for what she is and loves her for it. Embracing his ancestry, he helps Genna do the same, and realize her beauty. Judah is strong, sensitive, and caring, though hot-tempered and headstrong at times. Still, he remains resilient and warm-hearted.
Paul serves as a nice juxtaposition to Judah. Where Judah has a quiet confidence about him, Paul is bold and persistent in an irresistibly charming way. He does not share the same silent connection with Genna as Judah, but he is definitely a fun character to read about, and my favorite of the two boys.
Mattie was exceptionally deep for a minor character. Showing us pieces of her past and bursts of her personality, Elliott forms a strong connection between this character and Genna, making me eager to read more about her in the upcoming sequel.
Juxtaposing each other, the characters from Genna’s 21st century life and her Civil War Era life, are rounded out nicely. There are no shallow characters to be found in this novel. Everyone has a story.
The plot moves along quickly, wrapping you in each of Genna’s worlds. After reading Part I, you won’t want to leave the 21st century of this gripping novel, but after reading Part II, you’ll be torn between the two realistic and emotional worlds Elliott has created.
Overall, A Wish After Midnight was a great story with some heavy topics that play out in a way that will leave you racing through its pages. Its cliffhanger ending will leave you yearning for the sequel. William Styron once said, “A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it.” I truly do feel like I’ve lived several lives in reading this novel. And I can’t wait to live several more.