Paranormal-ish Young Adult
Available July 22nd
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Above all else, though I try not to think about it, I know which life I prefer. And every night when I Cinderella myself from one life to the next a very small, but definite, piece of me dies. The hardest part is that nothing about my situation has ever changed. There is no loophole.
Until now, that is...
For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she Shifts to her ′other′ life - a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she′s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she′s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.
With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments which bring her dangerously close to the life she′s always wanted... But just what - and who - is she really risking?
One Past Midnight is a story we enter into with not only enthusiasm but also a touch of wariness, knowing this is not the first book that features parallel lives or universes to make its way into our hands. So many times in these types of stories the focus is on the hows and whys of the world, and we ultimately spend our time trying to figure out which life the protagonist will choose for themselves in the end. While those same questions are present in One Past Midnight, they’re solidly in the periphery, the strength of Ms. Shirvington’s characters stealing all our attention from page one and holding on to it so thoroughly that we can’t worry about whether or not every aspect of our curiosity is sated by the time we reach the last page.
Sabine’s circumstances are a touch unusual in terms of parallel worlds in that she’s fully aware of both her lives; we don’t simply meet two separate versions of her and follow both of them thorough their respective days, instead she lives every single day twice – once with one family and once with another. She takes her memories from both lives with her when she shifts every night at midnight, and we meet her when she's finally reached a place where she’s figured out how to juggle the strangeness of her existence.
What’s particularly interesting about this setup is the fact that while Sabine has two different roles to play depending on which life she’s currently living, we get to know her as both girls but yet also as neither, our relationship with her a unique one that exists in those quiet, empty spaces on either side of midnight as she reorients herself to her current world. We feel her fear; her unrelenting terror at the prospect of forever living out both of these lives while pieces of her true self are left behind in the life she’ll pick up again tomorrow, and as things progress, her desperation to find a way to exert some control over her situation becomes our own.
Woven through her confusion and her desire to unburden the truth of her reality on a single soul is the type of romance that leaves an indelible mark, building so slowly that we thrum like live wires while reading, the anticipation of their emotional and physical intimacy a gorgeously addicting thing. Ms. Shirvington, as she proved with her Violet Eden series, has a gift for writing painful relationships; the love between her characters so beautifully visceral that it’s nearly impossible not to get caught up in them. The romance between Sabine and Ethan is absolutely no different, and when we reach the end, we find ourselves with tear tracks on our cheeks but a wobbly smile on our faces, thankful for the story we’ve just been treated to yet desperately in need of something adorably cute to help us recover.
Overall, One Past Midnight should not be missed, the story not so much that of two parallel lives but rather of one remarkable girl and the unification of her self thanks to a split in her worlds.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.