Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: One Past Midnight

ONE PAST MIDNIGHT
Jessica Shirvington
Paranormal-ish Young Adult
352 pages
Walker Children's/Bloomsbury
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?


MY THOUGHTS
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.

Rating: 4.5/5
 

Find Jessica:


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.

41 comments:

  1. It's so good to hear that authors are still finding ways to reinvent the wheel! I also experience the same sort of mixed feelings upon hearing that a book's premise features parallel worlds because I love that concept, but there are quite a few books with that idea already. So that's why it's so nice to hear that this author managed an unusual and interesting version of this common idea. I also love to hear that characters engaged you so thoroughly! Thanks so much for putting this one on my radar, Jenny! Really great review!!

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    1. Yes! I loved that this was a standard parallel universes story - there were some unique elements that really made it stand out:) Hope you give it a try Aylee!

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  2. Wow! That sounds exciting and I assume it's a standalone? I love Parallel Universe themed books but I agree, sometimes they end up being highly confusing. This one however sounds like everything is done right and I'm definitely going to read it!

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    1. I believe so. I couldn't find any information on a sequel, and things are wrapped up pretty well in the end:)

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  3. I absolutely loved this book! I think Jessica did an amazing job and I found myself torn between which life she should choose at some points. I adored the romantic relationship and thought Ethan to be an extremely powerful character and love interest.

    I read this book in a day - could not put it down! :)

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    1. YAY! I thought it was outstanding, and yes, I loved Ethan as well:)

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  4. I am so excited for this one. I loved the Violet Eden series, so I will pretty much read anything Shirvington writes. I am a huge fan of parallel universe stories, but I am also glad to hear that it's much more than that. I know Shirvington can write some painful relationships though….Violet and Lincoln nearly killed me (ha), so I will have to prepare myself for this book. Great review, Jenny! I'm glad you liked this one.

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    1. I think you'll be a fan of this one Christina! She's great at ripping hearts out and stomping on them, but she always puts them back together in the end:)

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  5. This sounds absolutely wonderful and one that I will be getting for sure, even if I'm not at the right emotional state to be destroyed like that with the romance!
    It's great to hear that parallel worlds can still be done in a fresh way, cause this one sounds different indeed!
    Thanks for the fantastic review, Jenny!

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    1. This one does sucker punch you right in the feels Pili, so definitely wait until you're in the right mood for it!

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  6. I haven't read any reviews for this book yet, but your lovely review is making me very excited, Jenny! This looks absolutely wonderful. I'm not too big on parallel universes, but this is one I could see myself enjoying. It's interesting how the MC knows that she's in a parallel universe and how she lives a day twice. I also love the sound of the romance. I already love it from your description. You only mentioned Ethan in your review, but she doesn't have another guy in another world does she? Ethan is in both of her worlds too?
    Fabulous review, Jenny! I'll be adding this to my TBR! :)

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    1. I really liked the fact that she's the same person in each life, she just has to pretend in one life more than the other based on her family. She has a boyfriend in the non-Ethan world, but it's not a good relationship. I don't want to say more because then I'd spoil things:)

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  7. I'm not really the biggest fan of parallel worlds, when we're traveling between the two, but I think it's interesting she's aware of both worlds. Always impressive when an author can write those painful relationship that resonates.

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    1. Have you read any of her books Mary? They hurt in the best possible way:) Highly recommend!

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  8. This sounds like a wonderful read, Jenny! I love reading about Parallel Universe themed books but, I agree that they sometimes end up being confusing in the *world building* aspect. Taking over the story and characters. But, this sounds like Sabine really got the chance to shine as her two lives/selves were revealed. Lovely review :)

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    1. YES! I had questions about her two lives, but I was so much more focused on what was going on with her personally. Loved it:)

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  9. All I can say, after reading your review, is I'm sold. I admit I'm not one for parallel universes or time paradoxes or all those confusing themes since most of the time, my attention would be at the WHYs and HOWs of the world that it overshadows the characters or the plot. I'm glad that this isn't the case with this book and that the author provided so much more to its readers. Really really great review, Jenny! :)

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    1. WOO HOO! I can't recommend this one enough Sarah! It's not as complex as a lot of paranormal universes stories in terms of how they exist, and I was able to just settle in with Sabine:)

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  10. I tried to get into this one for a while, Jenny, but I think I was just in the wrong mindset to do so, which is a shame! We usually have such similar tastes in books…I think I'm definitely going to need to give this another go, if only to find that balance that you did. Lovely review :)

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    1. Too bad Melissa! Maybe it will go over better the second time around, or it just might not be for you:) It happens.

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  11. I'm very eager to read this one. I really enjoyed Embrace, and have heard great things about One Past Midnight. Thanks for the review!

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  12. I like how the author took a familiar trope and made it her own. I have read anything by this author before so I might give this one a shot.

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    1. I'm a big fan of hers Rummanah, so I can't recommend this one or the Violet Eden series enough (though if you go with Violet, stick it out through book one, it gets so much better).

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  13. YAY! I loved this one, so much more than I thought I would Jenny and I am so happy you did too. It really was a fantastic read.

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    1. *high five* So good Ali, so good.

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  14. Haha, I love the paranormal-ish lol. A parallel story? Hmmm. I'm not really a fan of those to be honest with you. Sounds a little like Pivot Point, don't you think? It's a very cool concept though. I'm glad you enjoyed both of her lives. A little too slow on the romance? But it was still good? Heh. Okay. Good to know. I'm glad you enjoyed this novel so much, lovely!

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    1. It's a bit like Pivot Point, except she's not making a choice between two futures, she actually lives both lives and is aware that they happen simultaneously. I loved how the romance unfolded, the slowness of it worked perfectly in the context of the story, and it was such a heartbreakingly beautiful relationship:)

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  15. Ooh I like book that has parallel stories but I don't like it if it confuses me. I want to read it. Thanks for sharing Jenny!

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    1. I don't think you'll be confused Savy, the focus is more on Sabine herself rather than how she's able to live two lives:)

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  16. I adore these romances that swallow you completely, that are at the same time sweet and incredibly painful. That is precisely what I'm looking for when I pick up a new book. I haven't read anything by Shrivington yet, but this might be a great place to start.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts so beautifully. I SO missed your reviews.

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  17. Hmmm it's intriguing, I didn't know this one but the synopsis is different and I confess I'm curious. I also want to know more about her two roles. thanks for the review!

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  18. I've been wanting to read this author for so long, and this book sounds fantastic, I haven't seen it before, so I am definitely going to hunt it down. Brilliant review, Jenny.

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  19. This sounds like it is confusing at first, but in a good way. In a must solve the mystery way. This also sounds like a interesting world and I love the sound of living in dual worlds. Oh color me curious!

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  20. Freaky!! Now this sounds different

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  21. This cover is gorgeous, and like Melissa says, sounds pretty confusing. I'm so glad to see that you enjoyed it, however, and I love having my emotions toyed with (by books, mind you), so I'm going to pick this one up soon. Great review, Jenny!

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  22. Somehow I completely forgot about this one! I really wanted to read it when I originally read the synopsis but your review has me positively giddy to get my hands on a copy. I love the way Shirvington writes relationships, and I have no doubt I'll finish this with the tears/smile you mentioned (the way I do with so all of her Violet Eden books). Lovely review!

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  23. Oh boy, this sounds FANTASTIC!! Yes, please!! :)

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  24. Wow. You make this one sound great! I really like that this girl is aware of her two lives, and I love how you describe the ways we get to know her within all of that. This also takes place near me in Massachusetts, so I'm curious about the settings. I love how you describe the slowly building romance as well! But you make this sound like a bitter sweet end, which worries me! However, so happy this one worked well for you!

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  25. The whole parallel universe theme has been really popular lately but I have only read one, that I recall right now. So this sounds like it should be one I add to the pile, you definitely won me over with your review!

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  26. Love that cover! And either you seem well able to pick out books with more depth to them or more likely you are just better able to think and see deeper meanings...Always love your reviews!

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