Genna is a 15-year-old girl who wants out of her tough Brooklyn neighborhood. But she gets more than she bargained for when a wish gone awry transports her back in time. Facing the perilous realities of Civil War-era Brooklyn, Genna must use all her wits to survive. In the tradition of Octavia Butler’s Kindred and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, A Wish After Midnight is the affecting and inspiring tale of a fearless young woman’s fight to hold on to her individuality and her humanity in two different worlds.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I would definitely recommend this, because the narrator is fantastic and the story is great as well. The main character is a "quiet type," but she has a real inner strength and is a survivor whose story is compelling.
Also, the story touches on narratives about the Civil War that many people might have forgotten about, ignored, or never been taught. Jenna gets thrown back in time to a period just after the Emancipation Proclamation and just before the draft riots. A lot of the book is devoted to describing the rising tensions between the free African Americans and the Irish immigrants leading up to the riots. The two groups have to compete for jobs, acceptance, food, etc. while both being scorned by the upper classes. I'm a history nut so I knew about the events she describes, but some people might not even know there was a draft during the Civil War.
What does Quincy Tyler Bernstine bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
I have been listening to audiobooks for a little while now, and the performance of Quincy Tyler Bernstine is one of the best -- if not THE best -- audiobook performances I have ever listened to. She has such an amazing sense of the character's voice, intonations, emotions, pacing and speed, and just...wow, what a great "listen"!
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
This book is really intense, so I didn't want to listen to it all at once (plus, the length would make that a bit difficult). At times, it can feel like the characters are going through a neverending parade of misery, and you need a break from all the depressing stuff.
Any additional comments?
Not for the fainthearted, since parts are pretty violent.
Zetta Elliot is Octavia Butler for teens. In A Wish After Midnight her works shows a high level of research and artistry. She educates youth on issues of race and gender all the while entertaining them. Her character Jenna evolves from an insecure girl into a confident young woman. She tells stories that must be told.