Challenge 50 – “A book you can read in a day.”
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book was truly amazing. Not only did it provide a unique plotline, but it was engaging from the off, with perfectly balanced suspense, action and humour, even as the scene was being set. From the first line (which was in itself extremely engaging) the reader was absorbed into a perfectly encapsulated world and thrown along in an adventure with a collection of realistic characters. Little scope is provided for a sequel, but this allows the novel to be stronger as a stand-alone tale.
‘If you could have a superpower, what would it be?’ A question that we’ve all been asked at least once in our lives, to which we would likely choose different answers in different situations. The recurrence of such a question sparks the assumptions that a ‘clever’ answer will be given, and the flaws in the common answers identified, immediately drawing the reader in. From here Carman acts quickly to make the reader feel at home, whilst leading them straight into the plot of the novel and propelling them deep into his world. Initially the action is well-spaced with a slower pace, and as midnight approaches it picks up, speeding the reader through the novel and the adventure. Carman then brings the question back for the conclusion, not simply tying up loose endings, but making the reader reflect on how things we have can in themselves be a superpower. Or at least something someone else might wish for. Carman’s presentation of this message, however, is not the typical ‘just think, there’s someone else out there worse off than you’, but in a way that highlights the magic of life (with death) and the people we meet along the way. Such a moral contrasts starkly with the main appearance of the book (a supernatural adventure with a thrill), and it is this juxtaposition that makes it resonate so much with the reader.
Alongside this truly outstanding plot construction and balance of pacing, Carman conjures a truly realistic world with down-to-life characters. Through his dialogue he portrays an incredibly accurate dynamic of teenage friendships, depicting the true joviality most issues are usually greeted with. In this way he introduces elements of humour into a thought-provoking novel that even has a death as a main theme. Such a factor is crucial in maintaining the light-hearted nature of the novel, and Carman manages to balance this so it doesn’t go overboard and turn the novel into a joke itself.
In ‘Thirteen Days Before Midnight’ Carman creates an engaging read that is wholly realistic, with great pacing, lovable characters and a little bit of a laugh every now and then. He transports the reader back to their own teenage years, albeit occurring in his supernatural world, drawing out the gems of our friendships we’ve made, and the life we have lived so far. A definite recommended read, Patrick Carman’s ‘Thirteen Days Before Midnight’ combines a mere droplet of supernatural to a fast-paced adventure, creating one of the most delectable stories the young adult genre has seen so far.
Recommeded for fans of:
- Titantic 2020 by Colin Bateman
- Life As We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer
- The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff