Monday, May 21, 2018

BOOK REVIEW | Midnight Sun by Trish Cook

Title: Midnight Sun
Author: Trish Cook
Series? Nope! Midnight Sun is a standalone
Pages: 263
Publication Date: September 7, 2017
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books (imprint of Hachette Children's Group)
Source: I bought the paperback edition of Midnight Sun.

A heartbreaking tale of love, loss and one nearly perfect summer - perfect for fans of The Fault In Our Stars and Everything, Everything.

Seventeen-year-old Katie Price has a rare disease that makes exposure to even the smallest amount of sunlight deadly. Confined to her house during the day, her company is limited to her widowed father and her best (okay, only) friend. It isn't until after nightfall that Katie's world opens up, when she takes her guitar to the local train station and plays for the people coming and going.

Charlie Reed is a former all-star athlete at a crossroads in his life - and the boy Katie has secretly admired from afar for years. When he happens upon her playing guitar one night, fate intervenes and the two embark on a star-crossed romance.

As they challenge each other to chase their dreams and fall for each other under the summer night sky, Katie and Charlie form a bond strong enough to change them - and everyone around them - forever.

Midnight Sun got on my radar a couple months ago, when I kept seeing ads for the movie adaptation, starring Bella Thorne and Patrick Schwarzenegger. I actually did not know it was based off a book, published in 2017, until I went to Barnes and Noble a couple weeks ago and saw the book! Honestly, I don't really know if the book or the movie came first. The original release date for the movie was July 2017, and the earliest publication date of the book was Semptember 2017, so who knows what draft/manuscript came first! Nonetheless, I couldn't resist picking the book up when I saw it at Target, and it was an entertaining and super-quick read!

I actually read Midnight Sun in two or three hours. The book isn't long - 263 pages - and I flew through it. I've been reading Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer for the last week or so, which is an adult science fiction novel, so Midnight Sun was the perfect break from that. I could quickly read Midnight Sun because I didn't have to interpret what I was reading, question the protagonist, etc. I loved how accessible Midnight Sun was, and would recommend this the most to younger teens, or those just getting into reading again. Midnight Sun wasn't the best written or developed YA contemporary books I've read, but it's a perfect introduction to the YA genre. If I read this six years ago when I started to truly read again, I know I would have loved this book.
original cover!

My main issue with this book was the lack of character development. While I did read the book quickly, I didn't necessarily connect with the characters. The writing was easy to consume, but I didn't feel like the characters were real people. Instead, I thought the characters were one dimensional. It was easy enough to insert myself into the narrative - what would I do if I were Katy? Her father? Her best friend? Charlie?- and while I liked that, the character development was sacrificed for it. Character traits are mentioned, but I was never truly convinced. I know character development works when all the characters seem distinct. When I think, "I would love to hang out with (character name)," I know the author did a fantastic job making their fictional world a reality. When the best I can do is insert myself as the protagonist, it shows that while the author did make their book realistic, the character's themselves fell flat, which is what happened with Midnight Sun. If the pacing was slowed down a little, and we got a couple more scenes, I think the characters would been more tangible. 

Another part of the book I'd like to take note of, this book seemed ableist at times. There were instances where Katie mentioned how she could never have a "full" life due to her disease. To me, it seemed like Katie defined herself by her XP for most of the book. This ableist thinking was pushed aside, but keep in mind that there is ableist language for the majority of the 260-some page.

Despite the lack of character development, the last 60 pages were really touching. The dialogue was strong, and there were certain scenes that tugged at my heart strings. Katie has heartfelt moments with her father, and since I self-inserted into the narrative, they were touching and did make me shed a tear or two. The ending is pretty cheesy, but fits the tone of the book. Katie has a whirlwind summer, and her decision at the end felt true to character. Midnight Sun isn't the best book ever written, but it was a quick and fun read.

With that, I give this book
3.5 out of 5 Stars!


  1. I've been kind of suspicious of this book because of the ableism that you mentioned. I didn't know it was a book either until I came upon it in a store and while the movie looks gorgeous, I just can't get past the ableism! Is it horrible to say I'm kind of glad you had issues with the character development so I have another reason not to read this? It's like, when I initially read Me Before You, I LOVED it but then, upon further reflection, found some disturbing themes. Anyway, I'm thinking maybe I'll just stay away from this one :)

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. No, it's not horrible! While the ableism was eventually presented as the wrong way of thinking, I was still uncomfortable reading those comments. Like you staying away from this one, I'm going to be staying away from Me Before You. :D

      Thanks for stopping by Laura!

  2. I had no idea that this was actually based on a book - I was only familiar with the movie trailers...

    1. I didn't know until I stumbled upon it the first time! They definitely didn't add the tagline that it was based off a book in their trailers. Thanks for visiting Lauren!