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“Look, love is never fair, but this is particularly unfair, like Guinness Book of Records unfair, and so it should stop. It’s done. It’s not you; it’s me,” Morgan. —Midnight Sun
by Trish Cook
Katie can’t be in the sun. Even the smallest amount of sunlight will cause her great pain because of a rare disease, forcing Katie to sleep during the day and lead an isolated life at night. Her best friend Morgan and her widowed father are her only companions until one night, Katie goes to the train station to play her guitar. As she plays her music, a chance encounter opens her world and her heart.
All-star athlete Charlee Reed thought his life was planned out for him until he met Katie. When he sees Katie playing her guitar, everything changes. He doesn’t know about Katie’s rare disease, but he’s determined to steal her heart.
Midnight Sun’s plot is typical, predictable, and cliché. Despite that, many teens will relate to Katie’s desire to be normal and her struggle to lead a life that matters. Katie’s love interest Charlie—handsome, kind, and generous—is every girl’s dream. The two quickly fall in love and force each other to step out of their comfort zones and follow their dreams.
Midnight Sun follows the same format as The Fault in Our Stars and Me Before You. Romance fans will enjoy this book because of its strong character development. This story encourages readers to follow their dreams and tells them anything is possible. However, the use of cursing and texting abbreviations such as FOMO seems unnecessary. Because of Charlie, Katie seems to accept the progression of her disease and her impending death with little emotion. Although she wonders what death will be like, her acceptance of dying young does not ring true.
Cook missed an opportunity in this novel to focus on the dangers of drinking. Even though Charlie, drunk and foolish, injured himself and lost his scholarship, Charlie still goes to a party and plays beer pong. During the party, drinking to excess is depicted as fun, without much risk. Although this book has some flaws, it is an easy-to-read story that will please readers looking for a character-driven romance.
- Katie fantasizes about Charlie. She wishes she could invite him into her room, “Run my fingers through that gorgeous hair. Kiss him.”
- Morgan is excited that Katie is “meeting up with the guy you’ve lusted after for a decade.” They have a conversation about hooking up. Morgan says, “I am not losing my virginity to a guy I’ve talked to exactly twice in my life.”
- Charlie and another girl used “to hook up once in a while . . . But it’s not something I’m proud of or want to repeat or anything.”
- Charlie tells Katie that kids often grind when they dance. Then he shows how it’s done. “He puts a hand on my lower back and starts swaying his hips side to side like a pendulum. I follow his moves.”
- Charlie kisses Katie. She thinks, “It is pure magic, so everything I ever hoped it would be, I can’t even move or think or breathe for a second. But then instinct kicks in and I feel everything, everything. My nerve endings tingle, my brain is on fire, my heart is a goner.”
- Charlie and Katie kiss several times. It is described, but not in graphic detail. The first time, “he softly kisses me. He adds just the right amount of lips, tongue, and time.” Later, they kiss again and Katie thinks his lips “taste like sugar and cream and pure goodness . . . I’ve never felt so buzzed on life.”
- Morgan kisses a boy, but it is not described. Later, Morgan said that she did “make out” with the boy.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Katie, Morgan, and Charlie go to a party where teens are drinking and playing beer pong. Charlie explains the rules of beer pong and then he and Katie play. Katie doesn’t drink, but her friends do.
- Katie, Morgan, and Charlie go to a party where the host bought a keg, but doesn’t know how to open it. Morgan complains, “This really is a tame, safe, parent-friendly party!”
- While playing guitar at the train station, Katie sees a man who “seems drunk.”
- At a party, someone says, “And that girl over there, she has a prescription drug problem.”
- When Charlie is drunk, his friend “bet me I couldn’t jump off the roof into the pool and I clipped the edge and I’m an idiot.” He injured himself jumping, which led to him losing his scholarship.
- Profanity is used often. Profanity includes ass, bitches, crap, damn, jerk, freaking, hell, shit, and WTF.
- “Goddamn” is used once.
- Morgan said, “Tonight is going to be fan-fucking-tastic, and so are you!”
- A girl calls Morgan a “douchebag.”
- “Oh my God,” is used as an exclamation several times.
- Morgan tells Katie, “it took gigantic cojones to come to this party.”
- When Morgan gets her diploma, she “strikes a pose and mouths, Yeah, bitches!”
- A friend of Katie’s dad “has great stories about what a little pain in the ass my dad was as a kid.”
- Morgan calls a popular girl a “whore” and “flaming crotch rot.”
- An advice columnist writes, “everyone has their shit sandwich. The only difference is some people aren’t willing to talk about it.”
- Morgan tells Katie, “You’re a hot, young, badass woman in charge of her own life, and you text him whenever you damn well please.”
- Katie wonders what happens after a person dies. She wonders if death is “just you, in the dark, awake and aware. I sincerely hope not, because that would be unnecessarily cruel.”
- Katie’s mother died in a car crash when she was younger. Katie wonders what happened when her mom died. “Was there a white light, did her grandparents escort her to heaven? Will she get me when it’s my turn? Or will it just be blackness, a big void, a curtain coming down and that’s it, like I never existed at all?”