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BOOK REVIEW – Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

BOOK REVIEW – Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn AndersonMidnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Divided by time. Ignited by a spark.

Kansas, 2065. Adri has secured a slot as a Colonist—one of the lucky few handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house over a hundred years ago, and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate. While Adri knows she must focus on the mission ahead, she becomes captivated by a life that’s been lost in time…and how it might be inextricably tied to her own.

Oklahoma, 1934. Amidst the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine fantasizes about her family’s farmhand, and longs for the immortality promised by a professor at a traveling show called the Electric. But as her family’s situation becomes more dire—and the suffocating dust threatens her sister’s life—Catherine must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most.

England, 1919. In the recovery following the First World War, Lenore struggles with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail to America in pursuit of a childhood friend. But even if she makes it that far, will her friend be the person she remembers, and the one who can bring her back to herself?

While their stories spans thousands of miles and multiple generations, Lenore, Catherine, and Adri’s fates are entwined.

4.5 stars rounded up, because genuine tears and laughs are the most precious things, aren’t they? Midnight at the Electric relates several stories entwined, stories about loss and courage and hope and choices. You jump straight into new characters’ lives and you just care instantly and isn’t it baffling? When I see that I can read an entire book without giving a damn whatsoever and that Jodi Lynn Anderson manages to create a connection between her characters and I in the span of 2 pages, I feel awed.


“The longer I live, ” she looked up at the ceiling, “the more I think our big mistakes are not about having bad intentions, but just not paying attention. Just bumbling along, a little self-absorbed.”

I want to label this book as slow and then I don’t, because I’ve noticed that people associate slow and quiet to long and boring and that just won’t do. At no moment did I feel anything but enthralled, yet that’s true that’s Midnight at the Electric isn’t an action-packed novel.

Action-packed, again an adjective that annoys me, because there’s nothing that frustrates me more than trying to explain how futile actions are when it comes to pacing. A novel can be filled with events and a chore to get through all the same. Another – and yes yes yes I’m talking about this beauty – can be one million times more compelling even if it mostly deals with relationships and all that we humans ever feel and dream or fear.

“Lily shrugged. “I think that’s what you say when you can’t have something you want, isn’t it? You say you don’t want it in the first place.”

Above everything, Midnight at the Electric explores the strings that hold ourselves back. Does leaving is breaking them or is that another thing entirely? This question has been at the heart of my early years as an adult, and at 32 now, the only thing I can say is that I’ve found my answer, but that I genuinely believe that there’s no such thing as an universal one. Go and find yours.

Jodi Lynn Anderson‘s writing is stunning in all the ways that count for me, emotional without forcing and filled with these thoughtful moments that ring so true, as Leonore’s definition of grief :

“Sadness is only something that’s part of you. Grief becomes you; it wraps you up and changes you and makes everything – every little thing – different than it was before.”

The quote above is why I’ll always come back to her books, even if the subjects don’t appeal to me at first glance : because I know that in the end, her stories are so full of life that they’ll always contain little parts of me, they’ll always perfectly capture that feeling of possibility, and isn’t that the most magical side of life? I guess they just inspire me, and I can’t say that’s true for many books. I can’t recommend them enough.

BOOK REVIEW : Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

BOOK REVIEW : Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn AndersonTiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

“You have to be careful who you meet. You can’t unmeet them.”

I’ve finished Tiger Lily 24 hours ago and spent the day reliving some parts and thinking about it, my heart fluttering and suddenly missing a beat when I let my mind drift into Neverland.

Here’s is why.

The story is said in Tinker Bell’s POV. Who’s mute. Oh, and who can read your thoughts. I knew fairies were such dangerous creatures. Although some readers find it annoying, the rather descriptive kind of writing was a perfect fit for the story in my opinion : it helps to provide a more magical atmosphere, and before realizing it, we’re utterly stuck in Neverland. That’s true this book can be classed as slow-paced but you know what? I can’t think of any part that could have been removed.

Everything’s dazzling. Nothing’s useless.

Moreover, the choice of Tinker Bell as a narrator brought more tension, as she happens to know things characters don’t. After years spent utterly annoyed by her character, I find myself understanding her for the very first time – I must confess that I was afraid the little fairy would have prevented me from loving this book – Color me surprised : it was in fact the opposite.

Tiger Lily doesn’t fit in her village’s life yet she’s always a part of it. Raised by the shaman, Tik Tok, she always knew she was different and – well, she doesn’t care. She doesn’t care if she’s not as pretty as the other girls, as long as she’s allowed to hunt and to live her life. She doesn’t care to be engaged to a complete brute as long as her father can keep his head up. She doesn’t know how to express her feelings, and more than that, she doesn’t know that she had to. She’s wondrous. She’s brave. She makes mistakes. She’s real.

She’s anything like female leads I’ve ever met.
She’s everything I can admire.

The Lost Boys hold my heart in their hands. I fell for them from the very first time Tiger Lily met them, all both awkward, frightened and reckless. Of course Peter‘s charm seduced me – enthralled me. I mean, I could see pretty quickly how he managed to take the central place in this bunch of teenagers. He’s full of empathy, selflessness, passionate, blunt – yet sometimes he seems to lose his confidence and what does it stay? An adorable but terrified boy whose need to win endlessly fight with his carefulness.

Ahem. Watch out – I might not be able to prevent myself from swearing in that part.
Because the Englanders. #!@% colonizers.
You stupid jackasses who think your way of life is the only one that can be taken into account.
Who never even try to understand Neverlanders’ customs and traditions.
And your God. Oh, let’s talk about your God. Sorry but it pissed me off so much to hear all this crap and to see stereotypes and judgment enter the village, threatening the sake of every single inhabitant. Deciding that you are judges of what is right and what isn’t.

I wanted to punch something, and I couldn’t help but think about the champions of colonization we used to be before, we Europeans – To see how quickly they could insinuate the doubt in everybody’s head, taking control – That was both frightening and maddening to be let in the role of the helpless witness, continually dreading the train wreck.

I took a huge breath when I closed the book then I felt the need to reopened it almost instantly. I’m pretty sure this striking story will be etched in my mind – Tiger Lily slowly enchanted me, worming its way into my heart – and will haunt me for a long time.

Until I reread it, I’m afraid.

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