TITLE: Born at Midnight
AUTHOR: C.C. Hunter
SERIES: Shadow Falls #1
PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Griffin
PAGES: 416 (Paperback)
After finding this book on Goodreads and wanting it for months, I was delighted when I saw it in my library. The whole plot, whilst done before, sounded like a win: a summer camp for ‘troubled’ teens who are also supernatural beings with awesome powers.
After being caught at the wrong party Kylie’s recently divorced mother decides to send her to Shadow falls, a summer camp for troubled teens. However, when Kylie gets there she finds that it’s actually a place where young supernaturals come to learn about their powers; and she’s one of them. Kylie’s convinced she’s normal, but being able to see a dead guy no one else can may lead to the contrary. Add in a snarky witch and a vampire as roommates, a love triangle, and strange events that may cause the end of Shadow Falls, and you have Born at Midnight.
For me, Kylie wasn’t the perfect heroine, she didn’t have some great quest, and she wasn’t exceptionally brave or determined. But what made her unique was that she was real. Unlike so many books right now, Kylie lives in the real world, has real problems, and acts like a completely normal teenager. Any youth reading this book would easily be able to identify with her and her feelings, but some of her decisions had me going what, really?
One thing that annoyed me was Kylie’s constant denial. She accepted that she could see ghosts, but she still insisted that she wasn’t a paranormal and didn’t belong there. She repeated things over and over, and even I will admit she was a bit of a whiner. Her relationship with Lucas and Derek was also a tad annoying, she was every bit the horny teenager when they so much as looked at her, and yet when it came to actual feelings she was a bit wishy washy on the whole thing.
On the background characters: I liked Derek, Miranda, Della, and Holiday. To be honest, though Lucas was hot and had a weird ‘past’ with Kylie, you didn’t actually read about him that much. With the others though Ms. Hunter actually took the time to flesh out her characters, giving them good and bad qualities and allowing us an insight into their history. Holiday in particular was a nice addition, she played the parent role in this novel and I must say she was written admirably.
Hunter’s writing is good, she gives you enough detail to picture the scene and invokes the right emotions, but there was nothing utterly amazing about it. It felt rather straight-forward, and there wasn’t anything in particular to set her apart from others in her genre. It was nice to include all of the supernatural species instead of one, but I’ve read so many YA PNR that I’m starting to tell the mehs from the OMG-this-is-amazing. I’m sorry to say that this may be leaning towards a ‘meh’.
Final verdict: C.C. Hunter has produced a solid addition to the YA genre, with a unique twist on the summer camp story line and surprising plot. I would recommend this to older teens, Born at Midnight is a read I think they’ll like and has an identifiable heroine. However, if you’re much older than that, I would say maybe not, you’ll probably laugh at how juvenile it seems, and want something with more depth. Overall, Born at Midnight is a thoroughly entertaining read that I will most definitely read the sequel of.