Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fluffy
Published: November 2, 2018
My Rating: ★★★★★
This book is actually two short stories by Rainbow Rowell, the first is called Midnights and the second is Kindred Spirits. I will review each separately because really, they don’t go together at all really… they are very separate stories. But at the end of this review I will briefly consider the book as a whole.
Midnights is the story of Noel and Mags, who meet at the same New Year’s Eve party every year and fall a little more in love each time . . .
The first story is a story of two teenagers who go to the same New Year’s Eve party every year, and we are given little snippets of every year’s party and see the pair grow closer and closer and eventually fall in love.
The story is very sweet and I appreciate that it quite realistically follows a teenager’s growth and development over the years. These characters are markedly different each year and you can see in a very small space of time how they are growing and developing. I think that is really impressive to do in such a small time frame.
It is undoubtedly cute and I really enjoyed it. It is however, highly predictable. There is nothing that catches you by surprise here, nothing groundbreaking and nothing of particular note. On the flip side I don’t find anything particularly objectionable either.
Honestly though, I don’t think stories have to be new or overly original to be enjoyable. Sometimes predictable is okay because you bought it expecting a certain thing, so to have that expectation met is a good thing in some cases. Where it would be bad is if that predictability made it boring. Which this is not.
So its a perfectly lovely story.
Kindred Spirits is about Elena, who decides to queue to see the new Star Wars movie and meets Gabe, a fellow fan.
Kindred Spirits was a much more interesting story from my perspective. Though a lot less sappy and fluffy it was a lot more original and predictable (which again is either a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it).
The story is about Star Wars fans. Plain and simple.
They are waiting in line to see the new Star Wars movie, three days early, in the modern day, when people just book their tickets online rather than sleeping on the street.
Its a pretty cute and quirky story, though I think it has a lot more emotional depth than the previous one. For one thing, there is a great exploration into what Star Wars means to these characters, which was really interesting. It was cool to see how these three characters, all of whom showed up in the same place for the same thing could have such different motivations. It was a really sweet story of how fandoms can and do unite people and are a great way to make friends. I really enjoyed it.
As for the book as a whole, I don’t get it. I really don’t. The stories were sweet and cute and all that and thats lovely, but why?
This book is literally less than 150 pages (with many pages being just an illustration) and there is no connecting theme between them (festive stories felt like a really massive reach for a linking theme). I feel like they should have been put in a bigger anthology collection (Midnights already was in a previous collection) or have been published online or something as a cheaper ebook. This book is priced like a regular book, a full length novel, which just feels off to me. There is something inherently uncomfortable to me about charging $20 (as it is in Australia for the paperback) for two stories which are about 50 pages each (give or take). Especially when they’re clearly thrown together for no reason. As I mentioned, I do really like the stories, but I just feel weird about the book itself.
That being said, it is overall, very cute. I liked that the book was illustrated and I think the cover and overall presentation of the book is bang on.
I also really liked how the teenagers in this book actually seemed like real teenagers! There is such a huge tendency in YA to write teenagers who seem deep by writing them like adults. These characters felt young and awkward and wholly teenaged. Kudos Rainbow, you did that right.
Is this a deep and meaningful, life changing type book. No. Not at all.
Is it even particularly memorable? No, not really.
Is it original? Also no.
But is it a sweet, feel good story that (if you got from a library or have a lot of money to spend on books) is well worth giving a read and having a bit of a touchy feeley moment with. Absolutely!