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Publisher: Orion Publishing Co Pages: 448 Format: Hardback Source: Bought from Play.com
"April Dunne is not impressed. She's had to move from Edinburgh to Highgate, London, with her parents. She's left her friends - and her entire life - behind. She has to start at a new school and, worst of all, now she's stuck in a creepy old dump of a house which doesn't even have proper mobile phone reception. Ravenwood, her new school, is a prestigious academy for gifted (financially or academically) students - and the only place her parents could find her a place, in the middle of term, in the middle of London, on incredibly short notice. So she's stuck with the super-rich, and the super-smart ...and trying to fit in is when the rest of the students seem to be more glamorous, smarter, or more talented than she is, is more than tough. It's intimidating and isolating, even when she finds a friend in the conspiracy-theorist Caro Jackson - and perhaps finds something more than friendship in the gorgeous, mysterious Gabriel Swift. But there's more going on at Ravenwood than meets the eye. Practical jokes on new students are normal, but when Gabriel saves her from ...something ...in the Highgate Cemetery, and then she discovers that a murder took place, just yards away from where she had been standing, April has to wonder if something more sinister is going on. ..and whether or not she's going to live through it ..."
Background: "By Midnight" is written by Mia James, a pseudonym for Tasmina Perry and John Perry. Tasmina Perry lives in Great Britain and has written four books aside from "By Midnight".
Main Character: April Dunne is a character it is easy to emphatize with. She is strong, but also vulnerable. She takes initiative and get things done. She comes across as very normal, the average teenagegirl. She is pretty and takes good care of her friends, and you wouldn't want to cross her. April will do whatever it takes to fight for her friends and loved ones, if that is necessary.
The Story: The book opens with a well written prolog from 1887, which propels you right into the story. And the author continues to draw you in even after you have left the prolog and started reading the first chapter where April arrives in London. April's mother is annoying, but her father is a very likeable man. And then there are all the teenagers at April's new school, Ravenwood: Davina, Benjamin, Gabriel, Caro and Milo, to name a few. Milo, Benjamin and Gabriel are handsome guys and they all like April. Caro is the misfit, with goth makeup and clothes. Davina is the popular one, the girl who dresses in expensive fashion clothes. But something is not quite right at Ravenwood and in the surrounding area, soon people starts showing up dead.
By Midnight is a story with many stories in it. It is as book about family and friends, and what it is like to be a teenager. It is a romance novel, a book with some paranormal twists, and could also be described as a crime novel. It is a book about secrets, the battle between good and evil. There is a lot of things going on here.
The book: You are easily drawn into the story when you start to read the book, but sometimes the book lacks a little thrust forwards. Every now and then you will read a very thrilling chapter, but then the suspense is gone and there is not much happening before you eventually reach a new, suspenseful chapter. It did take some time before the story really kicked off, but when it does (halfway into the book)I was hooked.
The plot is orginal, nothing is revealed to soon, and you have to keep on reading to find out the answers. The plot was one of the great things about this book. There is so many layers to it. It also takes some time before the paranormal elements gets much focus. At one point I actually forgot that I was reading a paranormal novel.
And I love April and Caro. April is not a girl one can easily manipulate. She has integrity and a very strong will. I also loved the describtions from Highgate Cemetery.
The ending leaves me wondering if there will be a sequel. I really hope so, because I want to know more about Ravenwood, the people there, April's family and other things that are revealed in this book.