A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Lots of insight into and facts about life in the Midwest during the Dust Bowl/Depression years. Some insight into life in England after World War I. Brief explanation of neutrinos.
Love is what's passed on from one generation to the next. The biggest problem with people is not that they have bad intentions, but that they're just too self-absorbed, bumbling along with their own lives, to really pay attention to the bigger picture. So pay attention, and do it right. Freeing yourself to pursue your own happiness can be so painful that a lot of people never do it, but you'll be able to figure things out if you just give it some time. You have to try to save yourself; nothing and no one will do it for you. One small event that might not even seem important can spark a whole, huge life.
Positive Role Models
Adri isn't very likeable; she's blunt and closed off emotionally. But she's a great example of achieving your goals through hard work and self-discipline. Catherine needs life to move forward and makes a painful sacrifice to make that happen for herself. She also takes a huge risk and is willing to do whatever it takes to save her little sister. Lenore is kind, willing to help a stranger, and called bossy when she thinks she's being strong. She bravely makes a huge, scary change in her life so that she can be with her best friend again.
Violence & Scariness
A beloved pet dies, and a teen sees her mother cut it open so that they can know what it died of; brief mention of muck pouring out of the cut. People, farms, and animals in peril from severe dust storms, brief mention of stinging eyes and throats from the dust particles. Reports of children dying from "dust pneumonia." Someone throws rocks at a tortoise.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A teen couple kiss and caress a lot, but it's not described. Once they kiss under covers in bed. A teen imagines kissing someone, also not described. Mention that young people (older teens to early 20s) are chosen to go to Mars because they're likely to marry and produce offspring.
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"A--hole," "crap," "poop," "piss," and middle-finger gesture.
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Products & Purchases
Rare: Band-Aid, Maybelline, Ivory soap, Kevlar, Lucky Strike.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Older teens of legal age in 1920s England drink wine with a couple of meals, one mention of getting a little drunk. Elderly ladies playing cards offer an 18-year-old a "beergarita." Smoking cigars mentioned.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Midnight at the Electric, by Jodi Lynn Anderson (The Vanishing Season), follows three young women from World War I to the year 2065 at important turning points in their lives. Prominent themes are connections between one generation and the next, love, making your own life, and being better stewards of the natural world. Negative content is rare and not described in detail but is emotionally heavy, making this novel best for older teens. A beloved pet dies, a couple of older teens kiss a lot, including once in bed under covers, and "a--hole" is used a few times. The young female protagonists, ages 16 to 18, are good role models in different ways, but they all face their fear of the unknown to make the best lives for themselves that they can.
Is It Any Good?
Author Jodi Lynn Anderson's compelling blend of science fiction with historical fiction is beautifully written and gracefully constructed. Midnight at the Electric draws readers in with colorful, relatable characters and intriguing settings that keep the pages turning as we're drawn, right along with Adri, into discovering the little sparks that can ignite whole lives. Even a 150-year-old tortoise has a part to play.
Teens will especially relate to the three main characters, all older teens themselves, as they face tough decisions about their futures and try to find the courage to live their own lives as happily and freely as they can. Readers of all ages will find a lot of food for thought about reverberations from the past, enduring love, and how what we do here and now will have repercussions for generations yet to come. Keep a box of tissues nearby at the end.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.