A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
What's the story?
In MIDNIGHT AT THE ELECTRIC, 18-year-old Adri is one of the lucky few chosen to join the colony on Mars. While she's in training she's staying with a distant cousin, 107-year-old Lily, who lives on a family farm just outside of Wichita, Kansas. Tucked behind some old books in the farmhouse, Adri discovers the journal of Catherine, who lived on the farm during the Dust Bowl. As Adri delves deeper and deeper into the past, she discovers surprising connections between Catherine, Lily, a young woman in England during World War I, herself, the past, and the future. As launch day quickly approaches, Adri becomes fixated on learning what became of Catherine and Lenore. Why does she care about these people from the past? And will finding answers give her the courage she needs to leave Earth forever?
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Midnight at the Electric blends sci-fi with historical fiction. Did that combination work for you? Why, or why not?
Which of the three main characters did you like best: Adri, Catherine, or Lenore? Why? What about her did you most identify with?
Does life in 2065 seem realistic? How old will you be in 2065? What do you think life will be like then?
- Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
- Genre: Literary Fiction
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperTeen
- Publication date: June 13, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
- Number of pages: 272
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
Our editors recommend
For kids who love science fiction and historical fiction
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