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Feb 18

Teens Review: Burning Midnight

Posted on February 18, 2019 at 12:00 AM by Elizabeth Land

Title: Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh
Reviewer: Alexander C.
Star Rating: 5 Stars

Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh coverHave you ever wanted to be just a little bit better at something, anything, from something simple like strength to something as niche as being able to hold your breath longer? 

Burning Midnight is a wonderfully written science fiction novel by Will McIntosh centered around young David “Sully” Sullivan. A world in which quaint marble-like objects have appeared all over the world in the oddest places. These objects vary in size and shape and some may be rarer than others, but they all have one thing in common: All of the marbles must be used in pairs. The story is written in third person but readers are limited to seeing the story through Sully's emotions and motivations, though not directly from his point of view.

Sully is an average teenage boy hanging out with his friends, trying to do his best in school. But there's one thing that makes Sully stand out from everybody else: Sully found the only pair of “Cherry Reds” in the world. Sully was hoping they would be the big break for him and his mother. They really needed that money as his mother lost her job recently. Sully makes a deal with billionaire Alex Holliday, $2.5 million for the pair of “Cherry Reds”.

Once Holiday got the “Cherry Reds” and was able to use them he did not follow through with his deal. The “Cherry Reds” did not give him any new powers. Instead, they spawned a whole new wave of marbles. Sully, trying to save up money, decides to start buying and selling marbles at the flea market. This is where his journey begins.

I really enjoyed the concepts of otherworldly objects just appearing out of of nowhere and a whole economy revolving around them. It is very reminiscent of the 1971 science fiction classic “Roadside Picnic” by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky in which otherworldly objects appear out of nowhere and a whole economy forms around them. The characters were not deep but not shallow at all. Sully, Hunter, and the rest of the main characters provided the perfect mix of drama and humor to a new story supported by old ideas. I have to say my favorite part of the book was the relationship between Sully and Hunter. I’m not a stickler for romance especially in young adult novels as it is usually poorly written and ruins the atmosphere. Their awkward attempts at flirting and just making conversation mixed with their varied backgrounds makes for a silly but heartfelt story. Burning Midnight is a good read for those old and young, an introduction to the world of Sci-Fi, and maybe nostalgic read for older readers.

YCPL Readalikes

  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
    Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.
  • Icons by Margaret Stohl
    After an alien force known as the Icon colonizes Earth, decimating humanity, four surviving teenagers must piece together the mysteries of their pasts—in order to save the future.
  • The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
    Cassie Sullivan, the survivor of an alien invasion, must rescue her young brother from the enemy with help from a boy who may be one of them.