New Young Adult Fiction: Midnight at the Electric – Jodi Lyn Anderson

One of the most profound and haunting books I ever read was Michael Cunningham’s Specimen Days. It initially seemed to be three unrelated novellas but by the end it was clear that the three disparate stories were slowly and structurally wound together through time and with the intention of telling us something profound about what it means to be human.

A bit of the same technique is at work here. Anderson’s story starts in 2065 with Adri, a young woman who has been chosen for a mission to Mars. While visiting an extended family member’s Kansas home, she uncovers clues about the life of a girl who had lived in the family’s home during the Dustbowl of the Great Depression. A final thread winds the story back further back to include young woman preparing the immigrate to America after WWI.

With intertwined voices, the story is told through prose, letters, and diaries–and the result is a lovely and timeless story about the nature of being human: the poignancy of leaving as well as the fear and excitement of an unknown future.

Five starred reviews for this one! Anderson has definitely arrived as one of the more nuanced and accomplished writers writing fiction for teens.

Anderson interweaves the stories of three tenacious young women in this sprawling saga…. Each character’s resilience and independence shines brightly, creating a thread that ties them together even before the intersections of their lives are fully revealed. Anderson’s piercing prose ensures that these remarkable women will leave a lasting mark on readers.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

’Deft, succinct, and ringing with emotion without ever dipping into sentimentality, Anderson’s novel is both intriguing and deeply satisfying.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“With quietly evocative writing, compellingly drawn characters, and captivating secrets to unearth, this thought-provoking, lyrical novel explores the importance of pinning down the past before launching into the mystery of the future.”
Booklist (starred review)

Anderson deftly tackles love, friendship, and grief in this touching exploration of resilience and hope. A must-have for all YA collections.”
School Library Journal (starred review)

“Anderson employ[s] a no-frills style that allows her characters to shine through, with each distinct, nuanced, and memorable.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)

Midnight at the Electric (9780062393548) by Jodi Lyn Anderson. $17.99 hardcover. 6/13/17 on sale.

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