Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Early Review: The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz

Title: The Midnight Dance 
Author: Nikki Katz 
Source: Publisher 
Publisher: Swoon Reads 
Published: October 17th, 2017 
Purchase: Amazon | B&N 
Summary: When the music stops, the dance begins.

Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late. 

The Midnight Dance probably has one of my most favorite covers of 2017. It is just stunning! This is a YA historical fiction; and though I had heard it was inspired by “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” I found it doesn’t seem to have much in common with the German fairytale at all. I liked the story and didn’t struggle with the writing – the plot itself is still intriguing: twelve young ballerinas in a creepy boarding house under the rule of the nefarious “Master” – but this book also didn’t blow me away like the beautiful cover did, either. And I think I know why. 

First, I want to discuss the things that I really did enjoy: There are young adult books that push the boundaries of young adult. This book does not. It is exactly what I think of when I think of a young teen reading, and I would absolutely put this into the hands of a young reader. It is clean; it has a sweet butterfly-spawning romance without overdoing it or going too far. The story lends itself to a bit of excitement but nothing that would be too scary or intense. Just the right amount of dark for its target audience. The young heroine Penny is brave; and not once does she give up, even when all hope seems lost. Her admirer Cricket is courageous and devoted. These two are incredibly sweet together, as well. 

So, what was it that didn’t work? Me. The reader. I honestly can find no fault with the story or the writing. I haven’t been a young adult for a very long time; and while I do enjoy some YA, it is usually those that push the boundaries I mention above. I am also a lover and reader of adult thrillers and mysteries so my mind hatched huge dastardly plots, abundantly deceitful characters, and unforeseen twists… and those things didn’t come to pass for me. 

All in all, I’m giving this book a solid three stars. It reminds me of the books I loved when I was a young girl. I couldn’t help but fall for Penny and Cricket. Their relationship is extremely endearing. Though I wish there had been more dancing and that the story was a tad more thrilling, I can still wholeheartedly recommend this for its target audience. And you know what? I’m buying a copy for my personal library anyway, not only because the cover is stunning but because this is a great addition to my YA section and I’ll be able to lend it out to several fellow readers that I know will love it. 

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 

© at A Belle's Tales



  1. This does sound interesting and the cover is stunning. The mention of a retelling had me excited for a moment, but like you I struggle with YA anymore.

    1. Isn't that a beautiful cover? Yeah, this definitely is not a retelling, and I can't help that it felt a bit young for me. But I know there are a lot of readers out there who will love this.

  2. I so so so agree with you on the more dancing! I really wanted more of that. But in the end I still loved Penny and Cricket and that cover is stunning. Great review!

    1. So disappointed there wasn't more dancing :( Yeah, the cover is beautiful!

  3. aww I was kind of looking forward to this, it looks like it would have a lot of potential. I thought it was suppose to be creepy

    1. And it might be creepy for some readers; it just wasn't to me. I hope you'll give it a chance -- I'd love to hear your thoughts!

  4. What a BEAUTIFUL, HONEST, and HEARTFELT review, Michele! Well, I've come to expect nothing less from you -- and Mckenzie, as well!

    I ADORE this cover!! Gosh, I really should feature it on my "Shelf Candy Saturday" meme! It is, as you say, STUNNING.

    The plot sounds wonderful, too, and I'm eager to read that love story! As for why you didn't quite like the book, well, that could be a problem for me, too, since I haven't been a young adult for (ahem!) a while now....lol. But I LOVE that the book is a clean romance, and not too dark. I'm very much of a CHICKEN regarding anything scary! Lol.

    Thanks for sharing your well-written thoughts!! Gotta get this one!! SUPER TACKLE HUGS TO YOU & MCKENZIE!!!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

    P.S. I know I haven't been commenting on your blog much lately, but I WILL catch up! <3 <3 <3

    1. Thank you so much, Maria!! I think there are a lot of aspects of this story that you really would enjoy. I think this one would be just creepy enough for you without scaring you. I hope you share the cover on Shelf Candy Saturday; it's such a beautiful book! Thank you for such a lovely comment and the amazing compliment! *SUPER TACKLE HUGS* from both of us <3 <3 <3

  5. This book sounds so up my street! And the cover is just enchanting.


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