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.
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