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I have just finished reading a fabulous book and just had to share my experience with you!
The book in question is called 'One Minute To Midnight' by Amy Silver (author of 'All I Want For Christmas' book.). The book was released in the United Kingdom in late 2011 and so is very recent. The book is currently selling at a price of £4.26 which I think is good value for money.
~ * The Plot * ~
It's 1990, new years eve and thirteen year old Nicole is making her resolutions. Fast forward 21 years and Nicole is still making resolutions; sort things out with her best friend, lose half a stone, sort things out with her husband, reunite with her father. What will her resolutions be this year? Read One Minute To Midnight to find out!
~ * Contains Spoilers * ~
The first thing that obviously first stands out for the book is the cover (I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover)...but this cover is just beautiful; it's full of excitement and hope.
The minute I heard about this book, I could not wait to get my hands on a copy of the book; I loved the whole idea of it. I actually 'kept' the book until after Christmas but before New Year so that I could really take in and feel the whole excitement of 'New Years Eve' with the characters; it really made me look forward to my New Years Eve and made me feel positive that I could do anything.
One thing which I liked about the book was how it kept flicking back from past to present; I liked this because it meant that the book wasn't predictable, because you would be reading what was happening in the present and then suddenly you would be back in 1999. I found that I wasn't left confused which was good thing. This technique definitely enriched the story as it allowed you see what had happened in the characters' past and why they were behaving the ways they were. Nicole is forever keeping secrets from other characters and I like that when the story goes back to earlier times, the reader get the answers to any questions.
I really liked the characters in this book; they were really 'well thought out' characters and I found that I got to know each one in depth. I also thought that the characters were very realistic; they weren't exaggerated and came across as being 'normal, real people'; the kind that you would come across in real life.
The story was told in first person, by the main character Nicole; I liked Nicole as I found her really likeable. At times she did comes across as being a bit 'silly' by doing odd things, but as you read on, and the story kept going back to the past, it allowed you see why she was behaving like that, which in the end made me feel sorry for her.
Even though Aidan started out as being a bit of a bad boy, I actually grew to like him in the end. I don't know why, but I didn't really like Nicole's friend Alex; I just couldn't warm to her. I really liked Nicole's friend Julian too. As for Dom, Nicole's husband, I couldn't believe how patient and calm he was about certain situations at the end.
One thing I noticed about this book was the fact that even though you would and should expect to dislike 'bad characters', they are shown in a way which makes you feel sorry for him; as though there is a reason why they are like they are.
I think that the book has a great message. It has a couple of 'bad' characters, who are explained really well and their behaviour is justified (e.g. they were depressed, they were having a hard time with their husband etc) and so you end up forgiving them because you feel really sorry for them. I think that this sends out a great message to the reader; that life is too short to hold grudges and that in the long run it is much better to forgive people.
I also think that it is clever how the book is titled 'One Minute To Midnight' - you know the rush when there is a minute before midnight on new years eve, when you are stressing trying to get everyone together in time for the big 'happy new year' - it kind of reflects that in life itself the clock is always ticking and we should do things before it's too late.
The book is very real to life and the whole book seems believable. I was impressed by the issues the author tackles in this book; death, adultery, abusive relationships - it's all there and written in a 'real-to-life' and sensitive way. I also found the book to be quite emotional in places and whatever the characters were feeling, especially the main character Nicole, I as a reader was also feeling what they were feeling.
Another great message that the book sends out is that if there is something that you have always wanted to do but put off; do it, because life is too short to 'hang around'.
I found the book to be very positive and inspiring. Each part of the story whether past or present is set on new year's eve; a positive time of year and so I think that this reflects on the reading, making them feel positive and wanting to change their lives for the better.
I found the book to be well written; I love how fast paced the book is, but not so fast that you feel you are lost. The writing flows naturally. The descriptive writing is fabulous; the author's ability to describe places and situations is brilliant; Amy Silver really brings the places and situations to life, so much that I felt that I was actually a part of the story.
Whilst I was glad about the ending, I was a left a little bit like 'oh is that it?'. It was a good ending, however I would have preferred more certainty that that was it. Hopefully this will mean that there will be another book after this so that we get to see what actually did happen to the characters, as it was left with quite an open ending.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it! It is a lovely refreshing read.
Thanks for reading!
Xdonzx - xd-o-n-z-x
Nicole Blake's New Year Resolutions, 1990:
1 Start keeping a journal;
2. Lose half a stone;
3. Kiss Julian Symonds
If there are two things Nicole can guarantee about New Years Eve it's that there are always fireworks and Julian Symonds is always there.
Since she was thirteen, no New Year has been complete without Jules. Through school, university and beyond, as friends come and go, Nic and Jules are at the centre of every party.
Until one year everything changes...
Now, as another New Year approaches, Nicole has ghosts to lay and bridges to build - with her husband Dom, with her best friend Alex, and with Aidan, the man who broke her heart.
Life is about to change again for Nicole, and once the fireworks are over and the dust has settled, this time she is determined it will be for the better."
This is the third of Amy Silver's books I have read, and after how great her previous novels were, I knew this one wasn't going to disappoint! I have to say when I first saw the cover of this new book, One Minute to Midnight, I was so impressed, I think its absolutely gorgeous and certainly makes the book jump out at you from a shelf, especially in a day and age where book covers are more important than ever. The premise of this book sounded really interesting, lots of different New Years Eves, and seeing what happened to Nicole in her past and what's going to happen in her present. I eagerly started to read and found I couldn't put it down and finished it just a few days later, and I'm pleased to say that Amy Silver has once again delivered a superb read! However, don't be fooled by the cover into thinking it's a light and fluffy read - Silver manages to cover some hard-hitting themes in here and it makes it all the better.
The book begins in 1990, when a 13 year old Nicole is excited that her crush Julian Symonds is coming to her parents New Years Eve party. They quickly become close, and form a friendship that is going to last a lifetime, despite the initial reluctance of everyone around them. We then revisit the pair at various New Year Eves throughout their lives up until the present day, when it seems all is not well in Nicole's world. Her relationship with her husband Dominic is on rocky ground, and I very much enjoyed reading the pair trying to work through their problems to get their marriage back on track despite everything else going on in their lives. I actually weirdly felt quite sorry for Dominic, even though I really shouldn't have done, and I found Nicole to be a bit hard and a cold fish, which is probably the opposite of how I should have felt, but maybe it's why I failed to warm to Nicole for quite a while.
I really enjoyed the alternate narrative of the book between New Years Eves of Nicole's pasts, and then coming back to the present day and her current plans with husband Dom for a trip away to New York City to meet up with old friends. It was interesting to see how past events really shape the Nicole of the present day story, and what exactly went on with their group to make things as they are today. I loved reading the complex relationships in the book too, not just Nicole and Dom, but also with best friend Julian, her Uni friend Alex, and Julian's wayward cousin Aidan, a bit of a bad boy that you can't help but like. Nicole is clearly changed by these relationships and their changing dynamics, and as I say, each of the characters really help shape the book, and the direction that Nicole's life is going in.
This book was a really great read, and certainly gives you a lot of food for thought about how your actions make a big impact on other people's lives, not just for the short term but the long term too. Silver really does cover some big issues in the book, from adultery to abuse in relationships and death as well, but are all written in such a fresh and interesting way you are consumed by the book and Nicole's story. The flashbacks were really fun to read, from the clothes they wore to the music that they listened to, and you can really sense the movement of time in the book which was great. Although I did find Nicole a little hard to like at first, she was definitely a complex leading character, and it was fun to revisit all of her New Year's celebrations with her - in fact, it was nice to read a book not completely focussed on Christmas but on the fun of New Year, and also read Nicole's ever-changing resolutions too! A really great read that I can highly recommend.
ISBN: 978-0099564638. Published by Orion on 24th November 2011. Pages: 416. RRP: £6.99. Also available as an eBook.
Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com
Thank you for reading.