Elliott, Zetta. A Wish After Midnight. Las Vegas: AmazonEncore, 2010. E-book.
ISBN: 978-0-98255-505-7 E-book: $3.99 USD
Zetta Elliott’s A Wish After Midnight is the story of a young girl named Genna who lives in Brooklyn and is faced with a number of problems as she and her family work to survive in a poverty-stricken area of the city. With three other siblings and a mother who is already working more than her fair share, Genna finds it her responsibility to try and get her family out of their current predicament. Unfortunately, while Genna is intelligent and hard-working, her self-esteem and stubborn nature make it difficult to decide on a true course of action until she is befriended by a young man named Judah. This new friend, while offering a side of romance, also helps Genna see how strong she is and how much strength she has to stand up for what she believes in. One night, Genna finds herself in a disagreement with her mother whose stubborn-headedness also causes her to remain in an unchanging situation, and Genna walks out. Soon thereafter, while seeking refuge at a nearby botanical garden that has always comforted her, Genna throws a penny she found into a wishing fountain and finds herself transported back to Civil War-era Brooklyn. Here, Genna faces another type of poverty that she must work to get out of; she must experience the toil and torment African Americans went through even as free citizens of this country. While there, seeing and experiencing first-hand how her race was treated, Genna is reminded of her own turmoil back home and uses that knowledge to help understand and fight through what she and her peers are currently going through. She summons the strength Judah helped her find to soldier through all the problems she and her peers face and is eventually able to transport herself back to the Brooklyn she came from.
I found this novel to be quite interesting and appreciated seeing it from the point of view of a teenager who is already trying to find her place and figure out where she wants to go in a troubling world. While I see Genna as a good role model, not only for young girls but others going through similar issues, I also found her character to be inconsistent. One moment she is a tough young woman truly finding out what she believes in, the next she is getting a little too weak in the knees when a good looking young man comes around. I also felt the time traveling sequences rather out of place and unexpected although I was aware of the basic plot going into the reading. I feel more should have been alluded to time travel and the mystique of the fountain before she was transported to the 1800s as well as more of an effort on Genna’s part to find a matching way back. Still, I feel the basic premise of the story makes up for these issues and offers other young adults a chance to see unfortunate circumstances from different points of view and experiences. I’d recommend this novel more to readers interested in historical fiction rather than those interested in time travel.
Other formats include: