Top positive review
Time Travel Thriller Spotlights the Present
Reviewed in the United States on August 14, 2020
A girl who wants to escape her Brooklyn neighborhood. A boy from Jamaica who works at her local library. Sounds like a typical YA romance plot?
Not really. Throw in time travel, slavery, the Civil War, and the Emancipation Proclamation and you have the Zetta Elliott sci-fi thriller "A Wish After Midnight."
Genna Colon is the responsible, studious daughter of a single mom. She helps take care of her baby brother and plans on going to college. But one night, after an unprecedented fight with her mom, she storms out of the house and finds herself in her favorite public garden. Suddenly, she finds herself thrown into 1863 Brooklyn nearly beaten to death. She is picked up by two men who are willing to sell her into slavery. Genna must figure out how to use her wit to survive the Civil War era without her family and friends and return to present-day Brooklyn.
Although part one of "A Wish After Midnight" seemed a bit long, most of the novel is a page-turner. How does a modern-day Black girl from Brooklyn survive as an emancipated slave in the north? How has our society changed - or not - since then? Do our words match our actions, especially if we consider ourselves allies of the modern-day BLM movement?
Those are just some of the questions Elliott raises in her prescient novel, originally published in 2008, which seems even more relevant given current events that have put a spotlight on inequity and systemic racism and social injustice. Perhaps most importantly, the reader is left with the question: What kind of ally am I?