A Wish After Midnight
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"A wonderful story that will make readers think. . ."
A Wish After Midnight: A beautiful young adult book that focuses on the reality of human beings from all cultures being placed into a proverbial "box." Throughout the ages, the human race has segregated itself in many ways, forcing each group throughout every time period to be relegated to a very specific rung of the human ladder. Whether it be by race, education, financial circumstances, or just plain bigotry, throughout every time period in history some people have been forced into a corner.
This story takes place in Brooklyn. Genna is a young girl living with her mother, a nurses' aide at the local hospital. Her siblings include Toshi who is more interested in wearing tight clothes and flirting than she is in an education. Rico, her older brother, is their mother's favorite. He spends most of his time dealing and doing drugs. Tyjuan is the baby of the family. Their father went back to Panama when the children were younger, leaving his family to fend for themselves.
Genna is the brilliant mind of the family. She studies extremely hard at school and wants nothing more than to go to college tp become a psychiatrist. The urban environment she grows up in isn't "hospitable for most species." She lives among drug dealers and slumlords. She is completely sick and tired of her peers defacing property. Her mother harbors as much racial hatred against other cultures as Genna and her family face from people who look down on them because of their poverty. After a fight one evening with her mother, Genna walks out and goes to the park. This is her favorite place where she can throw a copper coin into the fountain and make wishes – hoping beyond hope that she will be successful in her lifetime and get out of the "box" she was born into in the city.
Genna looks at the ground and finds a strange coin. She tosses it into the air and falls asleep. Upon waking, she is covered in wounds and lying in the snow. Two men hover above her and wonder if there is a reward for finding a runaway slave. The story is now set in 1861, and Genna is sent to an orphanage. After the slaves are freed by President Lincoln, they feel happy and sure that their lives will change. Of course as history shows us actual change is in the far distant future.
As the story brings us through a time long past, we meet many different characters including a doctor who wishes to employ Genna and offer her an education of sorts in medicine. His wife, a supporter of the abolitionist cause, shows many signs that she believes that the freed slaves are still far below her on the ladder of life, however.
A Wish After Midnight is a wonderful story that will make readers think and hopefully will help the next generation break out of the "box". Perhaps if there were more wonderfully written and poignant books like A Wish After Midnight we could find a way to make a better future for everyone no matter what color his or her skin is.
Reviewer: Amy E. Lignor