Author: C.C. Hunter
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: March 29, 2011
Rapt with distinctive characters derived from common beings that are encountered in paranormal YA, Born at Midnight creates a paranormal atmosphere of discovery and compassion. In real life, everybody faces a point in their life where they find who they really are, but in Born at Midnight, Kylie has to find out who she is, and what she really is. Hunter fearlessly delves into the inner psyche of a not-so-regular teenager and forges a tangible ambiance that effortlessly envelops the otherworldly environment.
One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.
Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.
Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…
At the beginning, Kylie starts out with a shy, quiet base for a character, but Kylie slowly transforms throughout the novel to a girl who can truly stand up for herself. She's rational and compassionate, but she's at the liminal age where she needs to deal with different coming-of-age issues; which includes finding out what she really is. Kylie is a strong, tenacious protagonist with a loyal and determined personality. Her journey to self discovery is filled with forged friendships and relationships that prove to be genuine and reliable. Hunter makes readers probe deeper into the emotional angst and actually feel it. The friendships and the unyielding love triangle lights the whole book up fire and passion.
Choices and decision-making is a concept very much explored throughout Born at Midnight. The pacing matches the constant flow of decisions and Kylie's gradual change. And the consistent mystery of what she really is, keeps the reader in suspense and anxious to read on. Born at Midnight is a great start to the Shadow Falls series and sets the characters and the atmosphere flawlessly to transition to the second book, where I'm sure more questions will be answered, and many more that will arise.
Born at Midnight is an evenly-paced, descriptive coming-of-age story that holds nothing back. Its otherworldly environment sustains a well-rounded cast of characters and well-developed bonds that emanate a sense of safety and at the same time holds an air of suspense. The intricate weaving of paranormal aspects and realism, is flawlessly executed by Hunter.
The Bottom Line: I loved the characters, especially Kylie. I'm in awe of C.C.'s writing style and character development. I can't wait to read the next one!
My reaction/enjoyment: 9/10
Total Score: 95/100 (A+)