Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books on July 22, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Sexual Content: Vague sexual situations
Reviewed by: Megan
<i>Above all else, though I try not to think about it, I know which life I prefer. And every night when I Cinderella myself from one life to the next a very small, but definite, piece of me dies. The hardest part is that nothing about my situation has ever changed. There is no loophole.</i>
Until now, that is...
For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she Shifts to her ′other′ life - a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she′s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she′s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.
With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments which bring her dangerously close to the life she′s always wanted... But just what - and who - is she really risking?
Mix the short-lived NBC show Awake with the Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors, then send the protagonist back to high school, and you get ONE PAST MIDNIGHT by Jessica Shirvington. Unlike Jason Isaacs in Awake, however, Sabine has been shifting between two lives for as long as she can remember. Though there's some confusion early on about the mechanics of Sabine's double lives, not to mention the unlikely reality of a young girl living in two universes without going mad, Shirvington paints a beautiful portrait of a lonely, desperate girl struggling with a lack of identity. Despite the extraordinary circumstances, the push to meet other people's expectations at the cost of personal expression is something a lot of adolescents can relate to.
I usually want to know the 'why' of a supernatural event, but in this case, the 'why' and 'how' aren't really important. The rules always matter, but despite Sabine's emphasis on the importance of those rules, and the ways she describes determining the boundaries of her Shift, they aren't expressed very clearly at first. Fortunately, for me, the rules change anyway once Sabine breaks her arm in one reality, and it fails to cross over to the other.
Shirvington makes you feel Sabine's frustration, her constant vigilance, and her isolation, despite having friends and family in both worlds. You also feel Sabine's exhaustion, mentally and physically, so it's easier to understand why she makes post-graduation plans to end one of her lives for good. There's a lot that's formulaic about the book - the guy who shows up and teaches Sabine how to trust, the single event that nearly ruins the life she thought was perfect - but the emotions are real, and they really made me feel for this girl. There's a bittersweet love story, too, so I kept turning pages to find out what she would choose, if she would choose, and if - like Sliding Doors - her two worlds would collide.More Reviews: