BookPage Teen Top Pick, June 2017
A teenager gets a blast from her past as she faces the future in Jodi Lynn Anderson’s latest novel, Midnight at the Electric.
The year is 2065. Sixteen-year-old Adri Ortiz has been chosen to join a group of young scientists who will be living and working on Mars. As an only child who was orphaned at an early age, Adri is surprised to learn that her distant cousin, 107-year-old Lily Vega, would love to have her stay in her Kansas home during Adri’s three months of training for the mission. Adri is skeptical about her relationship with this kindly old woman until she finds a journal and letters from more than a century ago.
Anderson divides her plot into sections, contrasting Adri’s life against the lives of two women from different eras: Cathy Godspeed, who experienced both the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma, and Lenore Allstock, who lived during the aftermath of World War I. Although completely engrossed in Cathy’s journal entries and Lenore’s letters, Adri doesn’t anticipate the impact these women will make on her own life.
Although Adri is a talented, burgeoning scientist, she can often be apathetic. But Anderson plops her protagonist into emotional, three-dimensional stories that expand her heart and connect her to her lineage. Anderson seamlessly shifts between all three narratives as she connects the dots and draws her audience into an engaging, inventive story. This charming coming-of-age tale will have readers hooked from beginning to end.