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Audio ARC DNF Review: The Midnight Children by Dan Gemeinhart

Publication Date: August 30, 2022


From Dan Gemeinhart, the acclaimed author of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, comes an extraordinary story about a family of runaways who take up residence in a small town, and the outcast boy who finds his voice and his peopleperfect for fans of Katherine Applegate and Kate DiCamillo.

“Dan Gemeinhart’s best yet and that’s saying something.” —Padma Venkatraman, Walter Award-winning author of The Bridge Home

In the dead of night, a truck arrives in Slaughterville, a small town curiously named after its windowless slaughterhouse. Seven mysterious kids with suitcases step out of the vehicle and into an abandoned home on a dead-end street, looking over their shoulders to make sure they aren’t noticed.

But Ravani Foster covertly witnesses their arrival from his bedroom window. Timid and lonely, Ravani is eager to learn everything he can about his new neighbors: What secrets are they hiding? And most mysterious of all…where are the adults?

Yet amid this shadowy group of children, Ravani finds an unexpected friend in the warm and gutsy Virginia. But with this friendship comes secrets revealed—and danger. When Ravani learns of a threat to his new friends, he must fight to keep them safe, or lose the only person who has ever understood him.

Full of wonder, friendship, and mystery, The Midnight Children explores the meaning of “home,” what makes a family, and what it takes to find the courage to believe in yourself.

* “A story of fierce friendship, bravery, loyalty, and finding—or making—a place to belong.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Equal parts Kate DiCamillo and Shirley Jackson, this book is unlike anything else I’ve ever read—you will love it.” —Jonathan Auxier, New York Times-bestselling author of Night Gardener and Sweep: the Story of a Girl and her Monster

My Review:

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Really not vibing with this one. The first 12% has been almost entirely descriptions of the slaughterhouse. So like, lots of blood and dead cows and pieces of dead cows… It all feels …unnecessary.

I haven’t connected to any of the characters and haven’t been interested in what plot there has been thus far. Mostly I’m just grossed out by the slaughterhouse and just want to stop reading and wash out my brain because ew. It’s way too intense for me as an adult that can and sometimes does read bloodier books. I can’t imagine reading this – or worse, listening to it via audiobook, where the descriptions go on and on and you can’t really skip – as a child, which is presumably the audience it’s aimed at as it’s a middle grade book.

Also the bullying is intense and very uncomfortable.

I listened to the audio and the narrator was all right, but didn’t stand out to me. I wouldn’t seek out other books that he narrated, though I wouldn’t actively avoid them either.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for providing an audio arc for review.

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