Second Look: C.C. Hunter’s BORN AT MIDNIGHT (Shadow Falls #1, PB 2011)

Title: Born at Midnight
Author: C.C. Hunter
Series: Shadow Falls
Age: Young Adult (Gr. 9+, sexual content, pregnancy, some violence)
Genre: Paranormal

What It’s About
Being in the wrong place at the wrong time really screws up things for Kylie Galen.  After finding out her parents are getting divorced, she goes to a party with her best friend.  Which happens to be busted by the cops.  She’s not charged with anything, but Kylie’s mom thinks it’s a good idea to ship her off to a two month summer camp for “troubled teens.”  But Shadow Falls isn’t for troubled teens.  It’s for supernatural teens to learn how to deal with their new powers and decide what they want to do next in their lives.

Kylie’s life becomes more complicated when she falls for two boys (while still trying to deal with her recent break-up with normal Trey).  Derek, half-fae, is hot and safe.  Lucas, a werewolf, is sexy and dangerous.

Oh, yeah.  Kylie can see ghosts, too.

Mystery is added on a superficial level when the camp is threatened to be closed down because someone is killing the endangered animals at the nearby wildlife reserve.  And the Supernatural kids are being blamed for it.

Kylie’s life is an emotional roller-coaster and any teen who has gone through similar problems will be able to relate.  Her dad – her rock – has suddenly disappeared from her life and she’s left to deal with her Ice Queen mother.  Kylie doesn’t believe she’s Supernatural.  In fact, she’ll do anything she can to prove she’s just a normal human – with either a brain tumor or just completely crazy.  Before the news of the real reason behind the camp is dropped on her – Kylie’s biggest problem was that Trey broke up with her because she wouldn’t sleep with him.

It’s an easy read.  Hunter may have tried to make a light-hearted novel too deep with issues like hooking up before the girl is ready, a pregnancy scare (Kylie’s bff), and accepting others no matter what their culture/status/race.  The novel would have worked better as a standalone look at paranormal fiction with the mystery of who was killing the endangered animals and Kylie’s interest in two boys alone.

There are some corny lines throughout, as well.  The writing felt forced to center to a young teen audience.  Instead of swearing, Kylie says thinks like “Dad-Blast-It.”  Holiday tries to give some advice about not hooking up with random guys, but it comes out cliched and overdone.  I’m not sure if this was an attempt at humor or to lighten the topics, but it didn’t really work for me.

Kylie’s inability to face that she’s Supernatural was well done.  It was more believable then her suddenly believing what she’s told after having NO real signs of being different her entire life.  So that was in favor of the plot.

The pregnancy scare with Sara and the constant interior monologue about which boy was having sex with which girl got a little old, fast.  It’s good that Hunter didn’t change Kylie’s morals, but at times I felt like they were being brought up too often to reiterate a point and it didn’t seem natural.  It was too much of a After School Program Announcement than something that works in YA fiction.

The general plot and idea of the story/series is good, but I wasn’t as impressed as I’d hoped I be with it.

Final Rating: 5/10.
I did like the romance/love-triangle scene (they made me giggle), but too much other stuff bothered me about it.  So I’m going 50-50 on this.  Younger girls (who are actual teens) may have a different opinion, though.  But be cautious, it’s not for young audiences, even with the After School Program itinerary.

The sequel, Awake at Dawn, was released in October 2011 in paperback.


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