Sunday, May 1, 2016

Nightfall by Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski

AuthorsJake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Date of publication: September 2015

On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.

Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.

Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.

Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and  Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.

And it may already be too late

Nightfall was an interesting story that I ended up wanting more from in the end.  The people of the village on this small island live through 14 years of daylight and have to leave the island for 14 years once nightfall comes.  Marin, her brother Kana and their friend Lock are accidentally left on the island when everyone leaves.

I did enjoy the characters.  The friendship between Lock and Marin and their dedication to one another was something that kept me reading.  There was also a good creepy vibe going throughout the book.  It was enough to keep me on the edge of my seat. But, it wasn't overly scary and would be good for any middle grade reader.

As I said, this was an interesting idea, but I felt like the world building was lacking a bit.  Once the kids are in their main part of the adventure, I still didn't have a sense of the reason for the 14 years  day/night and what really lurked in the darkness.  I was left in the end with more questions that I was happy with. I would almost love to have a sequel in order to get more explanation because the epilogue was kind of disappointing.  

I think this is a book that middle graders would like.  It's pretty clean and not too scary.

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