The Midnight Children

Holt. Aug. 2022. 352p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250196729.
Gr 4-8–Ravani is a lonely kid in Slaughterville, a town well known for its meat processing plant and little else. Virginia is a seemingly sullen girl with a passel of siblings who sneak into town under the cover of night and set up camp in an empty house near Ravani’s. So begins Gemeinhart’s moody, magnificent novel. A Stephen King–esque blend of the sentimental and sinister flows through the story—alleyway bullies, creekside confidences, a villain known as the Hunter with fingernails sharpened to points, and a breathtaking chase through the slaughterhouse’s killing floor. The Hunter is in pursuit of Virginia’s ragtag family, seeking the reward for their return to an equally sinister orphanage. However, as the story unravels, it’s clear that the roving band of self-proclaimed Ragabonds are fine, functional, and perhaps a bit magical, living on their own. Their loving embrace of Ravani challenges his bleak view of his situation, and the powerful connection he forms with Virginia helps them both embrace their best qualities and become better together. Gemeinhart’s omniscient narrator features heavily in the text, with an almost hypnotic commentary about souls and choices, but his best work in this book is scene-setting, painting the small-town tableaux fit for any drama required of his tale. Ravani and the Ragabonds are coded as white.
VERDICT A tale by turns sweet and terrifying of friendship, bravery, and finding oneself in caring for others—this is for readers who enjoy dark tales with a lot of heart.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing