Title: A Wish After Midnight
Author: Zetta Elliott
Publisher: Zetta Elliott, 2008
Main character: Genna Colon
Genna’s mother probably never told her to be careful what she wished and she probably never told Genna that she was beautiful, or smart or a wonderful daughter. Mom was too busy struggling with a son and a daughter she already lost to the streets, trying to make ends meet on her single income and getting through life’s daily demands. No, life was not easy for Genna and her family in Brooklyn. We know that Gemma is intelligent, tall, responsible, friendless and losing hope. She’s a young girl who doesn’t know her gifts or her options. She really leads a sheltered life and is unaware of much in the world around her, except for the world that exists in her garden.
She’s crushin’ on Judah and when they finally get together, her world expands. There is much tension brought in her home because of the decisions of her older siblings and how they affect the dynamics of the household.
Genna comes of age in this story, but not before she makes one fateful wish that takes her to the past. She transcends time and space to land in Civil War era Brooklyn. Her relationships lead her to uncover the depths of racial relations in New York City, what freedom really means, her true beauty and her real love.
This historical novel is a well written tale, penned by Zetta Elliott, author of Bird and numerous works of published poetry, one act plays and other works. She is a scholar and researcher who is well versed in Brooklyn’s diverse history. Even with these accomplishments, Elliott has had to go the route of self publishing in order to get this book to market. Don’t let that stop you from purchasing it! Adding this book to any young adult collection will be a wise investment. The historical evidence of the Draft Riots, and conditions for Irish and African Americans is sound. Messages in the book are clear but not overpowering. The suspense created by the story remains with me even now as I wonder how Judah found Genna and if he will indeed find her again.
Zetta Elliott be careful what you wish for because you should have a bestseller on your hands with this one!
For purchase information: http://www.zettaelliott.com/books.html
THEMES: race relations; Brooklyn; Civil War; coming of age; identity