Sometime After Midnight by L. Philips
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, LGBTQIA+
Publication: August 7th 2018 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 385 pages
#AlexFromTarget meets queer Prince Charming in this glittering romcom following a teen music prodigy and the handsome socialite who unwittingly turns him into an internet sensation.
In a dingy Los Angeles club late one night, Cameron and Nate meet and find they have much more in common than their love of an obscure indie band. But when Nate learns that Cameron is the heir to a record label, the very one that destroyed his father’s life, he runs away as fast as he can. The only evidence of their brief but intense connection is a blurry photo Cameron snaps of Nate’s Sharpie-decorated Chuck Taylors as he flees.
Considering that Cameron is a real life Prince Charming–he’s handsome, famous, and rich–it’s only fitting that he sets out to find the owner of the Sharpied shoes. Cameron’s twin sister, a model and socialite, posts the picture of Nate’s shoes on Instagram to her legions of fans with the caption, “Anyone know the gorgeous owner of these shoes? My hottie brother is looking for him.” The internet just about breaks with the news of a modern fairy tale and the two become entwined in each other’s lives in this sparkling story about the power of music, the demons that haunt us, and the flutterings of first real love.
Me and my friend Miel from Bookish and Awesome were lucky enough to get our hands on early copies of L. Philips’ Sometime After Midnight. We read it together and wanted to do a collaborative review to share with everyone, and we both can’t wait for y’all to meet Nate and Cameron! Read on to know what we thought of this cute, and romantic YA contemporary that’s pitched as #AlexFromTarget meets Queer Prince Charming.
@bookfreakrevelations I’ll be honest, I haven’t heard of this book until after I saw a finished copy in Fully Booked. But since I saw the gorgeous front and back covers, I immediately looked it up on Goodreads and found out that it’s a story pitched as #AlexFromTarget meets Queer Prince Charming. And obviously, ya boi was all for it! In the past, I read (and loved) Jilly Gagnon’s YA debut, #famous, which is also a story that’s based on the Alex From Target meme and so I had such high hopes for this. How about you, Miel? What did you think of the plot? Was it something that readily intrigued you?
@mielsnickety Yes, I feel like there wasn’t much pre-publication buzz for this one. But reading the synopsis of the book and having not read the author’s debut, I too had high hopes. That Philips would go something in the way of a fun, campy modern fairy tale that pokes fun in its ridiculousness. Unfortunately, that wasn’t what we got. But Sometime After Midnight is still a fun, light-hearted read, and I enjoyed it for the most part. Did it meet your expectations? What did you like most about it?
@bookfreakrevelations Right? I mean, I thought I was in the know when it came to upcoming 2018 releases, but I guess I was wrong. 😂But to answer your question, well, I have a yes AND a no for that one. Mostly, it did satisfy me and my need for a cute contemporary featuring queer characters. I loved how gender and sexual preferences, if I’m not mistaken, didn’t come into play at all in this story. It was as if Nate and Cameron were living in such a progressive time—I kind of wish that we’re living in it too. But on the other hand, what I didn’t like about it was the pacing. As I’ve said before, I’m all for reading contemporaries, whether they be short or not, as long as the length and the pacing are justifiable. In this case, I found that there were just too much lagging and dragging scenes that I found boring and just not that significant to the plot. At least in my opinion.
@mielsnickety I know! I appreciate the fact that not once in the book was homosexuality an issue. The scandal was always about Nate’s and Cameron’s bloodlines, not because they were two boys falling in love. And obviously, there are narratives to explore that, and they are equally important. But I think there is something beautiful in a queer love story that lets its queer characters just be. I also agree with your comment on the pacing. The story didn’t find its footing ’til pretty much halfway through. But it was a smooth sail after that.
@bookfreakrevelations Yeah, exactly. In my case, I actually thought that the story only moved rather quickly after the first part. There was this certain scene that allowed for everything to finally click together so the narrative could move forward. What did you think of the first half of the story, Miel?
@mielsnickety I liked that Cinderella’s hallmark “midnight” scene happened early on in the book. I really enjoyed that scene where Nate and Cameron met. But I thought it was weird how the first third of the novel was Nate having these self-discoveries, and away from Cameron, too. I don’t know. That felt to me like the middle part of a rom-com, after the Conflict and before the inevitable Reunion. What did you think about the characters?
@bookfreakrevelations Hmm, I thought they were okay. When we met Nate and Cameron, they were both such flat MCs. During the first half of the story, I didn’t really notice how they were slowly turning into these responsible and well-rounded heroes of their own book. What I loved most about Nate was that even though he was almost always afraid to take risks, he was still trying his best to take these leaps of faith to try and secure a bright, music-filled future for himself. As for Cameron, I loved how he respected his family so much and his relationship with Tess was just adorable. The brother-sister dynamic they had was spot on. I love me some contemporaries that feature good family ties, and so that hit the right spot for me. How about you?
@mielsnickety Confession time: Nate’s and Cameron’s voices were too closely alike that I had to repeatedly check which perspective I was reading from. 🙊🙈 It was a bit disorienting at times. But I’m with you on the sibling dynamic. I wanted more of Tess’ confidence and sass! And Travis Blake playing mentor for Nate was such a delicious treat as well. He was always ready with teasing and wisdom. Get you a man that can deliver both. 😍
@bookfreakrevelations Ohh, ditto on Travis Blake! And I don’t know about you, but I kinda shipped Nate with him after his meet-awkward with Cameron in the club.
@bookfreakrevelations Did you also get Adam Levine vibes from him? Or was it just me?
@mielsnickety I totally missed that! Then again, I’m not a big fan, so there’s that. 😬
@bookfreakrevelations Really? Well, for me personally, Travis reminded me of Adam because of his swagger and happy-go-lucky personality. I love how he had so much wisdom to share with our boy Nate, and their Student-Mentor relationship was one that I really enjoyed reading about.
@bookfreakrevelations But yeah, I somehow feel like some of the side characters were robbed of their chance to shine individually. Victor, Tess, and Travis were some that I was hoping to get to know more towards the ending of the story but we unfortunately didn’t get that. (Or at least I didn’t.) They had so much potential, so many rooms for development. I was disappointed to see where they ended up when the story concluded. And the same goes for Nate’s stepmother too!
@mielsnickety Oh boy. Tonya! I will not go much into details so as not to spoil the book, but I absolutely liked the confrontation between Nate and his (not so wicked) stepmother. *Insert feels here.* I love me some complicated relationships, and the author did a fantastic job exploring that, however briefly. The same is true for that scene with Cameron’s father.
@mielsnickety Where do you stand on that? Did you like the family drama too?
@bookfreakrevelations I did! I was actually hoping for an intense scene towards the ending (since that’s how Cinderella played out) and so I was fairly satisfied by how the story ended. I had some issues—still do—that remained unresolved and so I wanted a better resolution to everything, but at this point, I’d just take what I could get.
@mielsnickety Like Nate and Cameron snuggling on a beach house? What did you think about the romance?
@bookfreakrevelations Oh, the romance was something that I did like! Like I said, I wasn’t a huge fan of the first half of the story and so I wasn’t able to properly gauge how much I liked Nate and Cam as a pair. I was, however, surprised to be swept off my feet during this particular scene where they just spent time getting to know each other. Also, I loved how they had this undeniable chemistry even though there were certain circumstances that kept them apart. Like, the more they stayed away from each other, the easier they ended up together, you know what I mean?
@mielsnickety I think I know what you mean. But I was hoping for more swoon, to be quite frank. Instead, most of the narrative was spent with the boys fixing their individual issues, which would have been perfectly normal under different circumstances, but I want my cinderfella story, okay? I want all the swoon!
@bookfreakrevelations Yeah, I see where you’re coming from. It’s like, you’re on a 5 or 6, in a scale of 1-10 with the romance, right? I mean, at some point, I did feel that too. And for a story that’s loosely based on Cinderella? One would no doubt ask for more swoon!
@bookfreakrevelations But what’s your take on the story’s conflict? Did you find it interesting enough? Did it live up to your expectations?
@mielsnickety I’m not certain I had expectations on that front. The conflict was interesting for sure, especially with how the backstory of Nate’s dad unfolded. But it also seemed like the author took the easy answers, narrative-wise, and in doing so cheapened the struggles and inner battles of the characters. Did you feel the same or was it different for you?
@bookfreakrevelations Oh, yeah, I definitely thought of that too. There were certain parts of the story that made me feel like the characters weren’t unlocking their full potential just because, like you’d said, some of the story’s conflict weren’t as well thought of as I hope it could’ve been. Does that make sense?
@mielsnickety Totally! Gosh. This could’ve been a really fantastic read, no?
@bookfreakrevelations Indeed. But hey! At least everything was wrapped up pretty nicely in the end, right? Did you like the ending as much as I did, or…?
@mielsnickety It’s a Disney fairy tale ending, how about that?
@bookfreakrevelations That’s one way to describe it. I liked how in the end, everyone was happy with where (or who) they ended up with and that there were literally no loopholes concerning both Nate and Cameron. Most of my questions about them and their relationship were all answered by the time the story ended and I appreciated that. Although if I were to be completely honest with you, I would’ve loved it more and would’ve rated it 4 stars if we had more scenes about Victor and Tess and Travis.
@mielsnickety I’m glad you liked the ending, dude! It was tied up too neatly for me, but I sure would take more scenes with Victor, Tess, and Travis as well. Please and thank you!
@bookfreakrevelations Well, okay. That was absolutely fun! I’ve never done a review this way before and so I had a grand time talking about Sometime After Midnight with you, Miel. Thanks for your sharing your thoughts with me, and I hope you had a great time as well!
@mielsnickety I definitely did! Thanks for having me, JM! We should buddy-read again soon. 🤓💛
Have YOU read Sometime After Midnight yet? If not, be sure to grab a copy from your local book store and start reading it! And once you do, let us know what you think of it down below in the comments section!
JM is a 21 year old blogger from Manila. He has a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management mainly because it was too late when he discovered that literature and publishing is his true calling. He enjoys reading contemporary and fantasy novels as much as he enjoys playing video games and baking pastries. You may find him on his book blog, Book Freak Revelations, also on Twitter, Instagram, & Goodreads.