Jaime Reviews ~ Nightfall by Jake Helpern, Peter Kujawinski

By Jake Halpern, Peter Kujawinski
Published on September 22, 2015
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
A story where edge-of-your-seat horror meets post-apocalyptic thriller, perfect for fans of Lois Lowry and The Mazerunner

Night is coming.

On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours--it comes every twenty-eight years. Each sunset, the townspeople sail to the south, where they wait out the long Night. None of the adults will tell Marin, Kana, or their friend Line exactly what happens when they leave the island, but when the three are accidentally left behind in the gathering dusk, they learn the truth: at Night, their town belongs to others, and those others want them gone.

Fleeing through the now-alien landscape that used to be their home, the three confront shocking transformations and uncomfortable truths about themselves.  They are challenged to trust one another or perish. Marin, Kana, and Line must find their way off the island . . . before the Night finds them.

And the verdict is....

 I was immediately attracted to this because of the cover, and the premise sounds right up my alley. Edge-of-your-seat thriller just speaks to me. So, I jumped all over the chance to review this one. Sadly, while not a bad book at all, it just wasn't what I was expecting.

 Marin's Island is in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by ocean and forest. It is a very isolated town, and its people are steeped in seriously weird traditions. We jump into the story right when Night is falling in earnest now. It will stay night for 14 years, after the 14 year period of daytime. The people of the island leave when night falls, and they have a ton of strange rituals to perform, leaving the town as it once was. Marin and Kana, brother and sister, and their friend Line all think the elders are ridiculous, but they have no choice but to follow along. They are busy getting ready for Night to fully fall, and preparing to leave the island, when it is discovered that Line has gone missing. The boats are leaving soon, and Marin cannot leave without finding Line. So she and Kana take off in search of him. They have no idea what lays in wait for them, when they get back to the shore, Line in tow, and the boats are gone. Thus starts the most harrowing, fearful journey of their lives. 

 Let me start by saying that I did enjoy the story. The world-building was unique and interesting, and the mystery of the island was a surprise. Marin, Kana and Line are good characters, and I enjoyed watching their harried attempts at escape, and the personal fears and growths each one went through during the story. The slight romance between Marin and Line was sweet, if not very sexy and the relationship between Marin and Kana was strained, for reasons that we eventually see. The three come together well in the end, and it amounts to an exciting escape.  

 I feel like maybe the target audience for Nightfall might be a little more MG than YA, personally. That doesn't make it a bad story, in the least, just not what I was expecting.  I was hoping for the creeps, heebie jeebies and non-stop fear. There was some of that, especially towards the end, just not to the extreme that I was hoping for. So, this is definitely more of a case of me being at fault, not the book. The writing was good, characterization on par, and the world-building great. I was just hoping for something else. 

 I would absolutely recommend this one, without hesitation however, to middle graders, and younger ya's. Or even older YA's, who might not like the creepy to the nth degree that I do. 

 Thanks to Around the World ARC Tours for providing me with a copy of Nightfall for review! 

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