I was looking for fall reads and was intrigued by the idea of the Midnight Club and saw it was being adapted for a Netflix series. Narrated by Iman Benson, The Midnight Club by Christopher Pike deals with death as a group of terminally ill children meet at midnight to tell stories.
by Christopher Pike
Narrator: Iman Benson
Length: 5 hours and 55 minutes
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 4 cups Speed: 1.3x
From the author of The Wicked Heart and The Immortal comes a beautiful and haunting novel about a group of five terminally ill teenagers whose midnight stories become their reality.
Rotterham Home was a hospice for young people—a place where teenages with terminal illnesses went to die. Nobody who checked in ever checked. It was a place of pain and sorrow, but also, remarkably, a place of humor and adventure.
Every night at twelve, a group of five young girls and boys at the hospice came together. They called themselves the Midnight Club, and everytime they came together, they would take turns telling each other stories. Any type of story they could think of, they would tell—ones filled with intrigue and horror, of life and death… True stories, made-up stories, and stories that fell somewhere in between.
But one night, in the middle of a particularly scary story, the five kids make a pact with each other. The first one who dies is to make every effort to contact the others from beyond the grave…
Then one of them does die, and the story begins.
The Midnight Club originally released in 1994 when my children were still toddlers, so we never read his books. While I knew this was a young adult novel, I expected it to have more of a thriller aspect based on the synopsis. Indeed, Christopher Pike, like R. L. Stine, is known for creepy young adult thrillers. The Midnight Club is more a look at morality and acceptance. It is a spiritual story dealing with loss and love.
These terminally ill teens meet at midnight and tell stories. Sometimes ridiculous stories and often reflective mirrors of their own lives. They range from funny to haunting.
The story has less of a plot than I expected and differed from what the synopsis led me to believe. It’s an easy listen, and I felt for these characters, their circumstances and interactions. Their short stories were campy, but ones you would expect from a group of teens telling original stories.
Reviews of the original story and readers remark it was one of their childhood favorites. The characters and their own stories indeed pulled at my heartstrings, so I can see how it affected the original targeted audience. Just don’t go into this expecting a thriller. You’ll be sorely disappointed.
It is a powerful story and I have a feeling thing Netflix series will bring another level to the story. Despite the bleak and depressing aspects where death is an inevitable outcome, it is also a powerful, touching story about acceptance, love and loss.
I will be curious to see how the adaptation is handled. Iman Benson did a pleasant job narrating and giving voice to the individual teens, particularly with their stories.
Did you read this as a teen? I would love to hear your thoughts.
** Update. I watched the Netflix series and while it made me cry, it also had a great thrill factor. With plenty of suspense, and supernatural elements that were more of what I initially expected. Even the Midnight Club’s stories were enhanced.
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