Reviewed by: Tamar Mekredijian, Pacific Book Review
These days, genre fiction for young adult readers focus heavily on vampires, werewolves and zombies. It is a fad that teenagers have fallen in love with. However, what was most refreshing about 2:32 a.m. was the absence of the usual paranormal phenomena. 2:32 a.m. intrigues readers with the mystery and power of genies.
The first book of Emily Ford’s Paranormal Trilogy and her debut novel, 2:32 a.m., delves into the secret world of genies and introduces the protagonist, Catherine Ann Townsend, who must choose whether or not she will accept her destiny. She is continually tormented by recurring dreams about people she has never known or seen. The dreams are so real, she doesn’t want to go to sleep, and has many sleepless nights. One night, in a state between dreaming and sleeping, she sees a man sitting at the edge of her bed. Somehow, she is not afraid of him, and when he touches her hand, their eyes lock, and they make a life-changing connection. As she continues to see peculiar and frightening visions in her sleep, including a boy that she finds to be irresistible, the line between her dream world and her real world of high school and friends and her boyfriend mesh as she finally meets the man who she made a connection with. She soon learns that this man, Finnegan, is a genie, and wants to pass his powers to her so that he can achieve eternal rest-something that is impossible for most genies to acquire. The story unfolds as Cat’s internal conflict grows between choosing this life of magic, and the normal life she always knew. She also gets caught in a love triangle, and must choose between two men. In the end, she does make these hard choices, but Ford leaves the reader at the edge of their seats, waiting and hoping the next book will be available soon.
It was really enjoyable and exhilarating to read a young adult novel that stayed away from the norm of vampires and zombies. It was fascinating to learn about where genies come from, what they do, how they use their power, and why. It was also very interesting to read it from the perspective of a girl whose life is turned upside down by her newfound knowledge of genies. As a reader, I was introduced to it right along with Cat, which made it easy to understand and very engaging. Finnegan is such an entertaining character, and was developed extremely well. His connection to history, because of his old age, was extremely interesting to read about.
An issue that I came across while reading Ford’s novel was the introduction of too many characters to the reader at once. The book opens with the introduction of Cat and her family, and then the friends she meets at her new school. Hayden is such a big part of the story, and Cat’s relationship with him works well with the plot. Having so many brothers and being so close in age was confusing for me as a reader. It was hard to keep everyone straight. As a creative writer myself, I know that you can’t get away from large groups of characters, especially in certain situations such as writing scenes that take place in a high school, but I believe that a group of people can also be described as being part of a scene rather than revealed to the reader individually. Ford could have mentioned the crowd rather than bring so many individuals to the reader’s attention.
This book is for young adult readers who are tired of usual paranormal fiction. Ford very skillfully brings to light a new world of genies. It is an excellent portrayal of a modern day teenager who is trying to find herself in the midst of her high school years, with a twist-and a great one at that. For those who love mystery, magic, and love, this is a must read.