Monday, June 12, 2017

Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski

Welcome to Middle Grade Monday! Today I am reviewing a thrilling novel, Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski.

The Story-
Marin and her twin brother Kana live on an island that only sees sun for fourteen years. After that, it is fourteen years of ice and darkness. During those cold times her village sails across the ocean to live in a desert land.

Marin was born on the island and this will be her first voyage. As the town prepares to leave, Marin notices strange things, like locks being taken off the doors, furniture arranged in specific patterns and tables set with large dining dishes.

As the ships arrive to transport the people, Marin and Kana realize that their best friend Line is missing. Believing they have a few hours, they set out to rescue him, only to find him injured and only able to travel slowly. They miss the boats! and as the ships disappear into the distance, the island begins its final changes. Ice begins to cover the land and strange creatures emerge. Worst of all, the original inhabitants of the island awake and begin to kill all in their path.

My Thoughts-
Just the premise of this story made me pick up the book. Why did houses have to be left in certain strange conditions? Why did bizarre creatures begin to awake in the forest? How do you survive the Night with killers on the loose?

The authors do an amazing job with the tense thrills and chills. From the get go the mystery is thick. Adult villagers are unwilling to talk about the Night time and what has happened in the past. They meticulously haul up crates from locked basements and then arrange large furniture and place settings into specific patterns. Plus, everything must be scrubbed clean so that not a trace of their scents are left.

You know right away that these three kids are going to end up stuck, so the mystery of who inhabits the island next is dramatically brought to life. Slash marks appear on doors and loud footsteps are heard outside where our three kids hide. Everything is well done.

The characters are great. All three kids are strong, yet wary of the darkness. Kana has his own trials as his body physically begins to change as the island awakens. Line is in love with Marin, but is still young enough to know that puppy love doesn't always work out. They each have their own back story that is fully developed and integral to the plot.

And look at that cover! It really expresses the eeriness of the three who are left to battle the darkness.

Loved it! 5 stars!


  1. What a thrilling read. I'm curious about the significance of 14 years. So for 14 years the villagers live in the desert. It reminds me of the cycle of certain bugs. You left me hanging with curiosity. GREAT review.

  2. This sounds great! Many thanks. I'll look for it.

  3. That cover really captured me. This sounds like a real spine-chiller. Thanks for telling me about it.

  4. This book sounds dark (no pun intended) but really intriguing! I'll have to try it. Thanks for the review!