24 November 2011

Book Review: One Minute to Midnight by Amy Silver

"Nicole Blake's New Year Resolutions, 1990:

1 Start keeping a journal;

2. Lose half a stone;

3. Kiss Julian Symonds

If there are two things Nicole can guarantee about New Years Eve it's that there are always fireworks and Julian Symonds is always there.

Since she was thirteen, no New Year has been complete without Jules. Through school, university and beyond, as friends come and go, Nic and Jules are at the centre of every party.

Until one year everything changes...

Now, as another New Year approaches, Nicole has ghosts to lay and bridges to build - with her husband Dom, with her best friend Alex, and with Aidan, the man who broke her heart.

Life is about to change again for Nicole, and once the fireworks are over and the dust has settled, this time she is determined it will be for the better."

This is the third of Amy Silver's books I have read, and after how great her previous novels were, I knew this one wasn't going to disappoint! I have to say when I first saw the cover of this new book, One Minute to Midnight, I was so impressed, I think its absolutely gorgeous and certainly makes the book jump out at you from a shelf, especially in a day and age where book covers are more important than ever. The premise of this book sounded really interesting, lots of different New Years Eves, and seeing what happened to Nicole in her past and what's going to happen in her present. I eagerly started to read and found I couldn't put it down and finished it just a few days later, and I'm pleased to say that Amy Silver has once again delivered a superb read! However, don't be fooled by the cover into thinking it's a light and fluffy read - Silver manages to cover some hard-hitting themes in here and it makes it all the better.

The book begins in 1990, when a 13 year old Nicole is excited that her crush Julian Symonds is coming to her parents New Years Eve party. They quickly become close, and form a friendship that is going to last a lifetime, despite the initial reluctance of everyone around them.  We then revisit the pair at various New Year Eves throughout their lives up until the present day, when it seems all is not well in Nicole's world. Her relationship with her husband Dominic is on rocky ground, and I very much enjoyed reading the pair trying to work through their problems to get their marriage back on track despite everything else going on in their lives. I actually weirdly felt quite sorry for Dominic, even though I really shouldn't have done, and I found Nicole to be a bit hard and a cold fish, which is probably the opposite of how I should have felt, but maybe it's why I failed to warm to Nicole for quite a while.

I really enjoyed the alternate narrative of the book between New Years Eves of Nicole's pasts, and then coming back to the present day and her current plans with husband Dom for a trip away to New York City to meet up with old friends. It was interesting to see how past events really shape the Nicole of the present day story, and what exactly went on with their group to make things as they are today. I loved reading the complex relationships in the book too, not just Nicole and Dom, but also with best friend Julian, her Uni friend Alex, and Julian's wayward cousin Aidan, a bit of a bad boy that you can't help but like. Nicole is clearly changed by these relationships and their changing dynamics, and as I say, each of the characters really help shape the book, and the direction that Nicole's life is going in.

This book was a really great read, and certainly gives you a lot of food for thought about how your actions make a big impact on other people's lives, not just for the short term but the long term too. Silver really does cover some big issues in the book, from adultery to abuse in relationships and death as well, but are all written in such a fresh and interesting way you are consumed by the book and Nicole's story. The flashbacks were really fun to read, from the clothes they wore to the music that they listened to, and you can really sense the movement of time in the book which was great. Although I did find Nicole a little hard to like at first, she was definitely a complex leading character, and it was fun to revisit all of her New Year's celebrations with her - in fact, it was nice to read a book not completely focussed on Christmas but on the fun of New Year, and also read Nicole's ever-changing resolutions too! A really great read that I can highly recommend.

Rating: 4.5/5

You can buy One Minute Before Midnight in paperback and on eBook/Kindle now. (Links go to Amazon.co.uk)


  1. I think this sounds like a fab winter book! I like how it focuses more on New Year than Christmas makes it different from all the other Christmas books out there. Fab review :-)

  2. This is the book I've most be waiting for all year. I cannot wait to get it tomorrow when I get paid! :)

  3. Finished this book last night. Very readable but in the end, I thought it was very sad.

  4. awesome book... had a very real life sense to the story.... wasnt a cliched love story....