Subscribe to SLJ
Bowllan's Blog
Inside Bowllan's Blog

Writers Against Racism: A WISH AFTER MIDNIGHT by Zetta Elliott

Like Anne Frank, Genna Colon, in Zetta Elliott’s A WISH AFTER MIDNIGHT (Rosetta Pres, 2008),  has left an indelible mark on me. 

It’s speculative fiction at its best. It’s also a story that will take any teenager (and adult) on the ride of her life! Just watch the trailer.

Genna has dreams. She’s smart. And Zetta has masterfully woven an old soul into this fifteen year old girl. Adults can appreciate Genna’s maturity, while young people can learn a great deal from her bravery and knowledge.  Having a young, African American girl, who to me, is a heroine in this story, could EASILY be a role model for our young people. Yes – we need more role models of color that our kids can relate to.

“I like really old things, things that were made thirty, fifty, or a hundred years ago. In the garden, all the old things still look new because people take care of them. Nobody sprays graffiti all over the place, and you almost never see trash lying on the ground.” A WISH AFTER MIDNIGHT (Rosetta Pres, 2008)

Genna wants what we all want out of life – an opportunity for success. But her life is a struggle. It’s such a struggle that she finds herself wishing and wanting to escape her realities of family struggles, bullying and  a typical teenage with a boy named Judah.

There’s love, adventure, history, and family drama, all rolled up into a story whose sequel I cannot wait to read.

“I crawl out from under the weeping hemlock and try to stand, but my legs are weak and I fall back to the ground just as a cart rolls up with two security guards. I have the impulse but not the energy to run, so I stay as I am and wait to see what they will do.” A WISH AFTER MIDNIGHT (Rosetta Pres, 2008)

For teachers of American History and English, AWAM is the perfect piece of historical fiction that will force students to think about not only the plot, but the elements creating the plot. Hence the speculative fiction being threaded throughout the novel.

AWAM also comes with well-thought-out discussion topics and activities in the back of the book.

Believe me, your students will be riveted by Genna’s tumultuous and magical journey back through time, who she leaves behind, and how she gets back.


  1. I love Genna’s voice. I’m toward the end of it (I started with the discussion topics. I can’t command them enough). I particularly found the interaction between Genna and her brother and brother’s friends interesting and so realistic. It makes the you think about the projected role of genders on teens, in our society.

  2. Oh gosh! I forgot about those fools. I couldn’t tell if the brother was threatened by them, or jealous of Genna’s smarts. My brother would NEVER have allowed someone to speak to me that way, and he’s younger. So an older brother? That’s what drugs will do.


  1. […] A WISH AFTER MIDNIGHT by Zetta Elliott. My review for it is on my blog. […]