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Review: Past Midnight (Past Midnight, #1) by Mara Purnhagen

Past Midnight (Harlequin Teen) by Mara Purnhagen

224 pages, Harlequin, (2010-09-01)

$9.99 (


Harlequin Teen sent me an eARC for review.

My Grade

Plot: 4

Setting: 4

Writing: 4

Originality: 5

Characters: 4

Romance: 3

Overall: 24/30 = 80% B

Cover/Title Bonus: 3


A unique ghost filled mystery in a small town filled with grief riddled teens.


Let me set the record straight. My name is Charlotte Silver and I’m not one of those paranormal-obsessed freaks you see on TV…no, those would be my parents, who have their own ghost-hunting reality show. And while I’m usually roped into the behind-the-scenes work, it turns out that I haven’t gone unnoticed. Something happened on my parents’ research trip in Charleston—and now I’m being stalked by some truly frightening other beings. Trying to fit into a new school and keeping my parents’ creepy occupation a secret from my friends—and potential boyfriends—is hard enough without having angry spirits whispering in my ear. All I ever wanted was to be normal, but with ghosts of my past and present colliding, now I just want to make it out of high school alive…. — Goodreads

First Line

I was never normal, but I liked to pretend that I was.


Most Memorable Scene

The dreams that Charlotte have are pretty memorable (she has many).


The plot was surprisingly twisted, as in many story lines. There were a few story lines going on and each kind of related to another. I liked that it wasn’t just focused on one thing and that gave the entire story depth. The focus is on ghost hunters and this was a first for me.


While the setting was extraordinary the details that were given set the scenes perfectly. I liked that the story didn’t stick to any one place as the scene but rather there were many places that Charlotte, her parents and friends were seen in.


I wouldn’t say this wasn’t brilliantly written but the use of the plot and characters was so well done that the writing was something I didn’t really focus on while reading. I do have to mention that a few plot points were obvious or rather the way Charlotte figured things out didn’t seem to flow quite as well as they could have but rather came out very direct and in your face. It’s written more like a mystery but it didn’t really come out that way in the end because of the direct realization of the end point. Does that make sense?


I loved that this book wasn’t: weird girl with crazy parents moves to new town, meets cute boy, solves mystery, falls in love, the end. It, again, had so much depth to it and I genuinely enjoyed the opening of the story and fell into it with the character and not because of the fatal attraction to a boy character. There was no need for a love interest because this story stood so well without it at all.


Charlotte is the main character and she’s a pretty normal teenaged girl who’s parents are basically ghost hunters. They never stay in one area for long but that changes this year because of her sister Annalise, who plays a small role in the story.

Her parents are pretty cool. Weird but cool.

Charlotte meets Noah, Avery, Jared and a few other students from school. She befriends Avery who’s unveils a secret about her boyfriend.


It’s not about any romance in this book. While there’s a lingering crush through out it’s not something that doesn’t even remotely steal the scene. I’m thinking this may change in the sequel, One Hundred Candles set to release March 1, 2011.

Cover/Title Bonus

While I’ve loved the cover before even knowing what this was about, after reading it I don’t get it and I don’t get the title either. 🙁 The only thing I can think is that most of the weird paranormal ghost stuff seemed to happen late at night but that only explains the title, not the cover.


I liked the happily ever after kind of ending that was given. I like that all questions were answered. I like that there’s a sequel coming but I don’t know what it could possibly be about! After reading the summary it sounds like it may be a good read! Good thing I have an eARC from NetGalley already in hand!


The second book will be coming in March 2011!

One Hundred Candles (Harlequin Teen) by Mara Purnhagen

384 pages, Harlequin, (2011-02-15)

$9.99 (


Wife, mother of a nearly 7 year old daughter named Madison and new baby boy Riley. Avid reader on my Amazon Kindle. World of Warcraft and CS:S gamer.

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