ARC Review: Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski

Saturday, 22 August 2015
Publication: September 22, 2015, by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Horror
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: BEA/Publisher

On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours--it comes every twenty-eight years. Each sunset, the townspeople sail to the south, where they wait out the long Night. None of the adults will tell Marin, Kana, or their friend Line exactly what happens when they leave the island, but when the three are accidentally left behind in the gathering dusk, they learn the truth: at Night, their town belongs to others, and those others want them gone. Fleeing through the now-alien landscape that used to be their home, the three confront shocking transformations and uncomfortable truths about themselves. They are challenged to trust one another or perish. Marin, Kana, and Line must find their way off the island. . . before the Night finds them.

My Thoughts: 

When heading on my gorgeous getaway to New York City this past year, my main goal was to grab my most-needed BEA books, and Nightfall was at the highest ranking for me. Riveting, utterly weird and creepy, as well as gorgeous, it definitely stands on my most-beloved reads of this year, and I can't wait to hear everyone else's opinion on it. You all simply need a copy of this in your shelves, whether you're a fan of dystopia and horror, or not. Don't worry, there isn't much gore, either.

I'm literally stroking the cover of my copy, feeling it purr with excitement. From the looks of it, an uncorrected copy will probably be worth hundreds of dollars in the future, because it's that good of a book. Picture Harry Potter's worth, times ten. Gosh, I just can't stop thinking about its masterfulness and I just want to let this review go out into the wild right now but deep down in my guts, my good side, my day side, I know that I just can't... yet. By the way, it's the end of June as I'm writing this and you'll be seeing it in mid-August. Poor you. At least you already knew that I gave it a five star rating. That sure is a keeper if you're a good judger. It's my first five-star BEA book, I'm so proud!

"Everything that we've been doing, we do for one simple reason. For generations, it has kept us safe. Every household in Bliss follows these directions, and upon return to their homes fourteen years later, everything is in perfect order. Nothing is damaged—nothing is broken." (ARC, page 74)

The premise is so fucking unique and abstract that I recommend holding onto your socks, or else they'll just get knocked off. On the island that Marin and her family live on, Day lasts for fourteen years, and so does Night, but each separately. Now that the Night is coming for the first time that Marin has actually been forced to leave, things are hell-like. Everyone must evacuate before it's too late, before the creatures come out and before everyone isn't safe anymore. By this, they'll be sailing to the desert, where Marin knows that when she'll get back, she'll be 28, married and possibly with children. How is she able to get this out of her head? By wishing that she didn't have to leave. And boy, did her wish come true... She's stuck behind on the island during Nightfall with her brother, Kana and their friend, Line. Good luck, fourteen year-olds, you must think.

You know when you go out for a recital or performance and you're the star? Yeah, and then your parents wish you good luck or per se... break a leg? They really mean it, because there are endless amounts of possibilities for the situation to go wrong and horribly. These characters are... fourteen. I'm fourteen, and I know how stupid and idiotic we can be, we have no street smarts and we can't survive on our own! This is that situation. It's like William Golding's classic, Lord of the Flies, with tons more gore (I can't deny that there isn't any now that I think about it!), weird unexplainable miracles and running away from the enemy who may be right around the corner. It's such a fucking scary book that I'd die if I read it at night. I remember the authors' editor saying at the BEA Young Adult Editor's Buzz Panel that she couldn't sleep after reading this book for the first time. And she had to continuously read it over and over, fixing errors and catching all of the details. I'm going to pee my pants of fear.

The horror which the authors incorporate in their plot and premise is not your ordinary serial-killer, I'm-going-to-get-you kind of thing. It's more like: hearing voices that you can't explain, wondering if it's just you and where your buddies are, all stuck on this gigantic island that once was your home but isn't anymore. Readers (at least myself) try to put themselves in the characters' shoes, although it's nearly impossible because they're just so complex. Fourteen year-olds being complex, you ask? Hell yes. They have their own issues, probably more tough and horrible than any teenager that I know or any of the adults mentioned in the book. Line had his fault with losing his parents, Marin's feeling of stupidity with the sunstone and Kana, well we don't even have to explain that. I can't even try to specify a specific example or else I'll keep going with my theories, it's a scientific novel that has so much more explanation beyond the words and plot. I can't even try to imagine what the authors thought while writing. That number "fourteen" must have some meaning, too.

Without even having to speak about the plot, I can just think about the pace of reading. It took me about three hours to read from start to finish, but this was because I chose to read it in that pace. With my speedy-gonzales speed, it could've taken me two. Halpern and Kujawinski's writing is so fast-paced but there's so much depth in their writing that I'm unable to stop what I'm doing and think about the world beyond their story. If you don't enjoy slow stories, then you're going to love this, contrastingly. NO BORING POINTS WHATSOEVER. From start to finish, I felt myself flipping through the pages like it's familiar to me. They're just such good writers who I wish I could get in the minds of. (Again with the obsessed thing for me.)

"It had been there, lurking in the shadows, in his room, even. It had been waiting for him. It had been in his dreams, which, of course, weren't dreams or warnings that he was going mad. In fact, it had probably known what Kana really was long before Kana, himself, had." (ARC, page 240)

If you don't feel like bothering to read this review, I'm begging you to just take a look at the descriptive writing. Gosh, geez, wow. The way Kana describes his personality, who he is, is extraordinary. The plot twist which the authors had introduced about Kana and him being Marin's twin shocked me until I just couldn't believe it. Something is eerie, is strange, but that strange? I'm completely shocked and still am, someone please hold me and make me feel better!

So the role of the characters in this situation was to give them different views by readers. Marin and Kana were obviously the main characters, and Line was actually supposed to have some distance from us. I expected him to be the weird one since something was fishy about him from the start as he headed to the woods to do who knows what. But in the end, I'll let you know that there were two humans and one non-human who certainly stirred up so much stuff to readers that I couldn't keep myself together. The ending made everything ten times better as well. Authors like these two fabulous guys would certainly never lead readers to what even the characters suspected!

Want a fresh new dystopia that exceeds all of the expectations? Want horror and awesomeness? Yeah, you'll certainly stay up past nightfall when reading still, and right to the dawn of the morning, because you won't be able to get this creepy story out of your head. From now on, whenever I'll see hashmarks, I'll think of this book, and that's a fabulous thing when you're trying to help yourself when surviving on a stranded island. Mr. Halpern and Mr. Kujawinski are authors that everyone needs to keep under their bookish radars, you'll be so impressed! What a stellar addition to my 2015 favourites list!

*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*



  1. OH WOW. How have I never heard about this book before if it is so amazing? More people should be buzzing about this one. The idea of it alone is so cool, and I love how they get stuck during the Night. I can just imagine how much suspense and character development much be in this. It would be a good movie from the sound of it.

    1. I KNOWWW! Everyone definitely has to read Nightfall. The authors are brilliant and everything about this book exemplifies a BUZZ book. I'm surprised that not too many people are adding it onto their TBR lists, because it deserves to be on everyone's. I'D BE FIRST IN LINE AT THE RED CARPET IF IT BECOMES A FILM!


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