YA Featured Review: Midnight At The Houdini (Delilah S. Dawson)

About This Book:

A girl discovers a surreal hotel where no one ever leaves. When the clock strikes midnight, she’ll be trapped there forever unless she’s able to break free from magic that in turn breaks all her rules. Perfect for fans of Caraval and The Starless Sea!

Life has gone according to plan for Anna—she stays in the background, letting her sister, Emily, shine in the spotlight. But on Emily’s wedding night, Anna learns that her sister is moving away, abandoning her—and all their shared dreams. Devastated, Anna leaves the reception in the middle of a raging storm, taking shelter in a hotel she’s never seen before: the Houdini.

The Houdini is a hotel unlike any other, with sumptuous velvet couches, marble tiled floors, secret restaurants, winding passageways, and an undercurrent of magic in the air. And when Anna meets Max, who has lived his entire life inside its walls, she’s captivated. For the first time in her life, Anna is center stage, in a place that anticipates her every desire, with a boy who only has eyes for her.

But there’s a terrifying secret hidden in the Houdini. When the clock strikes midnight, Anna will be trapped there forever unless she can find a way to break free from its dreamlike magic. But will she be able to do it if it means leaving Max behind?

*Review Contributed by Kim Baccellia, Staff Reviewer*

What worked: Surreal trip down an Alice in Wonderland-like hotel complete with mystery and magic. This fantasy weaves into the story suspense and a ghostly-like atmosphere. An old hotel in Las Vegas offers much more than hospitality during an oncoming storm. Sixteen-year-old perfectionist Anna hates not being in control and when she struggles into the hotel for shelter during a storm, she learns quickly not all is what it seems.

This story reminded me a lot of what a modern-day teen might experience if they happened to get swept into a magical, ghostly hotel. There’s lots of magic and also ghostly apparitions that Anna encounters. Plus, a cute boy named Max, who is stuck forever within the hotel.

The mystery behind the hotel takes some sinister turns. There’s a woman who is in charge and has plans for Anna’s father and his friends. The girl chained in the basement has her own secret too.

Fast-paced fantasy that sweeps readers along with Anna and Max as they try to escape the hotel before midnight. At that time whoever is in the hotel can never leave.

Enchanting world filled with adventure and secrets. Perfect for fans of Caraval.

Good Points
1. Surreal trip down an Alice in Wonderland-like hotel
2. Mystery and magic

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