Title: Notes from the Midnight Driver
Author: Jordan Sonnenblick
Genre: Realistic YA Fiction
Number of Pages: 265
At the beginning of this book, the main character, Alex, is an asshole- plain and simple. An absolute douche. He gets himself into trouble for driving drunk while trying to enact revenge against his dad (who left his mom for Alex’s third-grade teacher) and when he gets caught his sense of entitlement it’s honestly mind-boggling.
He finds fault with literally everybody except himself and mouths off to the authorities when he ends up in court for DUI. Alex should probably spend a few weeks alone in a cell until he undergoes a attitude adjustment, but instead he has to do such-and-so hours of community service.
He gets stuck in a nursing home spending time with Sol, a grouchy and insulting Jewish man who has a reputation with the staff and employees for being a real pill. You know where this is going, right? Well, eventually these two bond and Alex realizes that Sol shares his passion of music. Alex is in a band with Steven from Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, which I thought was really cool (I love when authors do cross-overs.)
Even though nothing that happens in this book was particularly surprising it’s an breezy, enjoyable read with some actual sentiment and a solid character arc for Alex. He goes from being an uncaring, ultra-privileged jerk to a more grounded and all-around compassionate person. I thought this character arc was handled well and the author did a good job of developing Alex and Sol’s relationship.
Jordan Sonnenblick’s books are really easy-to-read with characters who act younger than their age (from their vocabularies/maturity levels, Alex and Steven could easily be eleven or twelve,) but he’s good at balancing teenage angst and raging hormones with more serious themes. He takes his subject matter seriously but never allows it to become depressing, instilling his young characters’ struggles with a strong sense of hope.