Around Midnight


Young Adult - Romance
218 Pages
Reviewed on 03/13/2020
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Author Biography

Zarina Macha is an author, blogger and musician born and raised in London, UK. She studied Songwriting and Creative Artistry at The Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford. She regularly writes a social comment blog titled 'The Zarina Macha Blog.' In her spare time she loves reading and fan-girling over "Game of Thrones".

In 2018 she began independently publishing her books through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. "Every Last Psycho" and "Anne" are her young-adult fiction novels that deal with mental illness, drug abuse, domestic violence and coming-of-age. "Art is a Waste of Time" and "Single Broke Female" are her two poetry books.

"Around Midnight" is her fifth self-published work. It is a young-adult drama about jazz, ambition, and a toxic relationship.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Around Midnight is a work of fiction and interpersonal drama written for young adults, and was penned by author Zarina Macha. Centered around important social themes of self-esteem, first relationships and the dangerous world of emotional manipulation, this is an inspiring and often heart-wrenching tale that recounts the experiences of protagonist Megan Hollis. A talented saxophonist, Megan relocates to London to attend a prestigious school, only to find herself in the path of bad boy Vincent Turner. What follows is a whirlwind drama where the typical 'bad boy turns good' romantic tropes are turned on their heads to create a compelling and realistic emotional story.

Author Zarina Macha has achieved an excellent anti-romance which still leaves hope for real and true love in its wake. One of the things I most admired about the story was that Macha dares to be real and show all the silly mistakes that young people make in love, and how those small flaws can lead to big trouble in the hands of someone whose intent is to harm. Whilst it’s an excellent teaching book, the fiction itself is also fresh and delightful to escape into. Macha’s depictions of the power of music are lyrically worded and beautifully evocative, bringing us into Megan’s inspiring world and helping us to root for her bright future despite the darker twists of the plot. Overall, Around Midnight is a superb and accomplished read which encompasses both an excellent dramatic story and a solid realistic message in its beautiful wordplay.

Kelly McLennan

An author friend emailed me this book to read an I'm so glad she did! I read anything an everything but this was a standout! It was complex, yet easy to read. I loved how it went below the surface of what other authors tend to dance around, the everyday, real life issues facing girls as they grow up & the balancing act we all have to follow in life to enjoy it.

Petrina Binney

In Around Midnight, Megan has recently moved to London with her parents, in order to make the journey to and from the London School of Jazz simpler and more cost-effective, if and when she is accepted to the prestigious institution. In a new environment and an unfamiliar sixth form, Megan quickly falls for bad boy, Vince, despite her new friends' warnings.

Anyone who is familiar with Zarina Macha’s writing style knows what a treat awaits them. Compelling characters, haunting prose, drama that feels very real.

I felt absolutely dreadful for Megan - in her isolation, truly wanting to lose her virginity to her boyfriend, but with the lingering fear that if she doesn’t, he will get annoyed and leave her. My heart ached for this character.

Vince is an awful boyfriend, arch manipulator, nasty piece of work, totally believable. The way he tries to make her obvious emotional turmoil a symptom of her privilege, rather than an emblem of his shoddy treatment of her was incredible. I despised him for doing it, but loved the way Zarina wrote him - regularly speaking about his previous girlfriends, making it completely understandable that Megan is racked with worries and conflict about her future. And it’s so subtly done.

The political references frame the story nicely in time, although for me, they felt a little heavy-going. That said, Zarina has such a talent for metaphor. I always enjoy her work. After Midnight does not disappoint.

The dad character is measured and likeable. I love the hairdressers. Every character rings true.

My favourite line was:
'Megan shrugged. “If we looked like what we were, the world would be a different place.”'
Chapter 29, Page 109, Around Midnight, Zarina Macha

If you enjoy strong characters, emotional conflict and young adult fiction, go and look at Zarina Macha’s books. Recommended.

MA Thomas

This book was too short! There was so much truth and raw emotion in this novel, I found myself loving and hating the romance between Vince and Megan in equal measure. Anyone with daughters needs to give them this book, any of Zarina's work really, so often we forget as adults how truly soul shattering growing up is for our young people. The pressure to fit in and please our friends and the strength of first love often compete with the expectations of family, often winning when teens neglect to inform their parents of how they are really travelling at school and in relationships. I started this book expecting an honest portrayl of first heartbreak, laced with darker themes of toxic masculinity and it did not disappoint.

Laura Furuta

The story Around Midnight by Zarina Macha is a YA book. It is a story that I enjoyed reading. I loved reading about the character of Megan Hollis. She is a young girl who loves jazz. She has moved with her parents to London and has her heart set on attending the prestigious School of Jazz. Then she meets Vincent Turner. With their meeting comes new feelings and also a relationship that takes a turn for the worse. What does the future hold for Megan? Will she give up her dreams in order to be with Vincent? What does she really want? Read this book to find out.

Reading about Megan had me thinking back to when I was her age and how emotions/feelings can change very quickly. I grew to care what happened to Megan and I couldn’t help but want her to find happiness whatever she wants to do. This story is about how to be true to yourself and not allowing others to manipulate your feelings and decisions. Peer pressure is very strong and can sometimes lead you to make hurried choices. I enjoyed the references to jazz music and musicians that are made throughout the story. Don’t miss out on a book that you won’t want to put down until you have read the final page.

Bobbi Wagner

This is my first book by this author, I enjoyed it from cover to cover. This is a well written, engaging young adult story about following your heart and the struggles that go along with it. Megan and Vincent are great strong characters that bring the story to life. They have great chemistry which kept me turning pages. Megan has a future playing her saxophone which is something she has always dreamed of. When she meets Vincent things change for her and not necessarily for the good. Will she follow her heart and which way will it take her? I highly recommend their story.

Heather Lovelace

The words flowed like music right off the page. My artist’s soul recognized the artistic heart behind this story immediately. There is a certain cadence to this story that somehow reaches deeply and resonates loudly. I thoroughly enjoyed my first encounter with Macha and hope to read more from this author. Excellent book!

Jessie Jackson-Vasquez

A friend's mother told me something along the lines of "When someone tells you who they are, believe them." I wish more people would hear that; especially teenage girls. In Around Midnight, Megan's love interest Vince tells her pretty early on, "I'm a messed up person. You should be wary of that." When someone tells you something like that, LISTEN.
Zarina Macha does an excellent job of realistically depicting what it's like to be an adolescent girl who doesn't quite fit in, and what it's like to fall for the wrong person. Vince has a bad reputation, but he's sweet and intelligent, and appears vulnerable and sincere. It's not surprising when Megan falls for him and slowly starts compromising who she is and what she wants out of life, with his almost imperceptible nudges.
This is a great coming-of-age story, and a good cautionary tale for young women. If that's your thing, definitely check it out.

Kimberly Griffiths

Around Midnight is a story that very much fits into today's teen life. Megan is a teenager with a life plan that meets a boy, and starts to question everything about what she thought she wanted for her future. Her first love is a rollercoaster ride, she finds herself “sick” with worry when it doesn't seem to go so well and at the same time perfect. It also gives her the courage to rethink what she wants out of life.

A good read for young adults. A very true story as to how young love can go. In the end encouraging young people to think for themselves.