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Literature / Midnight

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Midnight is a 2003 children's novel by English author Jacqueline Wilson. The book is about a girl called Violet and her brother, Will. Violet is a dreamy girl and is always away in her own world, filled with fairies designed by her favourite author, Casper Dream. Last Christmas, they found out that Will was adopted when Will was rude to their grandmother and she said something about bad blood.

Contains examples of:

  • Adoption Angst: Violet's brother Will just found out he's adopted, which causes distress for both of them. Will already didn't get along with their parents, especially their father, so he feels even more alienated from the family, while Violet fears Will won't view her as his sister anymore. It doesn't help that Will found out when his grandmother blurted it out during an argument, suggesting Will shouldn't be so 'ungrateful'. Will starts to come to terms with it after his parents open up to him about his adoption; they adopted him as an infant after his birth mother died of a drug overdose and their own son died of SIDS.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Violet's father acts very domineering and bullying towards her mother but it becomes pretty clear that he in fact cares about her a lot when the parents talk about the original baby Will's death. This is hinted at during a conversation with Violet in the car, during which he nearly mentions their first son's death, when he expresses concern for her pain over Will's distancing himself from them after learning he is adopted.
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  • Bathroom Search Excuse: Violet's friend Marnie sneaks into Violet's adopted brother William's bedroom and claims she was just looking for the bathroom.
  • Big Brother Bully: Will to Violet, rather disturbingly so, a standout example being when he blindfolds Violet and leads her into the neighbour's abandoned house and their bat-filled loft.
  • Contrived Coincidence: When Violet has a Freak Out over Will and Jasmine, she runs out of the house and gets a train, which happens to cost all the money she has on her. When she gets there, she ''just so happens' to bump into her favourite author, who gives her a ride home and then goes on to write a book and name the protagonist after her.
  • Cool Kid-and-Loser Friendship: Violet is considered an SC (standing for Sad Cow) by the horrible boys in their school. Jasmine, while not particularly popular, is considered a super-super-super SB (Sexy Bunny) like the other really cool, pretty girls in their year.
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  • Does Not Like Shoes: Will, it would seem, as he is mentioned a couple of times to be barefoot in the house.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything??: Will forces Violet to play "games" she dreads, threatens to break into the bathroom while she's in the bath and acts jealous of her new friendship with Jasmine. Violet nonetheless adores him and feels very isolated when he ignores her, while also fearing and hating his control over her. It's disturbingly evocative of sexual abuse.
    Violet: (describing how Will used to punish her) The waiting was the worst. He always knew how to bide his time. He'd generally wait until we'd both been put to bed. Then he'd creep into my room.
  • Easily Embarrassed Youngster: Violet has a whole lot of things she finds embarrassing, mainly her love of the supernatural, the fact that she still plays with toys, the fact that she hasn't developed breasts yet, and the fact that she only has four non-family friends.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: According to Violet, even some boys at school have a crush on Will.
  • Expy: Word of God says that several of the Casper Dream illustrations and characters are mirrored with the main characters:
    • Violet- The Violet Fairy, who is shy and easily trampled upon.
    • Will- The Changeling, a demanding, difficult fairy child who is left as a substitution for a human baby.
    • Jasmine- The Enchantress, a beautiful sorceress who has an irresistible influence on others.
    • Mum- The Hearth Fairy, a timid sprite who tries to bring harmony to a household.
    • Dad- The Ogre, a monster who bullies the weak.
    • Jonathan- The Elf King.
    • Gran- The Black Witch, one who practices malicious magic for evil purposes.
    • The Original Will- The Wraith, an apparition of someone who is about to die.
    • Marnie and Terry- Hobgoblins, dull and quarrelsome domestic faeries.
    • Additionally, Jasmine is most likely an Expy of Selina from Jacqueline Wilson's earlier book, The Power Of The Shade, although she is somewhat nicer.
  • Extreme Doormat: Violet views her mother this way, noting she does everything her father says and never retaliates when he belittles her and is depressed to note that she behaves similarly around Will and resolves to be stronger than her mother.
  • Family Theme Naming: Easily missed but Violet and her mother Iris are both named after flowers.
  • False Friend: Violet wonders if Jasmine was this, using her to get close to Will like Marnie and Terry. Jasmine admits that she did want to get to know Will but that she really did, and still does, consider Violet her best friend, recalling that she didn't even know Violet had a brother when she first asked to be friends in the classroom.
  • Father, I Want to Marry My Brother: Violet, which borders on Big Brother Attraction when she admits that at age fourteen she still harbours hopes of them living together when they grow up. Will is adopted, but Violet didn't know this for most of her life, and still sees him as a big brother.
  • Freak Out: Violet when she finds Will and Jasmine kissing.
  • Jerkass Realization: Will is genuinely worried about Violet when she runs away and hugs her in relief when she finally returns, acknowledging that he was being mean to her for no reason.
  • Kids Raiding the Wine Cabinet: Violet (who is thirteen), her classmate Jasmine, and her adoptive older brother William (who's an older teen but not eighteen yet) try some wine while the parents are away.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Violet owns a first edition copy of The Smoke Fairy by Casper Dream, which is now highly prized by collectors (it is his first published work and only a few copies exist, as it was subsequently banned from sale.) Violet's aware of how valuable it would be, but treasures it so much that she will never sell it.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Will, especially towards Violet. When Violet starts hanging around with Jasmine, he gets jealous and offers to take her to Brompton, after weeks of barely acknowledging her. Violet herself is aware he's just doing it to make her pick between him and Jasmine and turns him down.
  • Oblivious Adoption: Will, up until the beginning of the novel, didn't know he was adopted. The entire book is arguably him sulking over not being told about it.
  • Pet the Dog: Will sews up all of Violet's fairies in Midnight after she destroys them during an argument, then hangs them up in a tree outside her window.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Will was adopted because he looked exactly like their parents' first baby, who died of cot death.
  • Rewatch Bonus: If you read back over the conversation Violet has with her father before he gets interrupted by a cyclist, Jim very nearly lets slip to Violet about the first Will's cot death.
  • Spoiled Brat: Jasmine, arguably. Her response to a teacher telling her to wear more appropriate clothes to school is to call her an "old bat" and draw crude drawings of her and her father dotes on her. She claims to have been neglected by her soap-actress mother, but she's an Unreliable Narrator at best.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Marnie and Terry aren't wrong when they point out Jasmine is arrogant and selfish, but Violet doesn't care.
  • Those Two Guys: Marnie and Terry, two hopelessly unpopular girls Violet is acquaintances with until Jasmine shows up.