Monday, April 10, 2017

Urban Fiction

Author: Sister Souljah

Title: Midnight: A Gangster Love Story

Genre: African American Fiction, Coming-Of-Age Stories, Love Stories

Publication Date: November, 2008

Number of Pages: 496

Geographical Setting: Brooklyn, New York

Time Period: Mid 1990’s.

Series: First of the Midnight Series, a companion to The Coldest Winter Ever. You do not need to read The Coldest Winter Ever to enjoy or understand this book, even though Midnight was briefly featured in the book.

Plot Summary: Midnight, a teenage boy originally from Sudan, is faced with balancing more than any young man (or adult) should have to balance. He has a mother and sister who he is devoted to. He is a messenger and order taker for his mother’s custom clothing business, which she works on at night and on weekends so she can work at a factory. When they aren’t working on custom fabrics, they are also event planners for other Sudanese families in the area. They are devout Muslims and this is something Midnight grapples with after seeing how Muslims, specifically Five Percenters, behave in America. It is really everyone that he takes issue with. He doesn’t like how men treat women and how women are always showing their bodies. He has a core group of friends and is popular with the ladies, however his heart has been stolen by Akemi, an art student from Japan. She speaks multiple languages, but none of the languages that Midnight speaks, so they often communicate with the help of Akemi’s young cousin while they each try to learn each other's language. On top of all of this, he also participates as a member of a neighborhood basketball team, has an actual job at a fish market, and practices the art of ninjutsu. On occasion he is known to be a vigilante when he feels that someone has done him or the ones he loves, wrong. He manages to successfully do all of these things while living in a rough neighborhood of Brooklyn.

I personally feel like I struggle with time management, but I genuinely have no idea how he manages to have such an active lifestyle.

Subject Headings: African American men -- Fiction.
Africans -- Fiction.
Muslims -- Fiction.
Gangsters -- Fiction.
Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Fiction.

Appeal:  This book is all over the place when it comes to appeal, it is a book about family, love, and the American dream. It is a long book, but if you stick with it, it is well worth your time.

Tone: Sobering

Writing Style: Gritty, Thoughtful

Three terms that best describe this book: Angsty, Active, Compelling

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


  1. I have actually read The Coldest Winter Ever years ago. I can't recall every detail and I definitely can't remember Midnight. However, I remember enjoying the book, and your review made me want to pick up the series again.

    1. I *think* he was just a minor character that Winter encounters. She isn't mentioned at all in this book, unless she goes by a different name, but I think it's strange that he would play a part in that one, but she isn't mentioned in this one.

  2. Hi Jennifer,

    Wow, based on your summary this is one busy person. And to think that I complain about having homework for two classes, working on a portfolio, working a full time job and helping my family. My life seems simple next to the character Midnight. LOL

    I really liked that you added a series statement. There are many times that I want to pick up a book, because it sounds really good, however it is part of a series and I have not read the first book. I am hesitant to read the book, because I do not want to start reading it and be confused, because there is some essential back story that I should have read in a previous book(s). For example, a couple of months ago I picked up the graphic novel Dogwitch, volume 3. The art is fantastic, however after the first chapter I was lost. I checked Amazon and found the first 2 volumes at a really low price and bought them used. I read the first book and enjoyed it and I am now reading the second volume. If I had continued reading volume 3 without starting over with the first volume my enjoyment of the book would have been very low.

    Thanks for sharing your book review.


  3. It seems like Midnight has a number of responsibilities on his plate, and it also seems that he handles himself quite well in spite of everything he has going on in his life. This seems like an interesting book, and though it is not in one of my preferred genres, I think I might check it out once I have some more free time during the summer. Thanks for your review! The read-a-likes seem interesting as well.

  4. Hi Jennifer! This sounds like it would be a very interesting read. Based on your summary and description, I do not normally read books similar to this, so it would be fun to read something different once in a while. I'm curious, though, it says in the title this is a "gangster love story," but I don't think you mentioned anything about gangsters? Great annotation!

  5. Really good job, Jennifer. I had no idea that Sister Souljah wrote Urban Fiction books. I just knew her as a member of Public Enemy! (I'm dating myself!)

    So I know very little about Urban Fiction. There is no demand/interest for it at the branch I work at so I've focused my attention elsewhere. But I wonder if it would benefit me to become more familiar with it. Maybe I could even have some sort of "Intro to Urban Fiction" program or display at my little country branch. What made you pick up this title?

    Also - I appreciated your NF recommendations. That's a nice touch.

  6. All around great annotation! Full points, your appeals, summary, personal comments, and note about it being part of a series. Full points!

  7. What an interesting choice and one that I am highly interested in adding to my own library collection after reading your annotation. Do you think that this book is appropriate for teen audiences? We have several Sudanese teens that visit the library and it might be nice for them to feel represented.