The Fight for Midnight
by Dan Solomon
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Pub Date 20 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 09 Jun 2023
North Star Editions, Flux
It’s been a rough year for Alex Collins. In the past twelve months, he’s lost his best friend, become the target of the two biggest bullies at school, and been sentenced to community service. But on June 25, 2013, he gets a call for help from Cassie Ramirez, the prettiest girl in school. At last, he feels like his luck might be changing.
Cassie is at the Texas State Capitol to protest Wendy Davis’s historic filibuster of the abortion bill HB2, and she’s rallying everyone she knows to join her. Until today, Alex didn’t know what a filibuster was, and he’d never given a moment’s thought to how he felt about abortion. But at the Capitol, he finds himself in the middle of a tense scene full of pro-life “blueshirts,” pro-choice “orangeshirts,” and blustering politicians playing political games as Wendy Davis tries to run out the clock at midnight.
Alex may have entered the Capitol looking to spend time with Cassie, but the political gets personal when he runs into his ex-friend Shireen in an orange T-shirt and quickly realizes that when it comes to an issue like abortion, neutral isn’t an option. Over the next nineteen hours, Alex will struggle to figure out what side he’s on, knowing that whatever choice he makes will bring him face-to-face with his past mistakes.
A Note From the Publisher
~While this book might seem, on the surface, about abortion rights, it's really about a young person learning that there are complex issues in the world and lots of reasons to be on different sides of those issues, and that hearing differing viewpoints and then making your own decisions is an important part of growing up.
~The book presents a refreshing and novel approach to discussing such a polarizing and controversial topic by viewing it through a protagonist who hasn't really considered the issue and who, with an open mind, learns why other people feel as they do and grapples with the issue to consider all sides and figure out what he believes.
~Similarly, it's perhaps unusual to have the main character in a book about abortion be a teenage boy, but by addressing this topic through his perspective, the book importantly shows how this issue relates to everyone.
~The protagonist Alex also models how you can end up disagreeing with someone and still see the good in that person, still like them, still learn from them, and still be thankful for the relationship you have with them.
~The book makes politics relevant, interesting, and relatable--Alex is a teen boy and so he at various times in the book likens what he's seeing in how the politicians act and how the different protestors interact to a football game or video game.
~The story humanizes both sides of the debate through a diverse cast of side characters:
Cassie is Hispanic and pro-life
Shireen is Iranian American and pro-choice
Debbie is both a devout church-goer and pro-choice
Mr. Monaghan is an old man who teaches Alex a valuable lesson about toxic masculinity.
~Queer representation in side characters, and a discussion of how the issue of abortion is relevant to trans people.
~The filibuster at the Capitol and the debate on abortion rights is the most visible plot, but there's an equally important emotional plot for Alex related to his best friend, who recently died of a drug overdose. Throughout the book, Alex deals with his grief and guilt over having not spoken up about his friend's growing drug use, and he's in this process of figuring out what kind of person he wants to be. That situation and the end to the filibuster--with everyone screaming in the Senate Gallery to successfully prevent the Senate from taking the vote to pass the bill--brings home the ultimate theme of the book about the importance of people using their voice to speak up for what matters--from protestors showing up to be heard to friends speaking up to protect one another.
~Author note about the author's relationship to this topic: he's a journalist based out of Austin, Texas, and a senior writer at Texas Monthly, and he covered the HB2 filibuster for the Austin Chronicle, where his work was part of the alt-weekly’s AAN Award nominated coverage.
“What does a 15-year-old boy have to teach us about the complicated topic of abortion? A lot, it seems. Because in this instance, Alex brings an open mind and an open heart to a nuanced topic, allowing us to revisit the issue with a fresh perspective.” —Former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis
"This powerful and unflinching book is a must-read for anyone with firm convictions, those who are wavering, and anyone seeking to find their way forward in a world where nothing is black and white.” —Bonnie Pipkin, author of Aftercare Instructions
“The Fight for Midnight is riveting, relentless and full of such stunning heart. It is essential reading for all of us who have ever questioned who we are and what we believe in. Full of nuanced, complicated, and real characters who are vulnerable, tender and tough – all of them with enough nerve and power to rise up together, scream out loud and make sure their voices are heard. I loved this book and will share it with all the young people I know who are struggling to figure out who they are, where they stand and what they truly believe in.” —Ellen Hagan, author of Don't Call Me a Hurricane
“A timely and powerful debut that captures the thought process that so many young adults go through when deciding, some for the first time, their personal beliefs on political and social issues. The Fight For Midnight is a vital read for people of all gender identities.” —Claire Forrest, author of Where You See Yourself
“Solomon gives readers the opportunity to sit, squirm, and re-examine the ways the system supports and limits our voices. A necessary read for every man wading in the middle of this urgent, all-important fight.” —E.J. Schwartz, author of Before We Were Blue
“A fast-paced, thoughtful, and affecting story about the moment between who you were and who you want to become.” —Shannon C.F. Rogers, author of I'd Rather Burn Than Bloom
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