Book Title: Twelve Minutes to Midnight (available here)
Author: Christopher Edge
Illustrator: Olga Baumert
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Publication Date: Originally published Feb 2012 - reissued Nov 2019
Most Suitable For: Year 6
Reviewed By: Christine Ivory, Year 6 Teacher
Christopher Edge has had a lot of success with his science fiction books such as The Longest Night of Charlie Noon and The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day and it is interesting to see a different style of novel from him. Twelve Minutes to Midnight is the perfect gothic thriller for those more mature children in Upper Key Stage 2 or at the start of Key Stage 3. Set in Victorian times, the book has the perfect dose of mystery, horror and adventure to really hook those children that find some other Middle-Grade novels not grown-up enough.
The story follows the adventure of Penelope Tredwell, a 13-year-old writer who battles to determine what is happening to Bedlam madhouse's patients as they continue to wake up at the same time each night and produce cryptic messages.
The story is full of twists and turns that leave readers guessing what is going to come up next and the characters are continuously having to adapt. Penelope is feisty, courageous and determined – a perfect mix to engage a wide range of readers and ultimately a character that readers will like.
I personally think that children will gain more from the book if they have a good knowledge of key historical events – this will support them in making key links that make the book even more effective. There are also some great references to famous authors, particularly of novels that are now deemed to be classics. It would be a great opportunity for children to explore these authors more deeply and it would also give readers a better understanding of the Victorian era that this novel is set in.
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Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Christine for reviewing it.
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