A Million Times Goodnight by Kristina McBride explores how one choice can mean everything

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A Million Times Goodnight by Kristina McBride explores how one choice can mean everything

Books and movies that use parallel lives don’t work very often.  They tend towards the confusing, and they rarely are worth the work.  I think A Million Times Goodnight might be an exception to that rule.  Now, this is one of those rare times when the goodreads crowd actually rated the book lower than I did, which I chalk up to the amount of mental commitment readers have to make to keep the parallel narratives straight.  I liked this dark and suspenseful read, and I think you might as well.  I do think it is interesting that someone decided to use the movie Sliding Doors to give readers an idea of what they are dealing with – that movie is from 1998.  I don’t think the target audience was even born then, so What???  Also, that movie was awful.

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Goodreads Summary

A teen Sliding Doors. One choice creates parallel dual narratives in this romantic contemporary mystery-thriller perfect for fans of Just Like Fate and Pivot Point.

One Night. Two Paths. Infinite Danger.
On the night of the big Spring Break party, Hadley “borrows” her boyfriend Ben’s car without telling him. As payback, he posts a naked picture of her online for the entire senior class to see.
Now Hadley has a choice: go back to the party and force Ben to delete the picture or raise the stakes and take his beloved car on a road trip as far away from their hometown of Oak Grove, Ohio, as she can get.
Chapters alternate to reveal each possible future as Hadley, her ex-boyfriend, Josh, and her best friends embark on a night of reckless adventure where old feelings are rekindled, friendships are tested, and secrets are uncovered that are so much worse than a scandalous photo.

My Thoughts 

This book follows Hadley through two parallel outcomes that begin when she steals her boyfriend’s car for a short drive. He posts a naked picture of her on Facebook in retaliation and demands she bring his car back. In one parallel, she goes back, and in another, she ends up on a road trip in the stolen car with the most hated boy in her class. This synopsis sounds more lighthearted than it is. This is a dark read. It vibrates with tension and threat. Things get ugly as secrets come to light and the knot begins to unravel. I teach high school and have a realistic outlook on teen life, and I was still shocked at the level of depravity of some characters. Like any book that tries to juggle dual narratives, this book does require some work for the reader to keep the two time lines straight. The ending was a little puzzling for me, and I’m still trying to sort my feelings about the way the author merged the two timelines to wrap up the book. Overall, this was a pretty engaging read.  I certainly couldn’t put it down. Sex, drugs, and suicide are topics covered, but they are not glorified and offer opportunities for discussion.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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