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I read this book a few weeks ago in New Jersey after helping my sister pack. My sleep goes all over the place during a move even if I’m not the one moving. It’s non-stop physical exertion that leaves my mind racing at night. I gave up on sleep and grabbed a book from the top of a box.

Mara Purnhagen’s Past Midnight is about a girl named Charlotte with ghost-hunting parents. Sounded fun enough to forgive the awful cover.

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Charlotte Silver’s parents are famous ghost hunters with their own reality show. The family moves around constantly until Charlotte’s senior year in high school. Her older sister has finally put her foot down and insisted their parents settle so Charlotte can have a normal school year. They end up in a small North Carolina town, not far from their current investigation based in Charlotte.

So there’s a girl named Charlotte. And a place named Charlotte. Coincidence?

Charlotte’s parents keep their promise and buy a brand new, totally unhaunted house. What could possibly go wrong? From day one, odd things start to happen only around Charlotte. Plus her new friend down the street has a secret AND the school’s outcast needs her help putting a ghost to rest.

Could the friend’s secret have something to do with the outcast’s ghost? See, the plot is too on the nose for my taste, as in not subtle at all.

This was a quick, formulaic read. I should have stopped at page 10. The writing isn’t the worst, but the story is blah. I read the description and thought maybe gothic or a lite exploration of skepticism. Some sort of caloric brain substance. The characters and story lines are beige on beige with no edges or unexpected moments.

My late night choices will be more discerning in the future. On the night before my move, I’m going to watch Twin Peaks. Me and Special Agent Dale Cooper will drink coffee and eat pie till the sun comes up. I still haven’t seen the very last episode. I don’t want it to be over. Maybe it ended it 1991. Maybe it didn’t.

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