A Million Times Goodnight
by Kristina McBride
Published by Egmont USA
Genre: young adult
3 / 5
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.
Like a teen Sliding Doors, A Million Times Goodnight is a fast-paced romantic contemporary thriller for fans of Just Like Fate and Pivot Point.
Did you see the Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors? If so, then you totally understand where this book is going. If not, then you might be a bit confused.
Hadley has been dating Ben, the popular jock heartthrob, for a while, but theirs is hardly a happy relationship. On the night of a big spring party, the two have a little tiff, after which Hadley “borrows” Ben’s car.
This much can be agreed upon.
Two different versions of what happens afterwards result, however, and each is in Hadley’s mind. Is one true and the other not? Are parts of each true? Which one is a dream and which reality?
The varying stories keep you guessing, but really neither is the point. What matters is that Hadley has to figure out for herself who she should trust, for what transgressions she should atone, and to whom she should apologize. This is not an easy process for her, and you can understand why she needs to create a sort of alternate reality. Her best friend died a year earlier, a death that lingers with unanswered questions. What really happened that night, and who was involved?
Kristina McBride does a solid job of presenting both narratives. As the book progresses, you see Hadley’s two mindsets overlap, and you figure out which one is real and which one is a fantasy. You also figure out which one is the “right” one for Hadley.
McBride’s supporting cast is fun to read about. In fact, it could be argued that they are more interesting than Hadley herself. Perhaps Hadley feels static compared to her compatriots, who are more developed and interesting than she is. The mystery element – what happened the night Hadley’s best friend died – takes center stage, occasionally upstaging the characters. I had to remind myself that the drawn-out plot served a purpose. Hadley has some work to do as far as her personal relationships are concerned, not to mention her lingering feelings regarding both her dead best friend and which boy, she has to decide, she is happier. The tracks of Hadley’s relationships – the first boy she thought she loved and her current boyfriend – leave you wondering why she makes the decisions she does. Kristina McBride does answer these questions, and you will be satisfied with her answers.
The dual perspectives – the Sliding Doors effect – is never quite explained. It’s merely a mechanism McBride uses to present what could have been versus what is. Regardless, both threads lead to the same conclusion, making you certain that Hadley is where she is supposed to be.
Despite the sad premise – the death of a friend – this is an entertaining book to read. Hadley may not be the most compelling leading lady, but her friends and the source of the mystery are. You will want to know how Hadley came to be in the predicament she found herself in, and you will want to know what happened with her friend.
One of the things I liked about this book was the absence of conflict between female friends. Too often, books seems to fall back on the trite premise that girls don’t really get along. Kristina McBride realizes that girls can form real and true friendships, and she features one here. The conflict is not between friends, but rather between the friends and other people, whether parents or boyfriends or classmates.