Three authors — Roshani Chokshi, Sandhya Menon, and Evelyn Skye — have collaborated, and the product of their efforts is the heartwarming young adult novel Three Kisses, One Midnight. The book reminds us that paradoxically, something simple can lead to the most enjoyment. Sure, the three stories are predictable and cheesy, but they also emphasize the essence of the Halloween spirit in a lighthearted, fun way. Through these stories, readers are reminded of the power of friendship and love.
Three Kisses, One Midnight follows the different arcs of three characters — Onny, Ash, and True — as they discover love. Through a love potion plot, Onny discovers that there’s a thin line between love and hate. Ash musters up the courage to confess to his crush. True opens up to love after a past heartbreak. The stories are distinctly structured in terms of small conflicts and resolutions, and in the process of doing so, they remind readers of how going back to the basics can be a valuable tactic in storytelling.
Onny, Ash, and True are a group of best friends called the Coven, and the supernatural elements come into play as they uncover love in the small town of Moon Ridge. It’s a setting reminiscent of the Halloweentown movies, with humor befitting of the film series as well. Each character is clearly distinguishable in terms of internal narration, as their personalities come across as three-dimensional on the page.
Despite the fact that the novel is written by three different authors, the voice flows smoothly. There’s little to no indication that the stories weren’t part of one mind, illustrating the strength of the collaboration and the writing.
Onny’s love story is a great example of the enemies-to-lovers dynamic even as it follows familiar narrative elements. Ash’s insecurities are deeply relatable. Orion, True’s love interest, is charming and likable. There’s some supernatural mystique with the town’s legend Lady of Moon Ridge that offers some spookish fun. It’s as if Valentine’s Day and Halloween are mashed together with different coming-of-age tales.
To be honest (or true, get it?), Three Kisses, One Midnight is a bit too direct with its dialogue. Some lines come off as outright stiff, just because the lyricism of a novel doesn’t fit too well when it’s spoken by a character.
Where the characters are three dimensional, the dialogue is one-dimensional. In other words, the book lacks subtlety where it could use some. There could be more implied feelings rather than long-winded internal monologues about them.
Three Kisses, One Midnight is a very comprehensible book that doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is, but it still has potential to showcase more of its strengths. The ability to blend comedy and the supernatural with strong character development is well-done, if only the authors didn’t try to spell out their master plan from the beginning.
The master plan, however obvious, still claims the attention of its audience. Readers looking for a fun Halloween read will find it in Three Kisses, One Midnight. The relayed text conversations between these three friends are fun and it’s a reader’s delight reading these segments throughout the novel. It seems like the authors themselves had a lot of fun writing these stories. That’s no surprise; there’s some genuine enjoyment to be found in them. After all, the book might just keep you up until midnight.