Sometime After Midnight by L. Philips (DRC): Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist Meets CinderFELLA


4.5 stars

Cameron and Nate meet in a dingy Los Angeles club, finding out they have a lot more in common than a love for an obscure indie band. Because Cameron is the heir to the record label that destroyed Nate’s father’s life, and now he’s running away as fast as he can, leaving behind a blurry photo of his Sharpie-decorated Chucks as he runs away.

Cameron, a real life Prince Charming with famous connections, sets out to find the owner of the Sharpied shoes, and the Internet just about breaks with the news of a modern fairytale.

Cameron and Nate are in for a ride filled with undeniable attraction yet lots of unknown history between them, brought together by the power of music.

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Hot damn.

This book was great. It was wonderful. It was such a lovely twist on tropes that are nearing the end of their lifespan.

I really enjoyed reading this one, and it was such a bundle of fun, I couldn’t help but enjoy.

It was like Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, but better and wayyy more queer. It was more exciting, less try-hard-quirky, and had enough tropes to pull you in but not too much to push you out.

I mean, this was basically made for me. It combines all my favorite tropes (Cinderella? Check! Famous person? Check!) and is diverse feat. LGBTQ+ main characters.

There had to be something large and terrible happen to make me not like this book, and I’m glad to say that didn’t happen and I ended up enjoying it.

It felt clean and polished–I actually enjoyed how well Philips wrapped up the ending and worked to make it all fall together even though I’m notorious for disliking the endings to contemporaries–but with enough grit & dark background to make the cover seem fitting.

I like how Philips incorporated the background little by little. At first it’s just like a Cinderella story (or, should I say CinderFELLA story), but then Philips adds the layers to Nate & Cameron’s respective pasts. You find out more and more about what happened with Nate’s dad and Cameron’s father’s record company (without any flashbacks, I might add) and it all was incorporated very naturally.

I love how Philips added this twist on the story, because honestly there’s not a lot to the Cinderella trope and you need a little more substance to keep it afloat, else your book could be summed up in a 10 page children’s board book.

Similarly, Philips did a nice job of developing the characters. I liked both Nate and Cameron’s characters and I thought Philips managed to shape their present thought processes and actions well based on the things they experienced in their past and the way they grew up.

In the end, the only thing I wasn’t too fond of was the romance. In my opinion, when Philips added more about their background, it kind of took up more page-time than the actual romance between Nate and Cameron. We ended up focusing a lot on them getting over their past issues rather than them bonding romantically, so it did feel a little insta-lovey to me.

Nate and Cameron bonded a lot over their love for music and they music they played together, and I felt like that dominated the actual romance. I’m not actually sure they could end up being really great romantic partners, but I don’t think that was Philips’ end goal for this story, so it didn’t matter to me.

This is more of a book about finding your way to another person and overcoming your past to potentially lead to something great and amazing.

I have to admit, I was definitely turned off a little by the cover, but the description (and the book) totally won me over. Ignore the cover if you need to. Just read this book!

Overall, I really enjoyed reading and found Sometime After Midnight to be a refreshing twist on some of my favorite tropes. There was nothing I explicitly didn’t like, and I think this book definitely deserves a lot more love & buzz.

If you’re looking for a book featuring the indie music scene, a modern twist on the Cinderella trope, and/or queer boys falling in love, I definitely recommend you check this one out!

Thank you so much to Penguin & Edelweiss for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!

much love, vicky

Which Cinderella retellings have you loved? Do you have any queer ones to rec (or literally wreck) me?

3 thoughts on “Sometime After Midnight by L. Philips (DRC): Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist Meets CinderFELLA

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