Analysis of Five Midnights by Ann Davila Cardinal

Analysis of Five Midnights (ch 1)

Five friends cursed. Five deadly fates. Five nights of retribución.

If Lupe Dávila and Javier Utierre can survive each other’s company, together they can solve a series of grisly murders sweeping though Puerto Rico. But the clues lead them out of the real world and into the realm of myths and legends. And if they want to catch the killer, they’ll have to step into the shadows to see what’s lurking there–murderer, or monster?

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Analysis of Five Midnights (ch 2)

She’d never come to Puerto Rico without her father, never walked to baggage claim without struggling to keep up with his long impatient stride. She smiled. This was her first trip as an adult. Okay, so sixteen wasn’t adult, but her was of leash.

This quote establishes both character and voice. Lupe has clearly been coming to Puerto Rico since she was very small, hence the inability to keep up with her father’s large stride. She equates being on her own with being an adult, she sees herself as responsible.

The voice gets close to Lupe at the end, getting inside her head without being an italicized thought by saying “Okay, so sixteen wasn’t adult…” It’s a casual, off handed description that feels close to the narrator.

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Analysis of Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal (ch 4)

Marisol stopped, closed her eyes, and took a deep but shaky breath. The thumping had started inside her skull, like something was trying to get out. Last time it had gotten this bad she’d woken up in the psych ward after a two-day blackout. She’d woken up to find out that her brother was dead.

Few things here, Marisol seems like a danger to herself and others. Especially, if she blacked out for two days. I’m already not a fan of how her mental health is portrayed like she’s about to have an enormous unprompted episode in the middle of the street.

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Analysis of Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal (ch 5)

“And that guy, who the h–who did he think he was, stepping in like I can’t defend myself?”

Her uncle chuckled at this. “Yes, that wasn’t wise on his part. But many boys here are raised to protect girls, though I think that tradition is starting to fade away.”

Lupe folded her arms across her chest and stared at the ground. Yet another thing she didn’t understand. It didn’t help that she couldn’t stop seeing the boy’s face, the deep brown of his eyes. That only made her angrier at herself. “Clearly he’s never met a feminist.”


A lot of the cursing gets censored by teens in their dialogue around adults. It was cute and on point the first time it happened, but now it’s old and feels like reaching down to the audience. We all know teens curse (yes, they do, don’t even fight this). But the rate at which these teens catch themselves and stop mid word is distracting to read.

Then we have the local boy’s (Javier’s) protectiveness and how boys are taught to protect girls, which Lupe claims to not understand. What’s not to understand? That’s a fairly universal thing to teach to young boys. Particularly in the US, where Lupe is from.

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Published by J. M. Tuckerman

J.M.Tuckerman is a neurodivergent writer with a big education. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, an MA in Writing, and a BA in Writing Arts (specializing in Creative Writing, New Media Writing, and Publication; concentrating in New Media Production), which she somehow managed to earn despite her three very loud and large dogs. Jessica was lucky enough to intern at Quirk Books and Picador, USA while earning her master’s degrees. Her service dog, Ringo, is very proud of all that she has accomplished and hopes to be on a back cover of a published book with her very soon. An avid reader, writer, and lover of young adult and middle-grade literature, Jessica’s bookshelf is overflowing with hardbacks, paperbacks, and a million half-filled notebooks. She is a proud fur-mommy to two lab/st-bernard littermates, a retriever-mix service dog, and one orange little hobgoblin cat, all of whom have made very audible appearances on the Booked All Night podcast.

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