I didn't really enjoy this book. I feel like it was exactly like Books 9, 10, and 11. There is a new suspect for A, the girls think that said suspect is A, and then at the end, something absolves them from the crime scene. I feel like this book was more like a filler and I was reading Book 10 with different character names and a different setting. The girls haven't changed since Book 8, actually have gotten more and more immature, and there is a nine month gap from Book 8 to Book 9. You would've thought that the girls would've have stopped being so naive and making the exact same mistakes for the fifth or sixth time. I also think that from after Book 8, the books have gotten more and more unrealistic. An eco cruise for a school trip? Really? I really feel like Sara has been running out of ideas. I'm not sure why I read the book when I saw the title "Burned". I figured there was probably another fire, and I was right. It was the third fire in twelve books. There was a fire in Book 6, Book 8, and now in Book 12. This plot moved slowly and I didn't really find the ending that shocking. The book has been using the same "formula" as the three predecessors. The thing I kind of enjoyed about this book was that we actually saw characters that haven't seen since Book 8. It's like Sara finally remembered her original cast and decided to use them instead of throwing a bunch of new characters at us every book. Well, she did throw a bunch of new characters, but also decided to use the old ones a bit. Naomi actually said more than three lines for the first time since Book 8! We saw Kirsten again, and she said her first line since Book 5, I think. The thing I miss about Books 1-8 is the story arc. Now, each book is pretty separate and it makes the storylines choppy and Sara's new characters disappear right after the book ends. Zach disappeared after Book 9, Mr. Pennythistle after Book 10, Chloe after Book 9, Kelsey after Book 10, Patrick after Book 9, and Ezra after Book 10. I thought Reefer would be gone after Book 10, but it was a nice surprise when we saw him again. I wonder if Sara has forgotten about all of the new characters she introduces in every book.
I was really excited for this, but it turned out to be a huge disappointment. It was in Ali's POV, but her character wasn't well developed at all, and seemed vapid and shallow. All Ali seems to care about was keeping her identity and her secret boyfriend. There was no new depth to Ali's character. If anything, it just deepened my hate for her. I have the feeling during some parts we are supposed to feel sympathetic for Ali, but I honestly don't feel sympathetic because the circumstances are unrealistic and faulty and could be easily resolved. The purpose of the book was to discover how Ali was feeling during the weeks before her death. All I got was that Ali really didn't want to go back to the mental hospital, which I knew in Book 8. This was book was like all of the flashbacks from the previous books combined with a POV change. The only mildly shocking thing was the ending. Reading the first few chapters and the last two chapters wouldn't have confused anyone. The middle of the book just dragged on for me and seemed never ending with the constant rehashing of Books 1-8. I was so relieved when it was finally time for her death. The main thing that really didn't work for me was the character Nick, whom Sara Shepard just threw it out of the blue and make it a bit of a focus. It turned out that this Nick person had nothing to do with the majority of the plot. I mean, we hadn't even heard of a character named Nick before, so that really didn't work. I made sure to go back and read through the previous books and make sure I didn't skip anything major. I'm fairly certain that we will never hear about this Nick person again. Did we even get a last name? A school? Even if Sara just threw Nick in, she could've made the effort to develop him a bit too. All I ever found out about him was that he met the real Ali at camp years ago, he likes paintball, and other superficial details. I didn't feel any chemistry between Nick and Ali so it was slightly painful to go through. Without the pointless Nick part, I would have enjoyed this book a bit more.
This book was really good. The end was so surprising and heartbreaking. Jessica finally gets a little character development. It was nice to see her not acting like a bratty teenager for once. Beth finally said more than three lines! Yay! Beth's character is so realistic, nosy little sister who's trying to find out Jessica's secret. Beth was kind of annoying, but I suppose that it was the intention. Melissa's story is explained a little bit more, and her relationship with Rex is explored more. I loved Rex's story, recovering from what happened at the end of the last book in the desert. I liked how Rex wasn't perfectly fine right after Jessica saved him. He struggled a bit, trying to adjust to being human again. Rex definitely got more mature, realizing the harsh realities of the world and that he can't save everyone. Dess's story was good, a bit confusing with the physics and calculations again. Jonathan was as annoying as always, he didn't develop at all through the books. All I learned was that he really likes physics and tacos. The end was heartbreaking, I seriously wasn't expecting the hero to also be the victim. The hero was trying to save everyone, it worked, but with a surprising twist, the hero's life quality was sacrificed. The epilogue was really good. Beth develops a lot and like Rex, realizes the harsh reality, that she has to let her sister go and will probably never see her again. Jessica goes through the most character development that she has gone throughout whole trilogy, she realizes that her life is changed forever and that she can't ever be that naive carefree teen that she was before she moved to Bixby where her biggest problems were probably her grades, not that she's trapped inside the secret hour and can't live during the normal 24 hours. The book really focused on the relationships between the characters and their stories, much less the action that the last book focused on. The only serious action was in the last couple chapters. Minus one star because the end was so heartbreaking and because of Jonathan. I understand why it happened like that, otherwise it would be too cliche if the hero managed to save the whole world from disaster and ended up unscathed. And, Jonathan's character was just so unnecessary. He was pretty much just a stand in character to fly people around.
I really enjoyed this book. It focused on the other midnighters, Melissa, Rex, and Dess. Melissa, Rex, and Dess got more developed as characters, we learned their pasts. Sadly, Jonathan and Jessica remain as shallow as before. Jonathan was annoying before and still annoying. The only slightly confusing part was Dess's part with the physics and calculations and the whole history part of it. It took a couple reads to fully understand the physics and calculations Dess was doing, but I still found it slightly dull. I didn't really think ALL of it was necessary to understand Dess's chapters. I really liked how each midnighter got their own chapter this time, versus every single chapter being about Jessica. Jessica was so silly and naive sometimes I wanted to slap her. It was hard to believe that she was the hero of the story. Jonathan and Jessica seems like they were younger and much more immature than the rest. Melissa and Rex's pasts were finally revealed and then, you finally get why Melissa acts the way she does. In the first book, she was kind of annoying, but now I understand. The plot twist at the end was surprising. I thought it would be the cliche plot, the superheroes save the victim at the last second before something bad happens to the victim. Jessica is too late to completely save Rex from his horrible fate, but she still manages to help Rex. This book was definitely darker than the first, where their group was all happy and helping each other and were all like "I love midnight". This book digs deeper and shows that their group really is dysfunctional and that midnight is dangerous and that their powers aren't necessarily good. I was going to give it 4.5 stars, but apparently that isn't an option so I'll just round up.
This book was amazing. I really enjoyed it. A lot of people are hating on Sara's character, but I think that she loves all of her children, and that she's just misunderstood. Sara just couldn't let Kate die and I suppose that it would be excruciating to let one of your kids die, especially when you know there's a way to fix it. I also think Anna was right though. Ironically, I think the least developed of all the characters was Kate. She seemed weak and shallow, but it was easy to feel sympathy for her. I feel like I never understood Kate completely during the book. All the rest of the characters were very developed, mostly through flashbacks in Brian's, Sara's, Campbell's, and Julia's cases. This book wasn't very plot heavy or medical term heavy and focused mostly on the relationships between Anna and the other characters. The plot twist was so heartbreaking. I never imagined that it would happen how it did. It was a better ending than I imagined though. The hero saves the victim, but the hero dies. I finally understood Kate during the epilogue. She wasn't fine right after she is saved by Anna, she almost dies and has a lingering feeling of guilt throughout the epilogue. The line that broke my heart was when Kate said that she survived because someone else had to go, and that was Anna, and how Kate says that she should be dead because Anna was so full of life and it wasn't fair for her to die. I wanted Julia to be a bit of a smaller part in the book and Jesse and Brian's characters to be focused on more. Their feelings about Sara's decisions weren't focused on and we never got to see exactly what exactly they were thinking. This book was so conflicting, Kate was sick, but Anna was also a human being. Anna was a very complex character, she wanted to save Kate, but she also wanted to live and give Kate what she really wants. She craved her mother's approval, but went against her to help Kate.