Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Stories that take place during a single night

This post at Book Riot caught my eye: 3 OF THE BEST YA BOOKS SET IN A SINGLE NIGHT

Perhaps because of recently reading One Night in Boukos, and let me ask, have you all read that one yet? Because honestly, very charming story. To be sure, the action in that one does in fact take place over the course of one whole day and night, plus just a bit, but still, the action is very condensed.

I haven’t read any of the Book Riot choices for this category —

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks

White Rabbit by Calem Roehrig

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones

And wow, that last title is not exactly inviting. Oh, I see from the description that it’s a “get home alive together” story, not a “let’s commit suicide” story, which was my immediate impression just from the title. Well, that’s fine, then, but I would not recommend a title that can be so easily read the way I read it.

White Rabbit is a solve-the-murder-mystery-or-else story. That sounds like it could be good.

And Pumpkinheads is a graphic novel. I like Rainbow Rowell a great deal, but relatively few graphic novels work that well for me. Sandman and not much else, really. A few others, but not enough to tempt me to pick up a graphic novel by an author just because I like her novels. Of course if you like graphic novels, here you go.

Those three are all contemporary YA, unlike One Night in Boukos.

I have read at least one more YA that did take place all in one night, and it was quite good, too. It was contemporary-ish, but with a twist:

The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson

Ollie can’t be bothered to care about anything but girls until he gets his Deathday Letter and learns he’s going to die in twenty-four hours. Bummer.

Ollie does what he does best: nothing. Then his best friend convinces him to live a little, and go after Ronnie, the girl who recently trampled his about-to-expire heart. Ollie turns to carloads of pudding and over-the-top declarations, but even playing the death card doesn’t work. All he wants is to set things right with the girl of his dreams. It’s now or never…

See, the world is just like ours except you get a letter twenty-four hours before you die, informing you of the coming event. (This is just magic, not explained.) You then have 24 hours to sort out anything in your life that might need sorting out.

I liked this story quite a bit, and of course the frenetic pace is absolutely intrinsic to the story in that case. No possible way to tell it gently and slowly.

What other stories can you think of that take place entirely during one night, or one 24-hour period, or otherwise during a very compressed period of time? I’m sure there must be more.

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1 Comment Stories that take place during a single night

  1. Elaine T

    There was a mystery series by Phoebe Atwood Taylor wherein all of them took place in a 24 hour period, often less. These were rather farcial affairs, and I enjoyed them. (They’re also the only reason I remember Cannae.) But other stories… I must have read some, but none are coming to mind. (tells brain firmly that a Night in the Lonesome October is not an answer.)

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