Reviewed by Flamingnet Student Book Reviewer SMill - Marianne Cotton is a straight A student. Her loving grandfather provides the constant support of a caring father figure while her bipolar mother flaunts around the country chasing her dream of becoming a successful artist. But when her grandfather dies of an unexpected stroke and her mother's marriage falls apart, Marianne finds her stunning academic career unraveling and her prosperous future darkening. Marianne meets an exotic street music performer, Miles, who introduces her to the lures of the lower east side. Marianne's private school scholarship becomes unimportant and her easygoing teenage life is thrown away for one of sex, drugs and murky music clubs. Through Miles' music, freedom and connections Marianne opens her eyes to the depths and shadows of New York's rugged and dangerous inner city scene.
This was a harrowing and believable book, which I actually really enjoyed! Magdalena Ball writes with such conviction and describes even the grittiest scenes with their own kind of beauty that makes this novel hard to put down. Having never read anything quite like this book before, I was dubious at the beginning. However, upon finishing the novel, I realized that I had been living as Marianne, experiencing her loss, grief and struggles. I lived the painful emotion behind the words of the narrator while sharing the experiences and feelings of Marianne; this sets the book apart. I would definitely recommend Sleep Before Evening to others but possibly to those older than myself. Throughout the novel Marianne is faced with the daunting trials of drug addiction, sex and the fight for survival in the big city. While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I think it might be better suited to people from 16 up. The words of Magdalena Ball in Sleep Before Evening will without a doubt stay with me for years to come.