A Friend at Midnight
Goodreads ratings
3.57 / 5

"A Friend at Midnight" Summary

By Caroline B. Cooney

young adult | 192 pages | Published in 2006

Lily has settled into life in Connecticut after her parent's divorce but it's been harder on her eight-year-old brother Michael. After their mother remarries, her brother chooses to go live with his father in Washington, D.C., until the day he calls home from the Baltimore-Washington Airport where his father has abandoned him.Lily is home babysitting her baby stepbrother when she answers the phone. She has no idea the extent to which her faith in God will be tested. There is no choice for Lily. She will rescue Michael, but will she be able to rescue herself from the bitterness and anger she feels?


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

When a teenage girl discovers her friend's secret, she must decide whether to keep it to herself or risk their friendship by telling the truth.


"A Friend at Midnight" by Caroline B. Cooney is a compelling young adult novel that delves into the themes of friendship, loyalty, and personal growth. Set in a small town, the story follows a group of teenagers as they navigate the complexities of adolescence and the challenges of coming of age. With its relatable characters and thought-provoking narrative, "A Friend at Midnight" offers readers an insightful exploration of the teenage experience.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview and Setting

The story takes place in the quaint town of Springdale, where a tight-knit group of friends grapples with the trials and tribulations of high school life. Against the backdrop of this charming town, the narrative unfolds with a focus on the characters' relationships, insecurities, and personal journeys.

Main Characters

LilyThe protagonist, a thoughtful and introspective teenager
JenLily's best friend, known for her outgoing and adventurous nature
NigelA new student at the school, mysterious and enigmatic
SamLily's older brother, protective and supportive
Mrs. WilsonA kind-hearted neighbor who plays a significant role in the story

Story Points Over Chapters

Chapter 1-5: Setting the Stage

The novel opens with a glimpse into Lily's world, her daily routine, and her close bond with Jen. As the story progresses, the introduction of Nigel, a new student at their school, adds an air of mystery and intrigue. Meanwhile, Lily's relationship with her older brother, Sam, provides a sense of security and stability.

Chapter 6-10: Unraveling Mysteries

Lily and Jen find themselves drawn to Nigel, who seems to harbor a secret. As they attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding him, the girls are faced with unexpected challenges that test the strength of their friendship.

Chapter 11-15: Unforeseen Events

A series of unforeseen events disrupt the tranquility of Springdale, leading to moments of tension and uncertainty for the characters. As the plot thickens, the teenagers must confront their fears and confront the truth about themselves and each other.

Chapter 16-20: Resolving Conflicts

The climax of the story unfolds as secrets are brought to light, and the characters are forced to reckon with the consequences of their actions. The resolution of conflicts paves the way for personal growth and newfound understanding among the friends.

Main Events

  • The arrival of Nigel sparks curiosity and speculation among the group of friends.
  • Tensions escalate as unforeseen events challenge the characters' perceptions of themselves and each other.
  • The unveiling of long-held secrets leads to moments of introspection and growth for the teenagers.
  • The resolution of conflicts and the strengthening of friendships mark the culmination of the narrative.

Themes and Insights

Friendship and Loyalty

The novel explores the dynamics of friendship and the unwavering support that friends provide during times of turmoil. Through their trials and tribulations, the characters learn the true value of loyalty and the strength that comes from standing by each other.


As the characters navigate the complexities of adolescence, they are confronted with moments of self-discovery and introspection. The novel delves into the theme of personal growth, highlighting the transformative journey that accompanies the process of understanding oneself.

Trust and Betrayal

The narrative delves into the delicate balance between trust and betrayal, emphasizing the impact of honesty and deceit on the characters' relationships. The exploration of this theme offers readers valuable insights into the consequences of both trust and betrayal in friendships.

Coming of Age

"A Friend at Midnight" provides a poignant portrayal of the coming-of-age experience, capturing the essence of the characters' transition from adolescence to young adulthood. The novel delves into the challenges and triumphs that accompany this transformative phase of life.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers of "A Friend at Midnight" are sure to be captivated by the relatable characters, engaging storyline, and insightful exploration of friendship and personal growth. The novel offers a compelling narrative that resonates with the universal experiences of adolescence, making it a poignant and thought-provoking read for young adult audiences.


In conclusion, "A Friend at Midnight" by Caroline B. Cooney is a poignant and compelling novel that delves into the complexities of friendship, loyalty, and the teenage experience. With its relatable characters, engaging plot, and thought-provoking themes, the book offers readers a captivating journey through the trials and triumphs of adolescence. Through its exploration of self-discovery, trust, and coming of age, "A Friend at Midnight" leaves a lasting impression on its audience, making it a must-read for young adult literature enthusiasts.

A Friend at Midnight FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'A Friend at Midnight'?

    The genre of 'A Friend at Midnight' is young adult fiction.

  2. Who is the author of 'A Friend at Midnight'?

    The author of 'A Friend at Midnight' is Caroline B. Cooney.

  3. What is the main theme of 'A Friend at Midnight'?

    The main theme of 'A Friend at Midnight' revolves around friendship, trust, and the impact of secrets.

  4. Is 'A Friend at Midnight' part of a series?

    No, 'A Friend at Midnight' is a standalone novel.

  5. What age group is 'A Friend at Midnight' suitable for?

    The book is suitable for readers in the young adult age group, generally around 12-18 years old.