Summary (from the publisher):
Two girls. One night. Zero phones.
Kat and Stevie—best friends, theater kids, polar opposites—have snuck away from the suburbs to spend a night in New York City. They have it all planned out. They’ll see a play, eat at the city’s hottest restaurant, and have the best. Night. Ever. What could go wrong?
Well. Kind of a lot?
They’re barely off the train before they’re dealing with destroyed phones, family drama, and unexpected Pomeranians. Over the next few hours, they’ll have to grapple with old flames, terrible theater, and unhelpful cab drivers. But there are also cute boys to kiss, parties to crash, dry cleaning to deliver (don’t ask), and the world’s best museum to explore.
Over the course of a wild night in the city that never sleeps, both Kat and Stevie will get a wake-up call about their friendship, their choices…and finally discover what they really want for their future.
That is, assuming they can make it to Grand Central before the clock strikes midnight.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
I haven’t met a Morgan Matson book that I haven’t LOVED, including her latest release, Take Me Home Tonight. I am a huge fan of her work, so I should premise here that I am likely to fall in love with any of her books. Her writing style just pulls me in – it’s has this detailed just binge-able quality with unique plots that grab my attention again & again.
Like Morgan’s other books, the book is set in the fictional Stanwich, CT, as best friends Stevie and Kat decide to go into New York City by themselves for the night while waiting for the cast list for their high school’s King Lear production. Stevie’s dad cancels their birthday dinner plans at an exclusive restaurant, so Kat convinces her to still take the reservation while having ulterior motives: go see their theatre department lead teacher’s own play to maybe influence his casting decisions for the show. A series of mishaps early in the night leads to getting locked out an apartment with their stuff inside, taking care of the world’s cutest Pomeranian, a broken cell phone, and Kat & Stevie left figuring out what they each want for their future and friendship.
Before I really dive into my review, I just wanted to include a sidetone that Morgan Matson still has some of the best covers in the YA contemporary game. Although Take Me Home Tonight isn’t my favorite cover – Morgan Matson’s books usually have models/real people on them whereas Take Me Home Tonight has this 3D object-like quality-, I do like that the illustrator got Kat & Stevie’s outfits to the exact detail (and of course included Brad). It might seem a little odd to people who haven’t read the book, but I LOVE the full cover image of Brad/Pomeranian on the back. I borrowed Take Me Home Tonight from my library so I wasn’t able to see it in a full detail, but I also love how the backside of Morgan Matson’s cover jackets are also illustrated.
As someone who lives in NJ and considers NYC their backyard, Kat and Stevie’s adventures in the city made me so nostalgic for the city. From the train ride in to the descriptions of the streets & subways to museums to bodegas, Morgan Matson makes the reader feel like they’re in the city right alongside the two leads. I admit that I’m sometimes hesitant about books taking place in less than 24 hours, but Take Me Home Tonight totally worked for me because so much still happens plot-wise but doesn’t feel rushed, I think largely because of the city setting where it is fairly easy to get from place-to-place in no time. With the help of a few other characters, Kat and Stevie’s self realizations and development made sense. Maybe blame my inner introvert, but I found myself relating to Stevie a little bit more, but I did also really enjoy Kat’s storyline – I think her mistakes were inevitable and a little predictable, but I liked following her growth (and scooter adventures).
Take Me Home Tonight definitely gets a full 5/5 stars for pure enjoyment, but I am ultimately giving it a 4.5/5 stars, mainly because of some of the writing style. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Morgan Matson’s writing style. It is so detailed and as much mentioned before, really makes me feel that I am in the book with the character. However, Kat narrates the book in the first two parts, but when her and Stevie get separated, the book begins to be told from both of their perspectives, which threw me off especially because while their personalities are different, their narration sounds the same. Definitely start paying attention to the chapter headings around chapter nine to see if the chapter is being told from Kat and Stevie. In addition, while I appreciate that Morgan Matson wanted to include the ‘third’ best friend, Teri, in the books, her chapters were wild and felt so out of place. Since Teri is often left out of the spotlight and made assistant director for many of the school’s show, I wonder if this was the author’s attempt to make Teri feel like a lead. I did appreciate that Morgan Matson made me try to guess if Teri’s chapters were actually happening or if she was dreaming, but it ultimately did pull me out of Stevie and Kat’s story.
I wanted to savor the reading experience since Morgan Matson has been coming out with a new book every 2-3 years, but blame it on a rainy weekend and the fact that I love her books so much for me reading it in less than 24 hours. I might just have to reread her books in the meantime, especially since there are a few cameos throughout – obviously Amy from Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour is sprinkled throughout the story, but there were a few moments where I questioned if we had seen some of the side characters before. I’ve read all of her books now, and I totally admit that inspired by some of Take Me Home Tonight’s cameos, I’m inspired to do a full reread of her books this summer??
Overall, Take Me Home Tonight included all the hallmarks of Morgan Matson’s books, but I especially loved this book’s focus on female friendship and NYC setting. If you’re a fan of any of Morgan Matson’s books, but especially Since You’ve Been Gone, definitely pick this one up!
Have you read Take Me Home Tonight? What is your favorite Morgan Matson book? Share in the comments!