What Happens After Midnight by K. L. Walther
Published: June 27th 2023 by Sourcebooks Fire
Rating: ★★★★★ (5)
Genre: Young Adult // Contemporary Romance
Quick Thoughts: A romantic treasure, full of Swiftie gems and a trove of eloquent moments that made my heart fill with bejewelled joy.
About The Book:
Lily Hopper has two more weeks until she’s officially finished with boarding school. With graduation quickly approaching Lily is worried that she’s somehow missed out on the fun of being in high school. So, when she receives a mysterious note inviting her to join the anonymous senior class Jester in executing the end-of-year prank, Lily sees her chance to put her goody-two-shoes reputation behind her.
When Lily realizes the Jester is none other than Taggart Swell, her ex- boyfriend, she’s already in too deep to back out. Lily might’ve dumped Tag, but she still has major feelings. Plus, his brilliant plan to steal the school’s yearbooks, targets none other than Lilly’s prom date: the Senior Class President, Daniel.
As the group of pranksters hide cryptic clues across campus for Daniel to find, Lily and Tag find themselves in close quarters. As the exes dodge Campus Safety guards, night owl teachers, a troop of freshmen, and even Daniel himself, new sparks fly. But old hurts and painful secrets refuse to be ignored. And with graduation on the horizon, Lily can only hope that breaking the rules will help mend her heart.
When I read The Summer of Broken Rules back in 2021, I fell absolutely in love with it and K. L. Walther’s writing. I featured What Happens After Midnight (and Maybe Meant To Be) in my Most Anticipated Reads of 2023 list because I couldn’t wait to finally get my hands on more of her books! So when I got the chance to delve in between some of my TBR arcs, I couldn’t ignore the happy feeling in my heart.
Lily Hopper has grown up at Ames, a boarding school on the Rhode Island coast. Her mother is a teacher there, and they’ve lived on-campus, not too far from the coast, for as long as she can remember. But sometimes Lily wonders if she missed out on the whole “high school experience” by being there and being a faculty child, or “fac brat”—that is, until she gets an invitation from The Jester, a ritual that happens in every Senior class, where a series of pranks are carried out. She’s excited to put her clean image behind her and take part, torpedoed once she realises that The Jester is none other than Taggart Swell, her ex-boyfriend.
Lily and Tag were so in love, so much so that she couldn’t ever imagine doing anything without him on the sidelines. But when his popularity blossomed, so did female attention. Not wanting to have to fight for him, Lily let him go, but she still has feelings, of course. And as The Jester arranges a team of pranksters—including friendly faces and close friends of Lily and Tag—it becomes evident that Tag’s feelings haven’t dwindled either. As they dodge moments of almost getting caught and old wounds being reopened, Lily and Tag find themselves taking a trip into the past and everything that went down. But when disaster strikes, Lily and Tag are thrown into trouble—but is it worth it just to find their way back to each other?
Overall, What Happens After Midnight was a romantic treasure, full of Swiftie gems and a trove of eloquent moments that made my heart fill with bejewelled joy. K. L. Walther has this enchanting way of making her characters relatable and giving us a romance (and dialogue) that feels genuine and raw. I loved how the story also sort-of tied in to The Summer of Broken Rules with Pravika being in both! Truthfully, this was one of the best books I’ve read all year and I’m already waiting to re-read it again for all the magic feels tenfold. Lily and Tag were a match made in heaven and I loved their story so, so much. I will write anything K. L. Walther publishes forever and always—nothing short of five stars!
About The Author
K.L. Walther was born and raised in the rolling hills of Bucks County, Pennsylvania surrounded by family, dogs, and books. Her childhood was spent traveling the northeastern seaboard to play ice hockey. She attended a boarding school in New Jersey and went on to earn a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia. She is happiest on the beach with a book, cheering for the New York Rangers, or enjoying a rom-com while digging into a big bowl of popcorn and M&Ms.