Midnight Hour Encores Critical Context - Essay

Bruce Brooks

Critical Context

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Bruce Brooks’s first novel, The Moves Make the Man (1984), was named a Newbery Honor Book for its portrayal of two sensitive young adults coping with racial prejudice and troubled families. Jerome Foxworthy, Brooks’s narrator, became the prototype for the protagonists that have become a hallmark of his fiction: teenagers who are wise beyond their years. Midnight Hour Encores, an American Library Association (ALA) Best Book for Young Adults, continued Brooks’s string of award-winning books that have established him as one of the major figures in young adult literature. Although music rather than sports provides the focus of the book, Sibilance Spooner, like Jerome Foxworthy, is a multifaceted character who offers layers of complexity for class discussion. Since the publication of Midnight Hour Encores, Brooks has published the Newbery Honor Book What Hearts (1992), which deals with divorce and a child’s efforts to fit into a new family, and his other books have appeared numerous times on the ALA Best Books for Young Adults lists. His multidimensional characters, keen ear for the adolescent voice, and use of challenging themes have earned him a large audience of young adult readers. In addition, Brooks has gained a reputation for eloquent and stylish writing that has garnered praise from critics, readers, and other professional writers.