Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Sixteen-year-old Sibilance T. Spooner, the narrator of Midnight Hour Encores, considers herself a self-made young woman, even having chosen her own name. A musical prodigy whose talent and hard work has made her one of the world’s greatest cellists, she has spent most of her life with Taxi, her unconventional father who publishes an environmental newsletter from their Washington, D.C., home. Although Taxi has always told Sibilance that he will take her to see her mother in San Francisco whenever she wants to go, Sib has never shown much interest in the woman she last saw on January 1, 1970, when she was twenty hours old.

At sixteen, having tested out of her senior year of high school and ready to attend the Juilliard School of Music in the fall, Sib finally tells Taxi that she wants to see her mother. Sib’s real reason for wanting to go to San Francisco, however, involves an audition at the Phrygian Institute, a prestigious music school, that she has secretly arranged for herself. If she is successful in the audition, she hopes to study under Professor Dzyga, a brilliant cellist who has defected from the Soviet Union and whose music Sib knows only from a few recordings that she has painstakingly hunted down.

Taxi uses their cross-country trip in an old, green Volkswagen bus to try to teach Sibilance about the 1960’s, the hippie lifestyle, and her mother. Sib, however, is sarcastic during the planning phase for the trip, rejects...

(The entire section is 544 words.)


(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Midnight Hour Encores is structured around the cross-country journey. Part of Sib's dilemma at the end of the novel involves which...

(The entire section is 869 words.)

Literary Qualities

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

As one might expect in a novel told from the first-person point of view of a sixteen-year-old cello prodigy, much of Midnight Hour...

(The entire section is 777 words.)

Social Sensitivity

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Midnight Hour Encores develops both strong male and female characters in nontraditional roles. Sib's father, for example, takes on the...

(The entire section is 225 words.)

Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. How does Taxi's description of Connie and their life together differ from her version of the same events? Were you surprised to find...

(The entire section is 367 words.)

Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. On their journey to San Francisco, Taxi and Sib work together to improvise a musical piece that reflects the preoccupations of the 1960s....

(The entire section is 310 words.)

Related Titles / Adaptations

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Although Brooks has written no other books directly about the same characters or setting as in Midnight Hour Encores, nor any others...

(The entire section is 84 words.)

For Further Reference

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Brooks, Bruce. "Bruce Brooks." In Sixth Book of Junior Authors and Illustrators. Edited by Sally Holmes Holtze. New York: Wilson,...

(The entire section is 318 words.)