Publisher's Note:  

Olivia, Bertucci, and Codman were the trio no one else in high school could quite figure out, an impenetrable triangle of friendship. Now they're graduating and about to start new lives away at college and without one another. Beyond their friendship, there's one thing they have in common: the Circle Cinema, a once-thriving old movie theater now reduced to a boarded up concrete box, condemned and about to be forgotten forever which is, as far as Olivia and Codman can tell, a lot like what's going to happen to them.

So in one last desperate effort to hold on to the secrets they share, Bertucci hatches a plan an experiment, really. He convinces Olivia and Codman to join him in spending their last night before graduation locked inside the cinema's concrete walls. None of them can open the box before sunrise. Over the course of the night, the trio is then forced to face one another, the events of the past year, and whatever is to come when the new day dawns.

Emily Franklin's Last Night at the Circle Cinema is the story of a friendship's end and moving rebirth.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Carolrhoda Lab

Last Night at the Circle Cinema

by Emily Franklin

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Overall Review:  

Bertucci has always been known for his elaborate pranks and adventures.  Whether it is riding every escalator in the town or spending a day feeding parking meters, his brilliant (but troubled) mind plans out every detail.  The night before graduation he ropes his two best friends, Livy and Codman, into one more grand scheme: spend the night in the town's abandoned movie theater.

Last Night at the Circle Cinema by Emily Franklin is a coming of age story told from the perspective of all characters.  Each chapter switches among Livy, Codman and Bertucci; letting the individual characters develop well.  

The entire story has the feel and story arc of a classic, black and white thriller movie with a healthy dose of suspense and an unknown tension among the characters driving the mystery.  It unfortunately falls short of the mark as the whole objective of the evening, while implied to be important, is obscure and leaves the reader scratching their heads throughout the story.  The majority of the story is told in flashbacks which, while they lend a good amount of depth and a little perspective, are disjointed and hard to keep straight. Stories are told without any sort of chronology and at times jump from past to present with no clear definition.  The surprise twist at the end was brilliantly executed and gave the story the poignancy that the reader had felt at the edges of the narrative. Some of the impact was lost, however, in confusion, as it seemed inconsistent with events and dialogue at the beginning of the book.

Overall, Last Night at the Circle Cinema is a good read with heaps of potential that, despite being well-written, just couldn't translate its cinematic style to the page.

Content Analysis:  

Language/Profanity:  20 religious exclamations; 24 mild obscenities; 1 religious profanity; 2 derogatory names; 20 scatalogical words; 13 anatomical terms; 1 offensive hand gesture; 19 F-Word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  Character slams shin against stair, mild bleeding; character cuts hand on broken plastic; a few references to terminally ill person; reference to the "Schrodingers Cat" experiment, character runs into counter; reference to ill person dying; adolescent character commits suicide (no details).

Sex/Nudity: Many references/implications of sexual activity; several instances of hugging and hand holding; a few joking references to pornography ("food porn"); boy references "blowjob"; girl walks in on shirtless boy; many references to kissing, both cheek and mouth; girl and boys dance closely.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Mental Illness, death of a parent, growing up, terminal illness, relationships (friendship, physical, emotional), suicide.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Many references to drinking; an alcoholic parent that is spoken of but never seen; reference to adults smoking.

Reviewed By Amberle
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