The Secret Hour
by Scott Westerfeld
Jessica Day has just moved from Chicago to the small town of Bixby, Oklahoma. On her
first day at Bixby High School, she attracts the notice of three weird kids who
dress in goth clothing. They call themselves the Midnighters, and they have spotted
Jessica as one of their own. Even before she knows it herself, this normal, bright,
vivacious girl has a destiny in a strange, dark world known only by a handful of
Rex, Melissa, and Dess share a spooky secret. Every night at precisely midnight,
time stops in Bixby, Oklahoma. For one hour, the world is filled with an eerie blue
light and ancient, evil creatures stir: an hour that passes like an instant for the
rest of the world. Except for the Midnighters. The blue hour has opened up for them.
Not coincidentally, they have other powers as well. Rex is a seer who can spot
anyone and anything touched by the midnight hour; he reads the ancient lore left
behind by the seers of yore. Melissa is a mindcaster who can taste the thoughts and
feelings of everyone around her; she finds it hard to function in crowds, and cannot
bear to be touched. Dess is a polymath who specializes in crafting weapons to guard
against the shape-changing slithers and darklings that lurk in the blue time,
weapons based on the old ones' terror of steel and the number 13.
There is another Midnighter in town who doesn't hang out with this trio. Handsome,
acrobatic Jonathan Martinez could be Jessica's favorite, but he could also get her
into the most trouble. Meanwhile, this troubled, conflict-torn little group of teen
superheroes has to find out what Jessica's special talent is, and fast. Because the
darklings already seem to know...and they won't rest until they have destroyed her.
This book opens the Midnighters series, which continues in Touching
Darkness and Blue Noon. It is a promising first volume, to say the
least. It introduces a totally unique, knock-out spooky fantasy world and a group of
characters entangled in a complex web of motives and conflicts. Once you start
reading it, you won't want to quit. Texas-born Scott Westerfeld, the author of the
Uglies and Peeps series and other sci-fi/fantasy novels, is
married to Australian author Justine Larbalestier.
Recommended Age: 14+
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