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In the Middle of the Night Mass Market Paperback – August 11, 1997


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf; Reprint edition (August 11, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440226864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440226864
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #916,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sixteen-year-old Denny wonders if his family will ever recover from the tragedy that predates his own birth: 22 children were killed in an accident at the movie theater where his then-teenage father worked. Publicly blamed although legally exonerated, Denny's father still receives hate mail and threatening calls; now that the 25th anniversary of the accident is nearing, Denny's parents step up their efforts to avoid reporters and curious strangers. But the seductive voice of an anonymous phone caller lures Denny out of isolation. Eager to meet the caller face to face, the teen enters into a dangerous game of cat and mouse, eventually landing in a situation as horrific as the one his father experienced years ago. One of the eeriest of Cormier's thrillers, this account of vengeance and obsession provides the brand of suspense that has earned him so many fans. Although the bizarre qualities of the psychotic mystery caller are, perhaps, overdrawn, most characters are convincingly and enticingly complex. Ultimately, the masterful crafting of the book's intricate plot and surprise ending more than make up for a few hard-to-swallow gimmicks. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up?When a balcony collapsed during a special magic show in a rundown, neighborhood movie theater, 22 disadvantaged children died. Although he was never charged with any wrongdoing, John Paul Colbert, who was 16 at the time, was working as an usher and accidentally caused a fire that contributed to the tragedy. He resolutely refused to comment on what happened even after the theater's owner committed suicide and the public clamored for someone to be held responsible. Many of the victims' relatives blamed John Paul for the incident and tormented him into adulthood. Years later, his son Denny, now 16, begins to receive the same harassing phone calls. Resentful of his father's long passivity, Denny resolves not to follow in the man's footsteps. Intersecting plot lines rush together in an exciting climax that reveals the relationships between some key characters. Parallel in plot elements and themes to Cormier's previous YA titles, especially We All Fall Down (Dell, 1993) and Tunes for Bears to Dance to (Delacorte, 1992), this book seems more accessible, especially to horror/mystery fans. While grim and terrifying in some respects, this is not, in toto, a bleak novel. Its style is reminiscent of Jay Bennett's, with fairly long passages of dialogue that are heavy with foreshadowing. Unresolved details detract only slightly from the power of the prose to address the painful process of maturing and of beginning to understand and accept adult roles. Readers experience several time shifts and must discern the identity of several narrative voices while grappling with complex themes concerning tragedy, guilt, responsibility, and expiation. YAs willing to invest some intellectual effort will be amply rewarded by this sophisticated psychological thriller.?Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Jr. High School, Iowa City, IA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I would recommend this book for grades 7-12.
Ashleigh S.
I feel it could have been a much better book if the author had taken more time to "resolve" the book.
Risa W.
This edge of your seat thriller will leave you looking over your shoulder, everywhere you go!
Savanna Willis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 6, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Summary:
On Halloween, eight years before Denny Colbert was born, his father was involved in a tragic accident at a Halloween show that killed twenty-two children. His father was blamed for the cause of the accident because he was the one that started the fire. Although it has been awhile since the accident, some have not yet forgotten about it.
Phone calls start every October when the anniversary of the accident is near. Year after year, the Colbert's receive phone calls late at the night. Mr. Colbert simply just picks the phone up, listens calmly to the angry voice on the other end for several minutes, and then hangs up. Because of these phone calls, Denny isn't allowed to answer the phone-ever. But now he is 16 now and just wants to be like other kids, so he disobeys his parents and answers one of the phone calls. Denny is surprised when he hears what is on the other end of the phone. He is drawn into a deadly relationship with the mystery caller who has haunted his family for years.
Recommendations:
I thought that this book was very good. It wasn't the best book I have ever read, but it was worth while to read. The beginning of the book was slow but by the end it kept me on the edge of my seat. This book will teach you a very good lesson, which was to always listen to your parents. If you like mysteries, adventure, horror, drama, and suspense you should read this book. I don't recmomend that kids under 10 read this book. It had some faul words in it and mature situations. If you are looking for a good scare...go out to the library and get this book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Savanna Willis on May 17, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This edge of your seat thriller will leave you looking over your shoulder, everywhere you go! A young man named Denny Colbert is the main character of this tale. Twenty-five years prior to the time of the story John, Denny's father, was involved in a tragic accident on Halloween night leaving twenty-two people dead. Every night, around Halloween, John receives some very disturbing phone calls. For this reason Denny was, and still is, not allowed to answer the phone, ever. When this rule is broken Denny suddenly becomes the man on the run, or does he?
This book is a book for anyone who loves suspenseful plots and twists of fate. In the Middle of the Night is a book that I would recommend to those who love to read, and for those who don't, I doubly recommend this book. You won't be able to put it down. In the Middle of the Night was, by far, one of Robert Cormier's best work
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 7, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
` The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first, unlike, say a brain surgeon. You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping smile.' These are the famous words by the author Robert Cormier.

In his book In The Middle Of The Night he has it right. It is filled with twists and turns that are suspense- filled. The book is about a boy named Danny who could never answer the phone because of an incident that happened in his father's past. Someone in the world can't forget what happened and wants revenge. Now, Danny being 16 has the guts to answer the phone. The effect for answering the phone is that Danny has to face a lot of challenges. The theme of this book was that you shouldn't be afraid of new things and that you should be brave no matter what.

Robert Cormier, born in 1925 in Leominster, Massachusetts, was influenced by one of his teachers who told him he was a writer and he believed that. I believe that Robert Cormier wrote In The Middle Of The Night because of stuff that teens experience nowadays. He also wanted to teach something valuable and moral.

The quote ` The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first, unlike, say a brain surgeon. You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping smile.' expresses a lot of rich information. It means that you should keep on trying no matter if it doesn't come perfect the first time. It also means to not be afraid to try new things. It takes time to find out the right word or sentence, but in the end it comes out worth while.

After I read the book In The Middle Of The Night, I figured anyone would enjoy the book, but mostly teens who have a high level in reading and those who like action books with a lot of mystery in them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ROGER L. FOREMAN on June 24, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am a huge Cormier fan. I think _After the First Death_ is perhaps the most accessible book for high school readers willing to apply some psychological chops to a novel--small "b" brilliant. _The Chocolate War_ and _I am the cheese_ are both spectacular studies in character, peer pressure, self-worth, and independence, both with compelling prose, elements of surprise, and steady plot progression.

_In the Middle of the Night_ is a just step down from those three titles. Cormier seems like he is trying to make a complicated story out of a somewhat simple one, rather than making an even more complicated story out an already complex one (like in the other three titles). It didn't work as much for me. He could have done much more to develop the relationship between Denny and his father, which could have led to some very cool stuff toward the end. Denny's character didn't seem to have the depth of Adam Farmer, Jerry Renault, or Ben Marchand (characters in his other novels). Signature touches of surprise, even with subtle foreshadowing, and very credible dialogue make the novel still a good read. It just doesn't have the depth of his other great novels.

I'd hate to have a kid read this book first and not read another because it just isn't all that compelling. Read one of those other three first!
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