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The Secret Hour (Midnighters #1) Paperback – March 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-10–Moving when you're in high school is difficult enough, especially when your parents can't seem to hold their own lives together and your younger sister is being more obnoxious than usual. However, for 15-year-old Jessica Day, these concerns pale when bizarre things start to happen and she discovers that she now has unwanted magical powers. Part science fiction, part horror story, this novel is the first in a series about the midnighters, a select group of individuals whose birth at the stroke of midnight gives them the special ability to move about in a mysterious 25th hour. As Jessica takes her place among these extraordinary teens, she must battle the increasingly dangerous slithers and other darklings that have suddenly become more violent and aggressive. The story is exciting and the writing compelling. Gaps in the account will not bother readers, who will be totally absorbed by the paranormal elements as well as the intriguing characters, and who will be eagerly awaiting the next book.–Sharon Grover, Arlington County Department of Libraries, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'Kept me reading way past midnight!' Garth Nix 'Fast-paced and spooky - a good read for the dark hours' Ursula K. Le Guin 'Intriguing and provocative. The sequels will be worth waiting for.' Locus --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; Reprint edition (January 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060519533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060519537
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Scott Westerfeld's teen novels include the Uglies series, the Leviathan and Midnighters trilogies, and the so-called "NYC Trilogy": So Yesterday, Peeps, and The Last Days. Scott was born in Texas, and alternates summers between Sydney, Australia, and New York City. His next book, Afterworlds, comes out September 23, 2014.

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#63 in Books > Teens
#63 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Koppel on March 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Jessica has just moved to the small town of Bixby after living in Chicago. But other than size, temperature, and scenery, she also discovers something else very different about the town. Every day at midnight the rest of the world freezes but she, and several other kids, get an extra hour. Unfortunately other, older and scarier, things also inhabit this time.

Jessica meets the other kids; Midnighters as they call themselves. Each has a special talent related to the secret hour. Jessica must have a talent but hers is not obvious. Nor is Jessica sensitive to light in the same way as the others. To make matters worse, the dark things seem to want her dead. She must be a threat to them so it becomes important to figure out just what her special talent is and it could be dangerous.

This is a very nice start to a series. I don't know how long they plan to go with this but it is off to a fast start. Only one part bothered me. Midnight is the true midnight, not one artificially created by time-zones, daylight savings, or other man-made definitions. That is fine. But apparently the arbitrary man-made definitions of latitude and longitude do have an effect. I found that to be inconsistent. Otherwise, the book was quite good and really kept me guessing. There is still plenty to learn about the secret hour and I look forward to the next volume.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Harris on November 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book as an advanced copy(I work at a bookstore), and thought it seemed kind of interesting, but it took me about 4-5 months after I had it to pick it up. As soon as I picked it up though I could not put it down. I read it in 2 nights and could not fall asleep easily either of those nights. It is riveting and keeps you on the edge of your seat, or in some cases bed. Learning what Jessica's power is, and the evil that all the other midnighters have to face is amazing. This is a book that not to many people have read I believe and it should be up there(as well as Westerfeld's other series Uglies/Pretties/Specials), with the Artemis Fowl series and the Series of Unfortunate Events as it is as good as if not better than those other two.

This was a great book, as is the second book, learning how words can empower metal objects in this 25th hour where no one else put the ancient evil's and these few people who were all born at the stroke of midnight have to cope with each other, and how the evils fear the power the Jessica has which is devastating to their livelyhood. You HAVE to read this book, and the whole series.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
Being born at midnight changed the rest of her life more than she could've ever imagined. Jessica Day, who recently moved to Bixby, Oklahoma, started having weird "dreams" when she came. Her first one happened when she woke up at the stroke of midnight and everything was frozen still. She ventures outside and the raindrops looked like diamonds in the sky until she touched it and they fell. She felt as if this experience was magical, but didn't know whether it was a dream or reality. The thing that let her know it was real was when she woke up and her sweatshirt that she had been wearing was soaking wet. The next day at school she found out that there were three others in her school that had this power to: Rex, Dess, and Melissa. And they had found out that she had because they had felt someone else while they were venturing around. They called themselves the midnighters. The time that took place during midnight was called blue time and it was an hour long that time was stopped and only people who were born at midnight could experience it. But also in blue time there were things that the midnighters had to overcome such as darklings and slithers. While on a trip in midnight she see's Jonathan, a boy from he school, and he tells her that he is a midnighter too and that the others don't really like him. In the end, they all had to come together and help Jessica find her power, which is something that each of them has, and she finds out that she is the flame bringer and the one who beings new technology to the blue time which scares the slithers and darklings away. I would recommend this book to middle school students who enjoy reading sci-fi genre books with a everyday, relatable, twist to them.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on May 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"Melissa didn't know exactly what to think of the new girl. Below her shifting emotions was an unexpected flavor, a sharp metal taste, like a coin pressed against the tip of Melissa's tongue. The scent of unbridled energy was everywhere, but maybe that had just been the storm. And of course, someone new was always full of unfamiliar flavors, unexpected faculties. Each of Melissa's friends felt different to her, after all. But Jessica Day felt more than different."
Jessica thought she was just like any other teenager when her family moved from suburban Chicago to Bixby, Oklahoma. She was restless, lonely, dissatisfied and trying to "adjust." Her ambitious mother was distracted with work and her father was a boring stay-at-home dad. But from her first day at Bixby High she sensed that there was something definitely "different" afoot. She knew that she was being seen as more than the new kid in town and that there was something special about her.
Rex, Melissa, Dess and Jonathan are Midnighters. Each has a special power that helps them through the blue, frozen hour of midnight in Bixby. Rex is the historian, Melissa is highly psychic, Dess is a math genius and Jonathan can defy gravity. Together they help protect the little town from the slithers and darklings who come during the secret hour. Now that they have met Jessica they must figure out why the dark forces are bent on killing her and, in the end, what kind of power this Jessica has.
Put all these ingredients together, plus a growing romance between Jessica and Jonathan, and you have a fast-paced, creative fantasy as only Scott Westerfeld can write. Picture Buffy meeting superheroes, and you get the idea of the pace and direction of this adventure.
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