Midnighters #1: The Secret Hours by Scott Westerfeld
Publication: HarperTeen (2005), Paperback, 304 pages / ISBN 0060519533
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Horror, Teen
Find @ Amazon or Indiebound
Challenge: 666 Horror/Paranormal Book Challenge (#3), Read Your Own Books 2009 (#5)
Continuing on through Scott Westerfeld’s bibliography, this is the first book of a trilogy. I ended up really liking it!
Summary from Amazon:
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.
This was a quick, fast-paced read, which was nevertheless chock full of interesting characters and mysterious paranormal events. A lot is introduced in such a small amount of pages, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed or confused. I liked most of the characters, especially Rex (though that may be because he’s the nerdy bookish character with thick glasses. Hello!), and the fight scenes were exciting while still maintaining that “omg I don’t know what to do!” teenage confusion thing that one expect when reading books with teenage characters. There was even a little romance, and that was nice, too.
It’s got cliches abound, of course. A new person comes to town and she’s the super-special special person that saves everyone? Yeah, been done before. But I didn’t mind (after a while, at least) because Jessica is rather likable, even if she is anal about not being late. All the teenagers seemed like actual teenagers, albeit teenagers with special powers. They’re jealous and insecure and angry and it all really works! I think it might work even better than in Uglies and Peeps.
I liked the ending, too. it had enough closure to keep me happy until I can get to the next book, but it leaves enough fun stuff open to make me want to actually read that next book. I definitely look forward to getting the next two books.