Midnighters #1: The Secret Hour
"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. Not only would this book translate beautifully into a TV series, it could also succeed, with the right art work, as a graphic novel. Readers will be fully tantalized waiting for the next two installments of this trilogy.
Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts on October 18, 2011