The Secret Hour (Midnighters Series #1)

The Secret Hour (Midnighters Series #1)

by Scott Westerfeld


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This is the first book in New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld’s Midnighters series.

A few nights after Jessica Day arrives in Bixby, Oklahoma, she wakes up at midnight to find the entire world frozen. For one secret hour each night, the town belongs to the dark creatures that haunt the shadows. And only a small group of people—Jessica included—is free to move about then. They are The Midnighters.  

The Secret Hour is the first book in the Midnighters trilogy, from the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of the Uglies series.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060519537
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/02/2008
Series: Midnighters Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 217,612
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.12(h) x 0.61(d)
Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Scott Westerfeld is the author of ten books for young adults, including Peeps, The Last Days, and the Midnighters trilogy. He was born in Texas in 1963, is married to the Hugo-nominated writer Justine Larbalestier, and splits his time between New York and Sydney. His latest book is Extras, the fourth in the bestselling Uglies series.

Read an Excerpt

Midnighters #1: The Secret Hour

Chapter One

8:11 a.m.


The halls of Bixby High School were always hideously bright on the first day of school. Fluorescent lights buzzed overhead, their white honeycombed plastic shields newly cleaned of dead insect shapes. The freshly shined floors dazzled, glinting in the hard September sunlight that streamed in through the school's open front doors.

Rex Greene walked slowly, wondering how the students jostling past him could run into this place. His every step was a struggle, a fight against the grating radiance of Bixby High, against being trapped here for another year. For Rex summer vacation was a place to hide, and every year this day gave him the sinking feeling of having just been discovered, caught, pinned, like an escaping prisoner in a searchlight.

Rex squinted in the brightness and pushed up his glasses with one finger, wishing he could wear dark shades over their thick frames. One more layer between him and Bixby High School.

The same faces were all here. Timmy Hudson, who had beaten him up just about every day in fifth grade, passed by, not giving Rex a second glance. The surging crowd was full of old tormentors and classmates and childhood friends, but no one seemed to recognize him anymore. Rex pulled his long black coat around himself and clung to the row of lockers along the wall, waiting for the crowd to clear, wondering exactly when he had become invisible. And why. Maybe it was because the daylight world meant so little to him now.

He put his head down and edged toward class.

Then he saw the new girl.

She washis age, maybe a year younger. Her hair was deep red, and she was carrying a green book bag over one shoulder. Rex had never seen her before, and in a school as small as Bixby High, that was unusual enough. But novelty wasn't the strangest thing about her.

She was out of focus.

A faint blur clung to her face and hands, as if she were standing behind thick glass. The other faces in the crowded hall were clear in the bright sunlight, but hers wouldn't resolve no matter how hard he stared. She seemed to exist just out of the reach of focus, like music played from a copy of a copy of an old cassette tape.

Rex blinked, trying to clear his eyes, but the blurriness stayed with the girl, tracking her as she slipped further into the crowd. He abandoned his place by the wall and pushed his way after her.

That was a mistake. Now sixteen, he was a lot bigger, his dyed-black hair more obvious than ever, and his invisibility left him as he pushed purposefully through the crowd.

A shove came from behind, and Rex's balance twisted under him. More hands kept him reeling, four or five boys working together until he came to a crashing stop, his shoulder slamming into the row of lockers lining the wall.

"Out of the way, dork!" Rex felt a slap against the side of his face. He blinked as the world went blurry, the hall dissolving into a swirl of colors and moving blobs. The sickening sound of his glasses skittering along the floor reached his ears.

"Rex lost his spex!" came a voice. So Timmy Hudson did remember his name. Laughter trailed away down the hall.

Rex realized that his hands were out in front of him, feeling the air like a blind man's. He might as well be blind. Without his glasses, the world was a blender full of meaningless color.

The bell rang.

Rex slumped against the lockers, waiting for the hall to clear. He'd never catch up with the new girl now. Maybe he'd imagined her.

"Here," came a voice.

As he raised his eyes, Rex's mouth dropped open.

Without glasses Rex's weak eyes could see her perfectly. Behind her the hall was still a mess of blurred shapes, but her face stood out, clear and detailed. He noticed her green eyes now, flecked with gold in the sunlight.

"Your glasses," she said, holding them out. Even this close, the thick frames were still fuzzy, but he could see the girl's outstretched hand with crystal clarity. The Focus clung to her.

Finally willing himself to move, Rex closed his mouth and took the glasses. When he put them on, the rest of the world jumped into focus, and the girl blurred again. Just like the others always did.

"Thanks," he managed.

"That's okay." She smiled, shrugged, and looked around at the almost empty hall.

"I guess we're late now. I don't even know where I'm going."

Her accent sounded midwestern, crisper than Rex's Oklahoma drawl.

"No, that was the eight-fifteen bell," he explained. "The late bell's at eight-twenty. Where're you headed?"

"Room T-29." She held a schedule card tightly in one hand.

He pointed back at the doorway. "That's in the temps. Outside on the right. Those trailers you saw on the way in."

She looked outside with a frown. "Okay," she said hesitantly, like she'd never had class in a trailer before. "Well, I better get going."

He nodded. As she walked away, Rex pulled off his glasses again, and again she jumped into clarity as the rest of the world became a blur.

Rex finally allowed himself to believe it and smiled. Another one, and from somewhere beyond Bixby, Oklahoma.

Maybe this year was going to be different.

Rex saw the new girl a few more times before lunch.

She was already making friends. In a small school like Bixby, there was something exciting about a new student — people wanted to find out about her. Already the popular kids were staking a claim to her, gossiping about what they'd learned about her, trading on her friendship.

Rex knew that the rules of popularity wouldn't allow him near her again, but he hovered nearby, listening, using his invisibility. Not really invisible, of course, but just as good. In his black shirt and jeans, with his dyed-black hair, he could disappear into shadows and corners. There weren't that many students like Timmy Hudson at Bixby High. Most people were happy to ignore Rex and his friends.

Midnighters #1: The Secret Hour. Copyright (c) by Scott Westerfeld . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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The Secret Hour (Midnighters Series #1) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 398 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Jessica Day has just moved to Bixby, Oklahoma from Chicago with her family. Still trying to find her niche in the local highschool, she's noticed by a group of students who are very different from your average teens. Not to mention that her dreams at night are becoming very, very vivid--such as the fact that for one hour at midnight, time seems to literally stand still.

Such is the life of the Midnighters, a group of teens who were born at midnight and have the ability to see the "blue time", the twenty-fifth hour of the day where time stands still for everyone else. Each of the group has a special power, both in and out of the blue time--Rex is a Seer, Dess is a Polymath, Melissa is a Mindcaster, and Jonathan is an Acrobat.

Jess is, of course, skeptical at first that time is actually standing still, and that her new rag-tag group of friends has special powers. But soon unmistakeable proof arises that the arrival of Jessica Day in Bixby is causing change--the creatures of the blue time are becoming dangerous and seem to want her dead.

Jess needs to find out her own special power before something bad happens to the town and it's midnight inhabitants. As the group struggle to keep the night creatures away, it's up to Jess to discover which power she possesses that's making everyone so nervous.

I LOVED this book! A totally original concept, Scott Westerfeld has created a series with truly interesting characters and crystal-clear visualization. I can't wait to read the next book in the series, to see where the Midnighters go from here.

Definitely a recommended read!
Debbie-J-1970 More than 1 year ago
Yet another YA science-fantasy winner from Westerfeld, with appeal well beyond the target audience, if your reviewer is a fair guide. "Jessica Day moves into the small town of Bixby from Chicago, and although she hits it off with the "in" crowd, she also falls in with a bunch of weirdos who don't like the daylight, wear black a lot and are covered in metal jewelry. In the middle of the night she wakes up and discovers the world asleep with the exception of her weirdo chums and weird black slithery things..." I know, it sounds sort of hokey and comic-booky, but actually works pretty well. The kids are fun, the action is fast & furious, and the pages turn most satisfactorily. There's even a nice touch of moral ambiguity in the wrapup volume. The story is set in Bixby, Oklahoma, now a suburb of Tulsa. I grew up about an hour away, and the problem with Westerfeld's Bixby is, it doesn't much resemble the real eastern Oklahoma. Westerfeld has numerous references to desert and salt flats, but this part of Oklahoma is pretty well-watered -- the native vegetation is a scrub-oak & pine forest. This won't affect your enjoyment of the story, really, but I have no idea why Westerfeld used a setting that would fit better in west Texas or New Mexico. Curious, seemingly pointless, and annoying. All in all a fantastic read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started reading this book right after finishing the Twilight Saga (which completely took over my life). I think that Secret Hour would have been much better for me if I would have waited a little longer to start reading it. That being said, I did enjoy the book and have found that the second book in the trilogy, Touching Darkness, is even better than the first. So if you just get through Secret Hour, you will not be disappointed with what's to come.
Annibebe More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book because I love Scott Westerfeld's writing, and I was hoping that this series would be as good as other's of his that I have read. So far, it's not looking too good. The majority of the characters are unlikable and the plot is not fully fleshed out. I hope that Book 2 in the series provides a more robust plot-line and answers questions from this book.
hazeleyes994 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved reading The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld! It is so absorbing and full of suspense and action. I did a book report on this book, and nearly EVERYBODY in my class wanted to read it. Some of them did, and they thought it was awesome, too! This is a great book!
littlemonkey18 More than 1 year ago
This book is very suspenseful and sure enough kept me at the edge of my seat!! After reading this book u can't help but wonder what is going to happen next!! READ THIS BOOK!! Scott Westerfeld is a brilliant writer!! if u fell in love with uglies, pretties, specials and extras then u r sure to enjoy this series!!
Molly_Mo More than 1 year ago
The Midnighters; The Secret Hour In the first book of the Midnighters, the secret hour, we are introduced to a group of teenagers in Bixby, Oklahoma. They are the only ones that can move in the secret hour of midnight, the only humans any way. There are bad guys of course, the Slithers and the Darklings. Normally they leave the Midnighters alone to go about their business but with Jessica Day in town, the new Midnighter, the Darklings get increasingly active. Scott Westerfeld creates a world in which total opposites have to unite. Each Midnighter has a special ability to help them fight off the ancient creatures of the secret hour. When the Seer, the Polymath, the Acrobat, and the Mindcaster come together they are nearly unbeatable. Although working as a team is no walk in the park for the five Midnighters. Agreeing to disagree is usually the only thing they all agree on. If you plan to step into Scott Westerfeld's world of midnight, be prepared with stainless steel, thirteen letter words, and a love for adventure and teenage romance. This book keeps you on the edge of your seat from page one of the Secret Hour, through Touching Darkness, and to the last page of Blue Noon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
O love this book i read uglies pretties specials and extras i loved them so i started this series and it is awesome so far it is a great read for middle schoolers
The_Shadow412 More than 1 year ago
Jessica Day moves to Bixby, Oklahoma where time freezes at midnight. Only Midnighters can see the secret hour. Each of the Midnighters has certain powers-Rex is a Seer, Melissa is a Mindcaster, Jonathan is an Acrobat, and Dess is a Polymath. New girl Jess has no idea what her powers are but the darklings that hunt the secret hour want her dead because of it. Jess and her new friends try to find Jess's power before the darklings destroy her. THE SECRET HOUR is a great Scott Westerfeld book full of action, horror, friendship, and love. Can't wait to read the rest of the series to see what happens next.
shortfry More than 1 year ago
the book was good for what it was but not the best westerfeld book ever i definately liked the uglies series better. I would recomend it though I just hope the rest of the series is better but I will be reading the rest of the series.
Reads_a_lot More than 1 year ago
Midnighters was an excellent book, that definitely kept up your interest. While I can't say it was the best book I've ever read, it was still very, very good and most surely worth reading.
All-About-Dragons More than 1 year ago
When I first read the reviews on this book on amazon I was worried that it would be a bit too much of a horror story. Now that I have read it though, I either like horror books or it is not at all horror. This is a wonderful story about a girl who moves to a new town and discovers that she has a special power that lets her go into a secret hour of the day. I would recommend this story to anyone who likes fantasy stories that are a bit scary. For other books that have the same genre try the books that I have recommended on the left.
Chrissysc77 More than 1 year ago
i liked it. I love sci-fi and this was an interesting concept. The only thing i was disappointed in was that the characters werent fully developed. I didnt feel like they were described enough and fleshed out. I couldnt connect with them. Inspite of that, the story was good and fun to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The Blue Hour was really cool and kind of creepy, with all the frozen people and the darklings. Dess was my favorite character, but Jonathan had the coolest powers, even if they only worked at midnight. I liked how they couldmake weapons by just giving a clean peice of steel a thirteen letter name. As a writer, I'm very jealous that Scott Westerfeld thought of this story before me, but I'm not sure I could have done it justice. The characters and the scenery were very vivid, making it really easy to see what was happening with great detail. I would definitely read this book again, which is rare for me. This was an excellent book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
bold and creative! dont start if you dont have the time to read it all! you wont be able to put it down. literally. i read it in a day! and i read it again the next day!... great composition, and an amazing narration. it brings you right to the scene with its VIVID imagery. Im hoping for a movie! IT's a MUST READ!!! Westerfeld made the list of my favorites! DONT MISS OUT! im definitely going back for the next book of the series!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i am a huge fan of scott westerfeld. i started with the uglies series and every book since then has gotten better and better. this book seemed more fantasy than the uglies or peeps series but it was definatly as good as them if not better. it only took me a day to read it because i couldn't put it down. it was fast-paced, suspenseful, and addictive.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to admit I am a huge Scott westerfeld fan. He does it again with this beautifully written novel about young teenagers just trying to understand the midnight hour and its secerts. He has a wonderful way of writing. This novel is breath-taking, fast-paced with surprises around every corner, it is almost impossible to put it down!
jenreidreads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not as good as the Uglies trilogy, but an interesting premise. I'll read the sequels eventually, but they aren't a high priority right now.
Katharine_Ann on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book reminded me of why I love Scott Westerfeld's books! Once again he creates a unique world that is absolutely thrilling in its adventures and surreal nature. Right from the beginning I was intrigued by the main character, Jessica Day, and her move to the town of Bixby. The friendships between the other characters and the free spirit of Jonathan only drew me in further to the storyline and anxious to find out what would happen to them. The evil slithers in the novel felt real, and were seriously something that came out of nightmares! Westerfeld has really appealed to the darker side of the human mind with these creatures.My only critique of the novel is that the lore behind the midnight hour is never fully explained, simply that it is held within the mind of Rex. I would have loved to know more background knowledge of the midnighters, and I can only hope that it is more fully covered in the other novels in the series. I can't wait to read more and discover more secrets of the five midnighters! This book was fantastic to read, and I really couldn't put it down! I want to go find the next in the series right now! Once again Scott Westerfeld has proven that he's an extraordinary author.
nzf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Midnighters: The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfield as a first book in the series is the foundation that sets up the setting to the frozen world during the 25th hour. At first it is not always clear what role the midnighters play and what exactly they're contending with during the frozen hour world but as the plot begins to pick up the pace, the book ends. Hence leaves you with the desire to read the next volume in the series. I recommend this Science Fiction series for student who enjoy the genre and for its descriptive and developing characters and mysterious plot. Great for 7-10.
Tiffanylovescookies on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you were asked how many hours there are in a day, you would answer 24, but what if you were wrong? In Bixby, there are 25 hours in each day, but the 25th hour passes so fast, that nobody can see it. To them it is just a fast blink of light, except for five special people, who call themselves the midnighters. You might be thinking they are really lucky to have one full hour to themselves, but what if during this secret hour, there are strange creatures who are waiting to kill you, and watching your every move. Scott Westerfeld¿s book, Midnighters #1: The Secret Hour is a book guaranteed to keep your spine-tingling. Luckily, for the midnighters, these creatures never seem to bother them that much, that is, until Jessica Day arrives. Suddenly, everywhere she goes during the secret hour, there are creatures that want her dead. Creatures no one has seen before are coming outto get her. Her friends are trying to find out why this is happening, but they keep on coming to dead ends. Then one day, Jessica¿s friend Dess has a dangerous idea that might help them. Every midnighter has a special power, so if they find what Jessica¿s power is, then, they might know why the monsters are attacking her. All Jessica has to do is go to the bottom of the Snake Pit, right at midnight and her part of the work is done. It seems easy enough, but Snake Pit is filled with these creatures, and to make things even more complicated, she gets grounded. Will they find out in time, or was moving to Bixby the biggest mistake of her life? Scott Westerfeld¿s novel is sure to keep you reading until the book is finished. I find that this book may be confusing at times, but it is still very interesting. If you like a great science-fiction book with a twist of horror, then this is definitely the right book for you. The Secret Hour is a good book.
booksandbosox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The whole time I was reading, I was expecting more. Not as wonderful as I'd been led to believe - maybe I should have learned my lesson about hype after "Twilight". I was really torn about continuing the series - it was never all that compelling or fantastic but I know there are only two more books in the series so it seems stupid not to just finish it out. When all was said and done, the ending was pretty cool so I decided to forge ahead. Hopefully it was be a little more engaging from this point on.
sszatkowski on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a great book that I would reccomend to just about anyone. It was so unique that I couldn't stop reading it. It had so many twists and turns that it always kept me on my feet. It was a great book, and I'm really happy it continues through the series.
Runa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Scott Westerfeld comes up with a fascinating new world in his Midnighters series. It's a brilliant concept to begin with, and one that only Westerfeld could ever have come up with. The book begins with an ordinary girl, and as she learns of her new life in the "secret hour", so do the readers along with her, providing a unique and relatable point of view. While the first novel of the series sets up for an amazing plot to come, on its own, it's nothing special. The writing, particularly the descriptive portions, is at times sloppy and weak, and too much of the focus is put on Jessica (although you do get to know and love all of the other characters as well). Nevertheless, it's worth working your way through, if only for the fact that the next two books will blow your mind.Rating: 3.5/5
stinsol on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Horror fiction about a girl who discovers a dark secret about her new Oklahoma town. THe characters in this book are well developed and read like real teens. Horror fans will love the dark setting and gory creatures, but there is also enough romance in the plot to keep everyone interested.