In the Middle of the Night

In the Middle of the Night

4.3 6
by Robert Cormier

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Eight years before Denny Colbert was born, his father was involved in a tragic accident that killed 22 children. Now Denny is 16, and all he wants is to be like other kids his age. But he isn't allowed to answer the telephone or have a driver's license, and his family is constantly moving from town to town—all because people can't forget what happened long ago

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Eight years before Denny Colbert was born, his father was involved in a tragic accident that killed 22 children. Now Denny is 16, and all he wants is to be like other kids his age. But he isn't allowed to answer the telephone or have a driver's license, and his family is constantly moving from town to town—all because people can't forget what happened long ago.

When Denny defies his parents one afternoon and answers the telephone, he finds himself drawn into a plot for revenge which may prove deadly.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
We All Fall Down

An ALA Best Book for Young Adults

"Again, the inimitable Cormier luridly explores the fouler corners of our spiritual attics." — Kirkus Reviews, Pointer

"[We All Fall Down] is find a devoted following among the kids themselves, who will recognize and embrace the authenticity of the achingly awful adolescent world that Cormier has created."

— School Library Journal, Starred

Tunes for Bears to Dance To

", short, and to the will not be easily forgotten." — School Library Journal

"In the classic Cormier fashion, the conclusion is unexpected...a thought-provoking story." — Kirkus Reviews

"Suspenseful storytelling."

— Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Cormier's a compelling storyteller, and the pace is inexorable." — Booklist

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A psychotic mystery caller threatens a teenage boy's family. In a starred review, PW praised "the masterful crafting of the book's intricate plot and surprise ending." Ages 12-up.
School Library Journal
Gr 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
Jeanne Triner
Almost 25 years ago, on Halloween, Denny's father was an usher at a theater that collapsed, killing 22 children and injuring others. Although he was absolved of any guilt, his family has continued to be harassed by those needing someone to blame. Sixteen-year-old Denny has been forced to lead a sheltered life, moving often, making no friends, even forbidden to answer the phone. In the tragedy's twenty-fifth anniversary year, Denny marshals the strength to rebel when he finds himself engaged in a suspenseful, sensual telephone game with a "victim" bent on revenge. Once again, Cormier explores the underside of human emotions: hatred, guilt, thirst for revenge. From the first page, readers will be caught up in the story as Denny is dragged closer and closer to apparent doom at the hands of someone too sick for Denny to defend himself against. The ending lacks resolution, leaving Denny with an obsession he might never escape and his father struggling with what is clearly unjustified guilt--exactly the kind of ending Cormier fans have come to expect.

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 6.88(h) x 0.50(d)
790L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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In the Middle of the Night 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read the book ¿In the Middle of the Night¿ by Robert Cormier. This is one thrilling, full of action and mystery, novel with many twists and turns. It's a definite page-turner that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat! It all started exactly twenty-five years ago on Halloween night. The night that John Colbert was assisting in the Globe Theater for a show, is the time he caused the dreadful tragic to occur, which completely flipped John¿s life downward. His life from that miserable and never forgotten night would never have been the same. John was only in his teenage years, sixteen years old, when he was blamed for the death of twenty-two children. Newspapers with the horrid tragic filled the air as families with dead children cried in the deepest depths of despair! As some, such as a mysterious person (Is she even alive?) Lulu, began to plot revenge on their murderer. Their murderer- John Colbert. The fact that John would have to live with the tragic the rest of his life was lodged within him like a block of ice that would never melt. Throughout John¿s life, he receives an unbelievable amount of harassment. Bomb threats¿Hate mail¿and mostly horrible phone calls at night. Poor Denny, John¿s son, has to live with his Dad¿s tragic too. He¿s forbidden answering the phone. He can¿t even act like a normal teenager! Will Denny survive this? The 25th anniversary, known to be the worst year for the family, approaches and the phone starts ringing incredibly at night and after school. Who could be calling for all these years? Denny¿s mind ponders. Then, it arrives, the afternoon when Denny¿s curiosity and temptation to answer the phone puts him into a suspenseful, sensual telephone game with a 'victim' bent on revenge. The calls begin to get very tense and heart pumping as they lead him to a situation leaving his life hanging by a thread! John Colbert¿s concern for Denny¿s safety is an ample because it will be the 25th Halloween and he, too, was sixteen at the time of the tragic. But why is Denny¿s father so determined that they are not going to disconnect the phone and they are not going to move out? For years, he has suffered from harassment and vigorous regret. When news reporters question John, his simple constant response is ¿No Comment¿ which stands out in articles read by irrational victims. What will Denny face this Halloween? Who is haunting John¿s family? This book is a suspenseful, powerful exploration of accusation and guilt. I greatly recommend this thrilling mystery novel to you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Im going into 6th grade, and im pretty smart for an eleven year old. Although this book was over my reading level, I still enjoyed it very much and understood it. These are the exact type of books I like... Freaky, Scary, Things that probably wouldn't happen in real life. This was the first book I read of Robert Cormier's And Im on this site writing down other books of his for me to buy. :) I already have five! :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
When i first began to read this book, i was very confused. Since it switches from character to character, you have to pay attention. After a few chapters you begin to understand the story, and really get into it. The ending is OK, but not too much of a suprise. All in all, this is a good book for jr. high school students.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed In the Middle of the Night.It held you at the edge of your seat and worried about the main character,Denny and his relationship with Lulu, a mysterious caller on his phone. I would recomend this book very much for young adults.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a good book! People need to read this!!