The Night Children [NOOK Book]


Inside the Castertown MegaMall, the biggest mall in the world, live the night children--runaways, abandoned kids, kids who got lost and were never found. They only come out at night, after all the shoppers are gone.

When thirteen-year-old Jule Devereaux visits the mall after the mysterious disappearance of her aunt, she becomes a pawn in the war between two gangs of night children: the Castertown Crazies, led by the stalwart Tick Stiles, and the Dingos, whose leader is the batty...

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The Night Children

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Inside the Castertown MegaMall, the biggest mall in the world, live the night children--runaways, abandoned kids, kids who got lost and were never found. They only come out at night, after all the shoppers are gone.

When thirteen-year-old Jule Devereaux visits the mall after the mysterious disappearance of her aunt, she becomes a pawn in the war between two gangs of night children: the Castertown Crazies, led by the stalwart Tick Stiles, and the Dingos, whose leader is the batty Burt Arno. What the night children don't realize is that the megalomaniacal owner of the MegaMall, billionaire Amos Zozz, knows all about them. To him, they are vermin--"rats" living in his beautiful mall--and he has plans to exterminate them. Julie, Tick, and Burt must join forces if they want to survive.…

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Abigail Gill
The Night Children is a pleasure and a thrill to read. I liked it for several reasons, most of all for its characters, which included teenage gangs and their diverse leaders, a loner, his ostentatious mother, and a grotesquely disfigured man, whose twisted past affects everyone in his controlled world. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fiction with hidden twists and a plot that explores one man's conspiracy for revenge. Reviewer: Abigail Gill, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Kim Carter
When Jule Devereaux hides on the Whirly Fun Ride at the Castertown MegaMall, she has no idea she will soon be in the middle of an ongoing power struggle between the Castertown Crazies and the Dingos, two of the many bands of children who live hidden in the MegaMall. Separated from their parents, the children are strays, living below the radar of the Zozzco Security, run by mall owner Amos Zozz and his ambitious daughter, Isabella. With occasional help from Lance the Loner, the oldest and wisest of the MegaMall's inhabitants, Tick Stiles leads the Castertown Crazies, trying above all to keep them safe. But Burt Arno, leader of the Dingos, does not care how large the MegaMall is; he wants the Crazies' territory. When the war between the Crazies and the Dingos draws the attention of Security, Amos Zozz decides the time has come to launch Phase Two of his plan to cage the children and control the adults through MegaMalls in every community. This modern day riff on Richard Peck's Secrets of the Shopping Mall (Delacorte, 1979/VOYA December 1979) takes the ubiquity of cookie-cutter American malls to the extreme, offering nonstop action, ss la Lemony Snicket meets Christopher Pike. Main characters are exaggerated archetypes, countered by faceless and nameless anonymous masses of hapless and helpless adults hypnotized by billionaire sociopath Zozz's promises of plenty. Young readers will appreciate the action and suspense as well as the camaraderie of the MegaMall's young inhabitants and their ability to thrive without adults. Reviewer: Kim Carter
KLIATT - Myrna Marler
In this novel, gangs of children and teenagers secretly live in a giant mall that resembles, oh, say, Mall of America, a giant complex of consumerism that has sprung up in the middle of nowhere that is run by an evil, ugly, crippled, reclusive old man who hates children (think Howard Hughes). Surrounded by banks of security cameras, he watches the lives of these children play out as they scramble for food and shelter at night and hide from shoppers during the day. All the children have been mysteriously abandoned at the mall. No parents are looking for them, which it turns out is the result of vats of tranquilizers dumped into the drinking water. At any rate, the old man has an evil plan to cage all these children and make them consumer attractions in malls all over America. He is foiled in the end by the heroic machinations of his own rejected grandson. Perhaps if a reader is a science fiction fan, the plot would seem less improbable. The theme seems to be an examination and condemnation of America's rampant consumerism, which comes before all other considerations such as kindness and compassion. None of the characters really live, though; they are all stick figures more captive to the author's plot than to an old man's evil plan. Reviewer: Myrna Marler
Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
Jule Devereaux is locked in a car at the top of the WhirlyFunRide in the MegaMall. It is night and all the people are gone, except for the gangs of forgotten and lost children who live at the mall and come out at night. Children live in tribes in various sections of the Mall. Jule is captured by a tribe with nefarious intentions. When she is rescued by Tick and the Crazies tribe, she joins them. Mysterious Lance the Loner, who has unusual connections, appears at various times of trouble. The Mall is ruled behind the scenes by billionaire, Amos Zozz, who observes everything from a room filled with monitors. He wears a golden mask when he appears before his workers. His daughter, Isabella, serves as his public persona. Driven by childhood humiliation, Amos Zozz uses human greed as a means to exact revenge. Will he finally trap the children and humanity? As the narration moves between various characters, there is much repetition. Jule and Tick, who seem to be the main characters, are sidelined in the final scene, as the real hero emerges. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman
School Library Journal

Gr 4-7

Jule's parents have been missing for 10 years and, most recently, the girl's aunt has disappeared. Then Jule finds herself left behind after the MegaMall closes for the day. She is absorbed into one of the competing tribes of children who live there, scavenging for their subsistence needs. Jule soon learns that virtually all of their parents have disappeared. As the plot unfolds, readers are introduced to the mastermind of the mall. A man whose face was so disfigured by his peers as a child that he keeps it hidden, he has pledged revenge on all children. This futuristic book has a great premise, but fails in its execution. The characters are two-dimensional, with the villain drawn as almost a cartoon caricature. The repetition of "Ohhh, nooooooo," although intended to reveal the shallow, controlled thoughts of adults in custody, instead comes off as tedious and uninspired. The rotation of character perspectives through the different chapters is difficult to follow. This book cannot hold a candle to Jeanne DuPrau's "Books of Ember" (Random) or Anthony Horowitz's "The Gatekeepers" series (Scholastic).-Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL

From the Publisher

The Night Children, which follows in the vein of Reed's 2005 Alex Award-winner Thinner Than Thou, is a creepy page-turner delivering biting cultural commentary…. Reed brings her story to a rousing finish that will keep young readers riveted.”—Chicago Sun-Times

“Kit Reed’s work freaks me out.”—Daniel Handler, Official Representative of Lemony Snicket

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429950176
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • File size: 204 KB

Meet the Author

KIT REED is the author of the Alex Award-winning Thinner Than Thou and many other novels. Reed has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award and collections of her short fiction have been finalists for the James W. Tiptree Award. She lives in Middletown, Connecticut where she is Resident Writer at Wesleyan University. The Night Children is her first book for young readers.

Kit Reed is the author of the Alex Award-winning Thinner Than Thou and many other novels, including The Night Children, her first young adult work. Reed has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award and has been a James W. Tiptree Award finalist. Kit Reed lives in Middletown, CT, where she is Resident Writer at Wesleyan University.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

When you walk into the mall you expect to come out at the end of the day.

You expect to come out, at least, but it's midnight and Jule Devereaux is locked in a car at the top of the gorgeous WhirlyFunRide, high above the sprawling Castertown MegaMall. She can pound on her glassy capsule and howl at top volume, and nobody will hear. Jule is used to getting what she wants, and what she wants more than anything right now is to get out, but she's trapped.

It is past midnight. The last shopper left hours ago.

She's alone in the biggest mall in the world.

The capsule Jule is riding in is stalled at the top of the great Ferris wheel, the highest point on the astonishing WhirlyFunRide. The world- famous ride is the crown jewel in the amusement plaza of the gigantic MegaMall.

Ordinary people from all over the world save up all their lives to come to the gleaming expanse of galleries and courtyards and domes that lights up the prairie outside Castertown. They'll borrow money or sell their houses if they have to, so they can afford to land near the airport hotel and spend a week shopping at the MegaMall. They're willing to stand in line for hours, just to take this ride.

Now, rich people can come to the MegaMall whenever they feel like it and spend as much as they want- sheiks, maharajahs, billionaires- but there's one thing everybody has to do. Even presidents and kings stand in line for the WhirlyFunRide.

Tonight plain old Jule Devereaux from Castertown Junior High has it all to herself.

She should have heeded the last call, but Jule has always been hardheaded. Now the glassy car she is riding in sways in place. It stopped for the night this close to the dome.

The monumental WhirlyFunRide is the glowing heart of the MegaMall, but it is her prison now.

Two hours ago there were gazillion shoppers swirling in the maze of marble corridors; there were thousands eating in the countless food courts of the MegaMall, but the place is still and empty now. Except for work lights twinkling far, far below, even the amusement plaza is dark.

Nobody knows Jule is here. She lost her cell phone, which is why she and Aunt Christy had the fight. Worse yet, there's nobody left at home that she can call. Where most kids have mothers and fathers, Jule lives with her aunt, and now Aunt Christy is gone.

Oh, she used to have a mother and father just like everybody else, but she lost them. Unless somebody came and took them away. Ten years later, she still doesn't know what happened to them. One night when she was very small she heard shouting outside. People slamming car doors. She has no idea what happened next. When she came downstairs next morning Aunt Christy was at the kitchen table, trying to pretend she wasn't crying. Mom and Dad were gone.

Now Aunt Christy is gone. They had a big fight last Sunday. When she came downstairs Monday morning the house was dead empty. It scared her sick.

She didn't even leave a note. Jule could have phoned the police. She started to, but given what happened after her parents vanished, she hung up before the phone began to ring.

She's seen what happens to kids with nobody to take care of them. The Town Council sends them to the State Home. They would have taken her, if Aunt Christy hadn't promised to take care of her. The Town Council doesn't want anything to go wrong in Castertown, and they're quick to scoop up complainers and people who don't belong. With mighty Zozzco running the Town Council, everything in Castertown runs very smoothly. Thanks to Zozzco, the mayor keeps reminding them, everybody's happy and nobody's poor. If the police find out Jule is alone, they'll send the black car for her. There is no place in Castertown for orphans, which is what Jule is.

Or thinks she is. She doesn't know.

It still hurts to think about. What happened to them, anyway? Where is Aunt Christy now? Did she go out looking for them or was she taken? Jule doesn't know.

She made it through the first couple of days alone OK, but school's out, so she hasn't talked to anybody since Sunday night. Today the silence and loneliness got to her and she came to the mall. Just walking in her favorite entrance made her feel better, even though she doesn't have much to spend. She came in humming the Zozzco jingle kids in Castertown grow up on: "Spring and summer, winter, fall, cool kids shop at the MegaMall." She's been out here so many times that the MegaMall is like home to her, and the WhirlyFunRide?

It's better than home.

The combination thrill ride, roller coaster and gigantic Ferris wheel sends glossy cars rushing so high that they zip down the water chute at tremendous speeds. Then the sleek glass capsules hurtle around curves and up steep rises and more!

There are so many curves and loops in the Whirly- FunRide that you can't tell whether you're up or down. Near the end of the ride your car clicks into a slot on the enormous Ferris wheel and you ride up and up, into the beautiful glass dome at the exact center of the amusement park, the crown of the MegaMall. When your car reaches the top you're so high that you can see over the sprawling corridors and courtyards, all the way to the city of Castertown.

Keep riding, girl. You might even see your parents from here.

It's weird, how a place can be so good to be in, and so bad for you.

Before Zozzco came, the whole town was poor. Nobody knows exactly what happened but people say that certain promises were made. The Zozzco Corporation and the Town Council of Castertown struck a deal. Money began pouring in. Suddenly everybody had a job! The glistening shoppers' paradise blossomed in the prairie like a gigantic flower.

Now the town is rich. The Castertown MegaMall and surrounding parks cover four square miles, and that's not counting the monorail or the international airport where bedazzled shoppers fly in every day just to cruise the galleries and shop the stores where they can find anything they want and everything's always on sale.

Nobody knows exactly how big the MegaMall really is. It's laid out like a gigantic honeycomb, except the bees aren't finished yet. Its boundaries grow and grow.

There are mall maps, of course, and store directories- at least for the sector where you happen to be wandering- but you can't begin to guess how many sectors there are, or what's going on in the parts you aren't allowed to see.

We're afraid to ask. Our town is riding high and the mall is magnificent, aren't we doing well?

Jule Devereaux is a lucky girl. When Zozzco gave Aunt Christy a job, Jule got her own Family Pass. She can go to the front of line and get on the WhirlyFunRide any time she wants.

Today it felt like the right thing to do. And it would have been, if she hadn't been so set on riding that she broke the rules and stayed on after LAST CALL.

Not me, she said to herself when the horn blew. Nobody tells me what to do. When her capsule hit the platform, she hid under the seat until the attendant slapped the door shut and the wheel moved on to let the people in the last few cars get out.

Soon she was the only passenger on the WhirlyFun- Ride.

Everything moved faster after that.

The car sped along, back into the whirly part and up the roller coaster and down the water chute. Jule was howling with excitement as her car came up the last peak and clicked into its slot for the spin on the Ferris wheel that brought you down to earth. She wanted it to go again. Again.

Then the wheel shuddered and stopped for the night.

The lights in the car went out. Jule was stuck at the top.

She yelled and banged but a hundred yards below, the attendants were busy shutting down. Frustrated, she tried to open the glassy door so she could throw something. She'd do anything to get their attention, but the capsule was shut tight. The overhead lights went out. "Don't go," she shouted, even though there was no point.

Foolish as it was, she tried willpower: Find me. As if that would work. The workers are gone. MegaMall Security stops patrolling after the mall shuts down. They're watching on banks of monitors in locked offices somewhere far away from here. Besides, on camera one kid waving and pounding at the top of a ride is no more than a speck, even if you happen to be looking.

Except for a string of work lights at the base of the giant ride, the amusement plaza is dark. It's long past closing. The crystal chandeliers are set to dim and the last attendant has left.

She is stupendously alone.

If only she hadn't lost that phone! OK, she lost it at the skating rink where she wasn't supposed to be in the first place, which is how she and Aunt Christy got into the fight. Even people who love each other get mad and say stupid things. It happens, you know?

It's late. She's beyond hungry. The air in her tightly sealed prison is getting stale.

To cheer herself, Jule pulls out the brand- new Maglite she bought when late afternoon sunlight still played on the crystal dome. The beam is tiny but powerful. Lying on her back, she aims it up into the great glass dome above the Ferris wheel. She is cheered by its tiny reflection in the gently curving glass. It glints like a new star. She wedges the miniature flashlight into her shoe and aims it at the sky. It is shining upward long after she drops into sleep.

Why not sleep? Until the morning cleanup crews arrive, she's alone.

Or she thinks she is.

Jule Devereaux has no way of knowing that there are figures stirring in the deep shadows far below. In the shadows, even denser shadows move. Two swift, dark shapes course back and forth in the courtyard of the abandoned amusement park. Quick and ravenous, the scavengers slouch along, scooping up half- eaten candy bars, small change, lost wallets and forgotten toys. Anything they can't eat they will take back to their leader, who . . .

Distracted by a reflected light, one of the intruders looks up. The silence is punctuated by an ugly hiss. "Ssssst!"

The other looks up to where he is pointing. A rush of air escapes him like poison gas. "Hsssss!"

Together, the two scavengers spit and mutter, consulting. Then they turn as one, and like a pair of hunting ferrets they slither out of the courtyard of the amusement plaza and into the uncharted corridors beyond, hissing with excitement as Jule sleeps on.

Excerpted from The Night Children by Kit Reed.

Copyright © 2008 by Kit Reed.

Published in 2008 by A Tom Doherty Associates Book.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013

    Hiccup to Camryn

    Go to dragons res1 ifvyou wanna be in a how to train your dragon rp story. Hiccup and Astrid are taken.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013


    Im the manager for the hair salon!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013



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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2008

    exciting middle school thriller

    People come from around the world to spend time at the Castertown MegaMall. Rich and poor they all flock to this premier wonder of the modern world. When last call occurs, zillions of people vacate the premises heading mostly to nearby hotels so they can easily return to shop until they drop. --- However, at closing not everyone leaves. Tonight sitting in a car at the top of the internationally acclaimed WhirlyFunride is local junior high school student Jule Deveraux following a fight with her guardian Aunt Christy over misplacing her cell phone the next morning her only known living relative was gone without leaving a note. Knowing what happens to unsupervised teen orphans, the feisty thirteen years old hides in the mall for now. However, she is not alone as the Castertown MegaMall contains residents of the night. Two rival gangs consisting of abandoned and runaway teens, tweeners and even younger children battle for mall supremacy. The Castertown Crazies headed by Tick Stiles fight with the Dingos led by Burt Arno. Neither chieftain nor the newcomer they each want to join their side understands the real war is to begin. Castertown MegaMall owner Amos Zozz resents these young rats living and abusing his facility extermination and youthful cleansing are coming military style to THE NIGHT CHILDREN there hope to survive depends on a loner who belongs to no one. --- This is an exciting middle school thriller that hooks the audience from the moment the confused Jule meets the two rival gang leaders and learns the eyes of the kids are upon the unaware visitors. The story line is fast-paced from the onset yet provides moral insight into the social issue of what to do about unsupervised young that is summed up by a key secondary character who says: ¿Because you can¿t treat people like that¿. Kit Reed provides a strong parable of the richest society being so indifferent that they ignore the plights of the poor unless it negatively affects the bottom line. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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