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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
A teenage Oklahoma transplant learns she possesses otherworldly, time-dependent powers in this first nail-biting installment of author Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters series.
After Jessica Day moves to Bixby, she enjoys popularity but also becomes the focus of a few sunglasses-wearing outcasts. Curious about all the interest from Rex, Melissa, Dess, and Jonathan, Jessica soon learns that it's not without cause: She is a "midnighter," a person who can move about during a magical, condensed 25th hour that begins at midnight. Jessica is fascinated at first -- especially when she learns she has special powers during the "blue time" -- but her interest turns to horror when her safety is threatened by ever-growing "darklings," shadowy entities that want to stop Jessica from discovering and using her gift. Luckily, the teen has her new friends to teach her about keeping darklings at bay, and when the five have a 25th-hour meeting in Bixby's legendary "snake pit" that quickly turns dangerous, Jessica finds that her untapped midnighter abilities are the ultimate threat to darkling survival.
Packed with fascinating characters in a fast-paced story line, Westerfeld's The Secret Hour will keep you in suspense until the foreboding end. While Jessica seems to have remarkable wherewithal for someone who's just landed in such frightening circumstances, the author works with the creepy atmosphere and outsider characters to create an entertaining page-turner that provides a harrowing setup for Book 2. After putting this down, you might not be looking at the clock the same way again. Matt Warner