Touching Darkness (Midnighters Series #2)

( 206 )


Bixby, Oklahoma, is full of secrets.
some come out at midnight.
some should stay hidden.

As the Midnighters search for the truth about the secret hour, they uncover terrifying mysteries woven into the very fabric of Bixby’s history, and a conspiracy that touches the world of daylight.

This time Jessica Day is not the only Midnighter in ...

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Touching Darkness (Midnighters Series #2)

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Bixby, Oklahoma, is full of secrets.
some come out at midnight.
some should stay hidden.

As the Midnighters search for the truth about the secret hour, they uncover terrifying mysteries woven into the very fabric of Bixby’s history, and a conspiracy that touches the world of daylight.

This time Jessica Day is not the only Midnighter in mortal danger, and if the group can’t find a way to come together, they could lose one of their own . . . forever.

As they continue to battle evil creatures living in an hour hidden at midnight, Jessica and her new friends learn about Bixby, Oklahoma's shadowy past and uncover a deadly conspiracy that reaches beyond the secret hour.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A follow-up to The Secret Hour, the launch of Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters series (which PW called "an inventive contemporary fantasy"), Touching Darkness continues the tale of Dess, Rex, Melissa and Jessica, who were born at nearly the exact stroke of midnight, giving them the ability to experience the 25th hour of each day, which is "rolled up too tight" for the rest of humanity even to notice. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In this excellent sequel to Midnighters: The Secret Hour (HarperCollins, 2004/VOYA April 2004), five teens with strange powers who experience an extra hour at midnight discover the history of their secret time while saving one of their own from mutation by the evil creatures they call the "darklings." Dess, Rex, Jess, Melissa, and Jonathan meet in the "blue hour," an extra hour at midnight when the rest of the world is frozen and only Midnighters and darklings can move. Each teen has a special power-from mind reading to mathematical genius to fire bringing-and they all find their power and the extra hour only in their small town of Bixby, Oklahoma. As Rex researches the history of Bixby, he discovers that Midnighters such as themselves have lived in the town for generations and that the town was secretly constructed with symbols and architecture to ward off attacks by darklings. Using metals, ancient runes, and tridecalogisms (words with thirteen letters), the five discover that they are not the only Midnighters left, and that the darklings are using humans as daytime servants. When Rex is taken by the darklings, the four must overcome their differences and do a midnight battle on the salt flats to save Rex. The point of view hops from teen to teen, enhancing the development of each character and acting to advance the plot. With this volume, teen readers will become vested in the series as the teens struggle with the challenges of merging their daytime and midnight selves in a realistic small-town setting that pushes them all to conform. This second installment in what promises to be a solid series reads well on its own, and teens who like fantasy, magic, horror, adventure, or anycombination will be drawn to realistic characters in a complex and changing world in which only they know what is really happening. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Eos/HarperCollins, 336p., and PLB Ages 11 to 18.
—Hillary Theyer
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-Life is getting more complex and more dangerous for the five high school students who are "midnighters"-born at the stroke of midnight with the ability to inhabit a secret 25th hour. Unfortunately, some very scary creatures also inhabit it, and they're out to get the magical teens. Jessica, who has just discovered her special powers as a flame-bringer, learns that humans are stalking her during the 24 hours of the day when she thought she was safe. What is the relationship between these stalkers and the darklings that try to destroy the midnighters? Is Jessica's only "normal" friend involved? And who, or what, is causing dreams of mathematical coordinates in Dess, the polymath? Is there a connection to the new runway being built in the desert by the company that Jessica's mom works for? These and other questions are deftly answered in this latest installment in the series as the five teens must grow into their special powers to combat the growing darkling strength. Far scarier and much more convincing than The Secret Hour (HarperCollins, 2004), Touching Darkness combines science, horror, and history in a well-crafted tale. It will be appreciated more by those who have read the first book, but it does stand on its own. Guaranteed to fly off the shelves.-Sharon Grover, Arlington County Department of Libraries, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This suspenseful sequel to Midnighters #1: The Secret Hour (2004) reveals some secrets of the magical town of Bixby, Oklahoma. Bixby has quieted down since Jessica and her friends defeated a mass of darklings. The monsters that terrorize the midnighters (those, like Jessica, who walk in the magical secret hour after midnight) are avoiding the town. But now the midnighters are in danger from a new kind of monster: humans. Some normal people have discovered the midnighters' secret, and they're stalking Jessica. Worse, they seem to be in league with darklings, and with a new, extra-dangerous darkling-human hybrid. While the other midnighters pair off, Dess, the polymath, uncovers more of the enigma of Bixby with the help of a stranger who's been hiding for decades. Despite a too-sudden conclusion, this powerful page-turner is compelling as it pits heroes against unspeakable evil both human and supernatural. (Fantasy. 12-16)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060519568
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Series: Midnighters Series, #2
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 157,381
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.34 (w) x 6.56 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Westerfeld

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.

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Read an Excerpt

Midnighters #2: Touching Darkness
By Scott Westerfeld Eos Copyright © 2008 Scott Westerfeld
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-06-051956-8

Chapter One Laws of Gravity 11:51 p.m.

At last, everything was sorted out.

Her clothes had finally found their way into the right drawers. Books lined their new shelves in alphabetical order, and her computer's tangled mop of cables had been subdued with rubber bands into a thick ponytail. The moving boxes were out in the garage, folded flat and wrapped with twine for Monday's recycling truck. Only one last box, labeled CRAP in black marker, sat in the corner of her room, filled with a dozen boy-band posters, two pink sweaters, and a stuffed dinosaur, all of which seemed way too childish for her new life.

Jessica Day wondered if she'd really changed that much since packing the box in Chicago. Maybe it was getting arrested that had suddenly made her feel older. (Okay, officially she'd been "detained and transported to parental custody." Whatever.) Or maybe it was having a boyfriend. (Although that wasn't official yet either, come to think of it.) Or maybe it was the secret world that had opened up around her here in Bixby and then had tried so hard to kill her.

But everything was organized now, she told herself again.

For example: thirteen thumbtacks were lined up under each window in her room, and thirteen paper clips rested on the lintel of the door. She wore a thirteen-pointed star around her neck, and in a shoe box under her bed were Anfractuously, Explosiveness, and Demonstration (also known as a bicycle lock, a highway flare, and a heavy flashlight). All their names had thirteen letters, and all three objects were made of bright stainless steel.

Looking at her bedside clock, Jessica felt the flutter of nerves that always came at this time of night. Excitement, an anxiousness to get started, and a suddenly dry tongue, as if she were about to take a driver's test at a hundred miles an hour.

She took a deep breath to calm herself and sat down carefully on her neatly made bed, unwilling to disturb anything. Even taking a book down from the shelf might unbalance the whole night. The room's neatness felt precarious, though; it could only go downhill from here.

Jessica got that feeling a lot these days.

Cross-legged on the bed, she felt something in the front pocket of her jeans. She fished it out: the quarter she'd found in the closet while cleaning up. The previous tenants must have left it behind. Jessica flipped it in the air, the metal flashing as it spun.

On the third flip, at the top of the coin's arc, a shudder seemed to pass through the room. ...

No matter how carefully she watched her clock, the exact moment of change always startled Jessica, like the jolt of the L train back in Chicago when it began to roll. Color bled from the world, the light turned cool and flat and blue, and the low moan of the Oklahoma wind fell suddenly silent. Suspended in the air before her, the quarter shone softly, a tiny and motionless flying saucer. She stared at it hard for a while, careful not to get too close and break the spell.

"Heads," she finally declared, then reached under the bed to free Explosiveness and Demonstration from their shoe box. She stuffed them into the big front pocket of her sweatshirt and crawled out the window.

Out on the front lawn, Jessica waited again. She didn't bother to hide, although she was still grounded for another two weeks (one result of the whole getting-arrested thing). The houses around her glowed with a faint blue light. No one was watching, nothing moved on the street; even the scattering of falling autumn leaves hovered motionless in the air, trailing from the dark trees like long dresses. The world was Jessica's now.

But not hers alone.

A shape grew against the cloudy sky, arcing from rooftop to rooftop, gracefully and silently bounding toward her. He hit the same houses every night, like a pinball following a familiar route down the bumpers. Just like Dess said she could see numbers in her head, Jonathan claimed he could see the angles of his flight, the most elegant path appearing before him in bright lines.

Jess touched the reassuring weight of the flashlight through the sweatshirt's cotton. They all had their talents.

As Jonathan softly corkscrewed to the earth before her, Jessica's nervous energy began to turn into something more pleasurable. She watched his body coil, knees flexing and arms spreading, absorbing the impact of his scant midnight weight against the grass, and felt herself pack the last threads of her anxiety away in a box labeled CRAP at the back of her brain. Fear had been necessary for her first two weeks here in the secret hour-her survival had depended on it. But she didn't need it anymore.

"Hey," she said.

Jonathan swept his gaze around the horizon, checking for anything with wings. Then turned to her and smiled. "Hi, Jess."

She stood still, letting him cross the lawn to reach her. His steps carried him in soft arcs a foot high, kind of like an astronaut taking a stroll on the moon. "What's the matter?"

"Nothing. Just watching you walk."

He rolled his eyes. "It's harder than it looks, you know. I prefer flying."

"Me too." She leaned forward carefully, not reaching out with her hands, gently closing her eyes. As her lips brushed his, gravity lifted from Jessica, a familiar lightness flowing through her body.

She pulled away and sighed, her sneakers settling back into the grass.

His long, dark lashes blinked. "You're in a funny mood."

Jessica shrugged. "I'm just ... happy." She turned around, taking in the softly glowing houses, the empty sky. "This all seems safe, finally."

"I get it. So you don't need me to protect you anymore?"

She whirled to face Jonathan. He was smiling broadly now.

"Maybe not." She patted Demonstration again. "But we do need to study for that physics test."

He held out his hand. Jessica took it, and the lightness filled her again.


Excerpted from Midnighters #2: Touching Darkness by Scott Westerfeld Copyright © 2008 by Scott Westerfeld. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 206 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 207 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Much Better than Book 1

    This second book in the Midnighters' Series delivered more than the first one could ever have hoped. In my review of book 1, I indicated that the characters were unlikable. They still are - which is sad because a reader should be able to connect with at least one character. However, the story has perked up and makes more sense which makes this book more pleasant reading. I will be reading the 3rd book. Let's see if Scott Westerfeld can deliver a clear, concise and satisfying ending to a series that struggles to make good.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Touching darkness

    Jessica and her frineds are part of a secret world. A world of special ablities and meatls that destroy. A world that only opens at the stroke of midnight and last for only one hour each day, halting time in the daylight realm, and opening the door was to the blue hour of midnight. Jessica and her midnighter friends are faced with a major problem, a daylight person knows of the secret midnight hour, and is stalking Jessica! Now it is a rush aginst time as they learn of a deadly plot, of the secrets of the darklings, and a grusome fate that could await one of their friends. Can they save him in time, or will he fall, helplessly, into the hands of their darkling enemys and their daylight allies. Can they save him? Find out in. Midnighters #2: Touching Darkness.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2011

    Good, But The First Was So Much Better

    Touching Darkness by Scott Westerfeld was the second in the Midnighters Series. When you start this book, it starts you out about a day after the end of the first one, which wants you to believe that the events are happening in a perfectly created, chronological order. With Jessica so in love with Jonathan, Rex so in love with Melissa, and Dess all alone in her own little secret math world, the book has many stories going on at once. Yes, it can be confusing and yes, they do all eventually connecting, but this can be very confusing. One minute with Dess, the next with Jess, the next with Rex. I had to reread many of the things. Another problem that I have with this book is that Jessica, the main protagonist, is very dislikable at times. And I'm not sure if this is done on purpose on not, but I really do despise her at times. I think my favorite character in the book is probably Rex. He is the only one that doesn't really bother me. I did enjoy the ending of this book though. It did leave me wanting to read the next one, so I will. I hope that I am not disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    touching darkness

    In TOUCHING DARKNESS, the Midnighters no longer just have the darklings to fear; now normal people are hunting them. When Jessica gets stalked by one of them, Melissa and Rex follow him into a nightmare. But not only Jessica is threatened by the stalkers, Rex is in trouble too because they need a new Seer. Dess finds a new friend who knows how the old Midnighters disappeared and can help her battle Jessica's stalkers. We learn more about the old Midnighters and why they disappeared so long ago. This Midnighters book was a lot darker than the other one and a little better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 22, 2010

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    This is the second book in the Midnighters trilogy! It was awesome,this series is starting to grow on me. I'm gonna be sad when I finish reading the third and final book :(. Although I'm gonna say Jessica kind of got on my nerves just a lil in this book,that being said it's still an awesome book!! The plot is still original,fun, and fast paced. In the second book they find out there are daylight people who know about the secret hour and Midnighters, who are contacting the darklings. Dess discovers a Midnighter from an older generation(they had never met one before). She learns what happened to the older generations and that the Darklings want a Midnighter to make a halfing(half Midnighter, half darkling). Rex and Melissa get closer and Melissa learns how to deal with her gift.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2010

    A Book of True Thought

    This book was clear and well thought out. It is a mystery intertwined with science and math. I enjoyed how the characters interacted with each other to learn the secrets within the secret hour. The conjoining of trigonometry and calculus was ingenious. This book contains a great storyline that isn't too difficult to follow. I didn't like the writer's description of the Darklings. His description never gave a good visual experience of how they look. How Scott Westerfeld ends this book with a cliffhanger leaves readers demanding to buy the next installment. His way of twists within the book creates thrilling tension for the reader. The unreal world of the secret hour gives the perfect scene for the Midnighters, Rex, Melissa, Dess, Jonathon, and Jessica. The author creates a shield of secrecy for these main characters in the extra hour. I appreciate how the author writes the chapters through each individual main character. How he ends each chapter with each characters own sign was well thought out because the reader doesn't understand until mid-book what the symbols mean. This page-turner leaves each chapter with an unsettled mystery. I very much liked how there were different places with more time than others in the town of Bixby. The book focuses on multiple points, the characters' development, the history of Bixby, and the mysteries of the secret hour all combined into one unforgettable book. It creates a whole new world for the reader to think about and follow. I would recommend this book to anyone who is creative, has clever thinking, or people who just enjoy fiction. This book is an excellent read and Scott Westerfeld has done a great job with it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

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    This book kept me awake at night wondering what will happen next!! If u didn't like the first book than i am sure that u will enjoy this one!! it is infinite times better than the first one!! PLEASE READ!! MUST READ!! If u r a die hard scott westerfeld fan then u better rad this book!! but read the first one of course!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    MUST Read Sequel!!!

    if you read and enjoyed the first book (Midnighters: The Secret Hour) then you MUST read this sequel. it is great if you liked the first one. although i do think the first one was better overall, i still really enjoyed this book. this series is the kind that i wish would never end, but unfortunately there is only one more book for me to read (Midnighters: Blue Noon).

    if you enjoy this series, you may also enjoy the Wicked Lovely series. Beginning with Wicked Lovely, the Ink Exchange, and followed by the most recent Fragile Eternity, it is a great series. there is less action (but its still there) and more romance (not a dominating romance series) and i highly recommend it to Midnighters readers. Happy Reading!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 24, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    You think that the second book in a series usually falls flat? N

    You think that the second book in a series usually falls flat? Not this one. Westerfeld picks up this series right where he left off and keeps you on this great ride. The characters sound different and you can read the dialogue of separate characters, with never feeling like you're reading the same person talking. Westerfeld is one of the real talented authors for young adults

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2014

    Good book!

    I read this book and it was amazing. But i have not read the first book yet because i could not find it in my school library. But it was amazing. I will be looking forward to be reading the rest of the books.

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  • Posted August 24, 2013

    I liked this a lot more then the 1st book. This one was pretty i

    I liked this a lot more then the 1st book. This one was pretty interesting and kept me wanting to read more.

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  • Posted March 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Better Than the First "Touching Darkness" is a more m

    Better Than the First

    "Touching Darkness" is a more mature sequel that highlights the secret history behind the Midnighters. Also the group's conflict that stems from their different personalities come to light. Some minor curse words pops-up now and then in the narrative and euphemisms to sex are present. The story and characters are still good and I can't wait to see how it ends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012


    I loved the 1st book and was super excited to read this one but was disappointed. I suffered through the 1st 110 pages and then gladly called it quits

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2011

    Good, mostly fast paced book.

    It was a pretty good book, just got slow at some points, but I can't say I didn't like it, I read it in two and a half days.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2011


    Liked this one but Jessica is a little to cocky for me.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Really Cool!!!

    This book had an awesome storyline! It was unpredictable, full of suspense, and somewhat creepy. An amazing second book to the Midnighters Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    Better than the first...

    Touching Darkness is much better than Secret Hour. There seems to be more action, and you also know the characters a little bit better at this point. I have to admit that it was somewhat difficult to finish Secret Hour, but it was worth it to get to Touching Darkness. Now we'll just have to see what number three has in store!

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  • Posted May 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:


    much applaudes. this was the best fallow up ever . crazy good. i dont know how else to say how much i loved it.

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:


    This is a wonderful book. It is much more upbeat than the first book and very interesting. A bit more romance in this book compared to the first book but, I only noticed because I do not like romance stories. A good book for any fantasy reader (just make sure to read the first book to the series before this one). Can't wait until I start reading the third and final book to the trilogy.

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  • Posted February 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    a good follow up to the first book

    It was good. You found out a little more about why this happened to these kids and why they were singled out. I wish there were more than just 3 books in this series.

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