Touching Darkness (Midnighters Series #2)

Touching Darkness (Midnighters Series #2)

4.3 206
by Scott Westerfeld

View All Available Formats & Editions

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

…  See more details below


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.

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)

Read More

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Midnighters Series , #2
Sold by:
Sales rank:
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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.

Read More

Meet 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.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >