Synopsis: There is something odd about Bixby, Oklahoma. Jessica Day, a recent transplant from Chicago realizes that strange things are occurring in her new town when she wakes up to find that time has completely frozen. Jessica is not alone in her “secret hour”. There are others that experience this extra midnight hour. They call themselves Midnighters…and Jessica quickly finds that her new found hour is not what the others think, an extra hour to play, but actually ripe with danger and creatures of nightmare – all intent on seeing Jessica dead.
I downloaded Secret Hour (Midnighters Series #1) for my amazon kindle, and I was very excited, I loved the Uglies series. It took me longer to get into this book than I expected, which is surprising, because the premise of this novel is very good and the plot is well-paced and original. I have begun to realize, though, with Mr. Westerfeld’s writing – he really doesn’t want you to really like his characters. I believe this is why it took me longer to get into the book as expected. Like the Uglies series, his characters are portrayed as “normal” and flawed, with all their flaws laid on the table and no excuses made. While this makes for a better and deeper character, it sometimes does not propegate a love to form between reader and character – which is usually the basis behind the most popular books. (How many readers profess their love for Bella & Edward???) I don’t consider myself a fickle or picky reader. I don’t need to love or even like a character to enjoy a book – but I do find that if I am not concerned with a characters well-being, stemming from the fact that I have an apathetic outlook on them, I tend to take longer to read a book. (I’m not flipping and skimming quickly to find out they are not going to drown in that lake) The character of Jessica Day gained that apathetic outlook from me. She was a new girl, forced into a situation that she didn’t know how to handle, or even knew enough about it to think about how she would handle it. The supporting characters, Red, Dess, Melissa and Jonathan, didn’t really go much higher on my radar also. I actually think I like Jonathan more than anyone – just for the fact that he snubbed his nose at everything and took on a devil-may-care type of attitude that was actually endearing. Rex and Melissa on the other hand I didn’t like at all. They were creepy, cryptic and if I read between the lines, a little bit on the “evil” side. Dess, well, Dess was just weird, in a “Coraline” goth charming type of way.
Besides the impish characters, the plot was very interesting. The entire concept was different and sucked you in to the midnight world. The slithers were decidely creepy – especially in the ending scenes.
This is a good sereis for young teenagers, and as a mom I would let my young teen read this, there is nothing inappropriate, or compromising. In fact young teens would probably enjoy this book more than I did, since they might relate to the oddness of the characters better.
I am unsure if I will read on in this series. I will probably tackle PEEPS before I go on to the second Midnighters. I do not know why I have had a sudden increase in my YA consumption, but I think it might be time to move on to some adult series.