The Secret Hour, by Scott Westerfeld
Days in Bixby, Oklahoma, last a little longer than everywhere else. One hour longer. This hour, between midnight and 1 a.m., exists for those in town who were born precisely at midnight. In this secret hour everyone and everything freezes, except for a small group of local teenagers and a new girl in school, Jessica Day.
Jessica wakes one night in her new home to discover that the world around her has frozen. After some exploration she finds that certain animals are also awake and can travel in the frozen world, but they turn out to be less than friendly. When they attack her she is rescued by fellow “Midnighters” Dess, Rex, and Melissa. They explain that these creatures are “slithers” and “darklings” and that they are the reason the secret hour exists. They created it to hide from humans, technology, and the things that can destroy them.
The Midnighters tell Jessica that each of them possesses a special power and they assure her that she has a power as well, which she will soon discover. The following night Jessica meets the final Midnighter, Jonathan. He is on the outs with the others, but soon develops a special bond with Jessica. When Jessica is again attacked by darklings, it seems clear that something about her threatens them. Perhaps they sense that her power will enable her to bring about their destruction.
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