Read This: Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh

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Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh (Delacorte-Feb. 2nd, 2016)-17 year old Sully trades in the multi-colored orbs that began to appear on Earth a few years back. It’s enough to help his mom with rent, but not much else. The orbs give gifts to people when they have a matched pair, things like whiter teeth, holding your breath for a long time, greater mental dexterity, things like that. The one time Sully found a rare orb, a Cherry Red, a millionaire named Alex Holliday, who runs a team of pro hunters, promised millions for it, but cheated Sully in the end, so his booth at the flea market is all he has. Until he meets Hunter. Hunter is brash, brave, and has made orb hunting her life, and when she and Sully meet, they decide to join forces, hoping to find some rare orbs. Then things get really weird…

In this case, weird is definitely good. The concept of spheres that give humans special abilities is really fun and unique, and it makes for a compulsively readable story. Sully and Hunter come from disadvantaged backgrounds: Sully has a cop dad that was abusive and rarely has contact with his son, and his mother is loving and supportive but they have trouble making ends meet; Hunter’s background is actually tragic, and when she finally reveals it, it’s heartwrenching. She lives on her own in an apartment that houses 20 people, each with a tiny space on the floor, and she’s been on her own for a long time. Sully is taken with Hunter, although half the time he doesn’t know whether to arm wrestle her or kiss her, and besides, she insists she’s not “girlfriend material.”

I hate to reveal much about the plot, because it would spoil the fun, but I will say that there will be lots of sphere hunting, danger, and it even goes international. McIntosh is great at nailbiting chase scenes, and there are a few of those here, since Sully and co. have to dodge the nefarious intentions of Holliday, who really is a scumbag. Seriously, the man shows not even a smidgen of humanity. Not even a little. You’ll want to see Sully and his friends take him down, preferably painfully. The last third of the book is when readers will find out what the orbs really are, and it’s…really cool, and while this books works as an adventure, at its heart is Sully and Hunter’s relationship. Hunter has trouble trusting anyone, and with good reason, and in spite of Sully’s efforts to get to know her better, they fall flat again and again, but he’s eager to crack her tough shell, so he keeps trying. It’s the push and pull of those two that really make this book great, as well as the friendships between Sully and his close group of friends. Loyalty, love, bravery, and sacrifice are themes that McIntosh explores with ease, and it’s very easy to root for Sully and Hunter. Burning Midnight is compulsively readable and pure fun, without sacrificing depth. Put this one on your must read list.


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