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Nightfall

Cover of Nightfall

Nightfall

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The dark will bring your worst nightmares to light in this gripping and eerie survival story, perfect for fans of James Dashner and Neil Gaiman.

On Marin's island, sunrise doesn't come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.
Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.
Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.
Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins' friend Line. Marin and Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line's gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.
And it may already be too late.
From the Hardcover edition.
The dark will bring your worst nightmares to light in this gripping and eerie survival story, perfect for fans of James Dashner and Neil Gaiman.

On Marin's island, sunrise doesn't come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.
Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.
Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.
Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins' friend Line. Marin and Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line's gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.
And it may already be too late.
From the Hardcover edition.
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    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    690
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    3

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Excerpts-
  • From the book ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***

    Copyright © 2015 Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski

    CHAPTER 1

    MARIN WALKED INTO THE WIND AND FELT IT GENTLY PUSH back. A few more steps and she'd be at the edge of the cliff. Her focus was on the thistle, the prickly green plants that crunched beneath her feet. What would happen to these plants during the years of Night? Would they wither and die, or would they simply lie dormant, waiting for the first rays of sunlight to peek up from the horizon? She had asked those who had been through this before, but they refused to discuss it. No one talked about the Night, even though it was almost upon them.

    She stopped near the precipice. The water below was dark, almost black, and it stretched everywhere, like a liquid version of the sky. In the last year, as the sun had begun its final de- scent, the water had gone from blue-green to iridescent blue, and from there it grew steadily darker. A hint of its fluorescence remained, but now it provoked a shiver instead of a smile.

    Marin took a deep breath of the cold sea air. When the sun vanished, it would get even colder. Everything would freeze—at least that's what people at school said. In any case, by the time that happened, she'd be long gone, along with everyone else in Bliss. Only the buildings would remain, silent and empty, en- tombed in ice.

    The wind flung Marin's wavy black hair into her face. She was smaller than other girls her age, but she was stronger than most. Her arms and legs were long and well-muscled, the product of years spent climbing, hiking, and sailing. She had honey-colored eyes, long lashes, and bronze skin—a striking combination, which she inherited from her mother. Her cloth- ing, however, was plain and purely functional: waxed canvas pants, a raw denim shirt, and leather boots.

    "Has the tide turned yet?"

    Marin spun at the unexpected voice. She had been waiting for her friend Line, but instead she saw Palan—a frail man with paper-thin skin and a bald head marked with brown sunspots. Palan had lived through several Mornings and his skin bore the proof. His cobalt-blue robe rippled in the wind, revealing a left arm that ended in a stump just above his wrist.

    "I'm not sure about the tide," Marin replied. "What do you think?"

    The old man faced Marin, his watery eyes looking past her, into the distance. "This is my fourth Evening," he said quietly. He tightened the heavy wool scarf wrapped around his neck. "The sun seems to be moving faster and faster with the years." Marin followed his gaze. The sun had almost disappeared below the horizon. Only a sliver remained visible. The entire western sky was ablaze in magnificent shades of orange and red. A few degrees more and the sun would vanish completely, plunging the island into darkness for the next fourteen years. They said this would happen soon, perhaps in a matter of days.


    It sounded a bit like the end of the world to Marin, and she still found it hard to believe.

    The wind blew gently and Palan sighed. "It saddens me that I will never see this place again. When I leave here—I expect I won't return."

    Marin reached out and touched his arm. The old man turned away from the sea, back toward the island's interior, and grasped her hand. "I've heard movement in the forest," he whispered.

    "What do you mean?" asked Marin, worried that Palan may have become lost in his mind.

    Palan gripped her hand tighter but did not reply. A muffled shout rang in the distance.

    "MARIN!"

    They looked...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 7, 2015
    Halpern and Kujawinski (coauthors of the Dormia series) have created an intriguing but implausible world for this dark story. After 14 years of Day, Night descends on the island of Bliss. Meanwhile, the receding tide exposes a statue bearing the ominous words, "The houses must be without stain." As is traditional when Night approaches, the islanders prepare to flee to the Desert Lands (where, somehow, Day and Night alternate in three-day shifts) until Bliss's sun returns. When adolescent Marin and her twin brother, Kana, leave the ships to look for her best friend, Line, they become stranded on the island to face the Night: the cold, the dark, strange animals that hide by Day, and the terrifying original inhabitants of Bliss. The extremity of the world and premise requires significant suspension of disbelief (including how "years" are measured on such a planet and why anyone would settle somewhere they must abandon for 14-year spans with other options available). But the authors' lovely wordsmithing, especially in the descriptions of falling night and the rituals of departure, compensate for these and other implausibilities. Ages 12–up. Agent: Tina Bennett, William Morris Endeavor.

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2015
    Three 14-year-olds struggle to survive as they find themselves accidentally left behind when their town migrates away from the 14-year-long Night that is descending upon their island. Marin and her twin brother, Kana, come from a traditional family, but their friend Line is an orphan who cares for his little brother on his own. The townspeople follow strict rituals as they prepare to leave: they scour their homes clean and follow a rigid formula for arranging the furniture. But amid the preparations for departure, Line disappears, so Marin and Kana race inland to find him-returning, of course, too late. Soon the three realize that they are far from alone on the island, and the new inhabitants seem determined to find and kill them. A mysterious voice tries to guide them to a hidden boat, but Line has badly hurt his arm and is suffering both fever and possible gangrene, while Kana experiences an odd transformation. Halpern and Kujawinski invent a fascinating world that comes to life, full of intriguing monsters. The beginning half of the book shines as readers slowly discover the other inhabitants of the island, but the long escape sequence, with the three teens struggling against Line's increasing illness and the monsters looming ever closer, is also effective. The teens' desperate journey to find their way off the island will keep readers turning pages. (Paranormal adventure. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    August 1, 2015

    Gr 6 Up-In the bucolic village of Bliss, residents are hurriedly packing and cleaning their houses for their seasonal migration to another island. In this case, seasonal is every 14 years, and a first-time event for fraternal twins, Marin and her brother, Kana. Soon to be picked up in boats by furriers, the families are urgently trying to beat the receding tide that denotes the beginning of a long freeze that human inhabitants would not survive. Hints that less hospitable creatures take over the town in the off-season make it imperative that everyone board the boats, but when Marin loses her sunstone necklace in the woods, her boyfriend, Line, naively runs off to find it. Fatefully, all three are left behind as darkness and cold temperatures descend in this cycle of night. Marin's dark complexion differs dramatically from her pale-skinned twin, and Kana's eyesight, which once blinded him in sunlight, now becomes an asset in the darkness. Upon finding Line, the trio searches for a boat they believe is hidden on the island, their only hope of escape. Suspense builds as Line is injured, creatures emerge from the shadows, and Kana holds a dark secret about his birth from the two of them. Magical realism combine with elements of a medieval survival story, as the teens ward off gangrene with herbal poultices and fight off witchlike creatures. VERDICT A mildly satisfying, stand-alone read for middle school horror lovers.-Vicki Reutter, State University of New York at Cortland

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Nightfall
Jake Halpern
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