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Burning Midnight

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  1,745 ratings  ·  375 reviews
Seventeen-year-old David Sullivan’s life is about to change—all because of one tiny, priceless item found in the murky bottom of a Brooklyn water tower.

Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much—Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers—but it helps him and his mom make rent.

No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Delacorte Press
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Popular Answered Questions
Will McIntosh Yes. It's always possible I could revisit this world in the future, but right now I don't have a sequel planned.…moreYes. It's always possible I could revisit this world in the future, but right now I don't have a sequel planned.(less)
SilentEcho I don't remember if I finished it or not, but I did really like the concept.…moreI don't remember if I finished it or not, but I did really like the concept.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,745 ratings  ·  375 reviews

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Wendy Darling
3.5 stars A really terrific high-concept scifi novel--except it kinda lost me once, well, midnight is burned. It's the same problem I had with THE FOLD--great premise, engrossing plot, decent characterization, engaging narrative voice, and then the direction the story went/the reveal felt rather silly.

I liked it tremendously up until that point, however, so I'm rounding up in star ratings, even though the resolution and ending felt underdeveloped and a bit rushed. (Surprising, considering how c
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

David Sullivan lives in a version of our world where ability enhancing spheres just appeared out of the blue one day. Canary Yellow for perfect memory, Aquamarine for fast healing, Cranberry to become more attractive, etc.

As far as anyone can tell, once "burned" the gifts granted by the spheres last forever.

The problem is that not enough time has elapsed since their discovery to know for sure.

The other problem is that no one knows where they came from. God? Satan? Aliens?
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Burning Midnight is Will McIntosh’s first Young Adult novel, and even though it didn’t hit me emotionally as hard as his adult books Defenders or Love Minus Eighty (which is one of my favorite books ever!) I nonetheless found it incredibly entertaining and addictive. It even disrupted my nightly ritual of reading to calm my mind before bed, because all this book did was make me even more wide awake with my blood pumped up
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, 2016-shelf, sci-fi
This might be a real surprise hit that everyone is going to be talking about for a long time. Or perhaps it simply should be. :) I'm not generally a YA fan, but even so, I keep running into real gems lately. Or spheres. Lots and lots of ability-granting spheres for appreciating really good stories with fascinating characters and plots that are literally impossible to put down.

I read this and skipped dinner, for heaven's sake, even forgoing a potty break because this was just that good.

I was hook
Jen Ryland
Jan 16, 2016 added it
Shelves: young-ya
Fun, page-turning story about a diverse Scooby Gang of underdogs out to stop an evil billionaire and save the world. The book's premise is that colored spheres start showing up all over the world, and people soon realize that by "burning" these spheres (holding them to their temples) they can absorb the powers within (better eyesight, singing talent, etc.) The spheres are different colors and categorized according to rarity like diamonds or ...Pokémon cards. Rare spheres can go for millions and ...more
May 10, 2016 rated it liked it
3 stars!

Imagine waking up one day, and there are different colored, marble sized spheres all over the world. Some are out in plain sight, some are hidden. It is somehow realized that by "burning" two of the same colored spheres (meaning you touch a matched pair to your forehead) your body can absorb the unique gifts that these spheres have to give.

Mustard for high intelligence, Burnt Orange for speed reading, Canary Yellow for perfect memory, Cranberry to make you more attractive, Chocolate Brow
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016-read
2.5 stars

Writer Madeleine L'Engle once said "[y]ou have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children."

L'Engle's statement goes to the heart of my difficulty with Burning Midnight. Here we have a great premise, spheres appear from nowhere and are able to imbue people with enhanced abilities, but the author tells it as if he is a smarter grown-up telling a story he thinks might be a tad too complicated for most you
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
Initial Thoughts: This was fun at the start, then it started to get more and more ridiculous to the point where I just tuned out. The sphere hunting for abilities was an interesting part of the book and I liked Hunter and Sully, but when they start making stupid decisions, I got pretty frustrated. Everything tied up a bit too perfectly and easily.


This review appears on Happy Indulgence! Check it out for more reviews.

Burning Midnight gave me fond memories of Pokemon, with people trying to fin
When the spheres had first appeared, it sent shock waves around the world. On TV, experts and pundits had debated where they came from all day. As the years went by, though, and no solid answers to the mystery materialized, everyone started taking the spheres’ existence for granted.

No one knows where they came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair of Mustard Yellows to boost your IQ, some Lemon Yellows to grow a little taller, a couple of
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
It is so much fun to not only get a guy's point of view in the young adult genre but to get something completely refreshing and original as well.

This book ended up being so much fun in a very unexpected way.

Science fiction reading has never been my strong suit. Stick me in front of a movie or tv show and I devour them, but put a book in front of me and I slug through it and more often than not, just like it, or could care less about it by the time I finish it. This however kept me interested,
Sara (Freadom Library)
Actual rating 3.5 stars

This review was originally posted at

I received an e-ARC of this book from Delacorte Press and Random House Children’s via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
First off I have to say that this book was definitely not what I imagined it was going to be. There was some action and it was generally kind of creepy, especially toward the end. There was mystery and traveling. There were parts that were
Molly Mortensen
Colored spheres appeared all over the world nine years ago. When you burn two of the same color they make you better, taller, smarter, better looking. The rarer the sphere the more they do and the more they are worth.

Four years ago Sully found the rarest sphere in the world, and one of the richest guys around ripped him off for millions of dollars.

Recently, his mom lost her job, and they might soon lose their apartment. Sully works at a flea market selling spheres to make money. When he meets a
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
I really liked the conceit of the book (one day, seemingly magical spheres show up all over the world, and if you have two of the same colour, you gain heightened abilities of some kind - a better singing voice, an inch in height, etc) and the characters. I had some quibbles with the plot, mostly of the spoiler-ish variety.
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
For almost a decade people have been finding magical spheres hidden all around the planet. When two are used together they give the person different improvements to themselves such as a better singing voice, whiter teeth, run faster, better hearing etc. The better the improvement the more rare and expensive each sphere with every different color giving a different outcome.

Sully is a teenager that makes a part time income buying and selling spheres at the local flea market. A few years before Su
Brooke (The Cover Contessa)
I want to thank Delacorte Press for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered or changed my opinion or review.

I'm actually not sure where to star with this read. It was interesting for sure. And totally different than what I had imagined it would be. And, in all honesty, it read more like a middle grade book for me.

The fun things about this book was the gang of underdogs who fight to be the winner. I really liked t
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017

Alrighty, let’s do this. I accidentally read this entire book in a few hours and it was SUCH a fun ride! The premise of this novel was incredibly unique - a world mostly similar to ours except there are these spheres that you “burn” and they enhance some part of you (like your looks or your knowledge etc etc) - the characters were very fun and surprisingly fleshed out and I just had such a fun time because EXO (anyone who doesn’t get what that means should look up the “Power” music vid
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Four stars: An exciting fast paced adventure that will keep you on your seat until the shocking finale.

Sully broods as he sits at his flea market stall. The spheres are drying up again, and he and his mother are in danger of being evicted from their apartment. People are collecting are burning through the spheres faster than ever, and the rare ones are harder and harder to come by. If only Sully could score another cherry red find. If only, he hadn't been cheated out of millions of dollars by t
Mary ♥
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
4/5 stars

Sully works by selling spheres, colourful balls that can grant a person superpowers such as resistance to illnesses, night vision, new talents and abilities. When a mysterious girl with a tragic past shows up and offers him the chance to hunt the rarest spheres with her, he follows her in a trip that picks up around the world, and teaches them both that the world, and spheres, are absolutely not what they were thought to be. Against a greedy millionaire who uses the spheres to make him
Erin Arkin
Dec 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, galley-arc, sci-fi
3-3.5 stars

Burning Midnight is the first book I have read by Will McIntosh and I will definitely be checking out his books in the future. There were some things I liked and some things that didn’t necessarily click for me. With that said, I thought this was a solid story and I absolutely love the cover for this book.

One of the pieces of this story that I enjoyed was the fact that it was a male narrator. David Sullivan is a sphere dealer and things aren’t easy for him and his mom. In this world t
I don't know how many of you have discovered Will McIntosh. At this point I jump to read whenever he releases something new. His books are consistently inventive and interesting and good and not like each other much at all. This one is kind of a more normal one, and a ya at that. Set in a recognizable world of today with the minor different of spheres that when you find two and put them to your ears give you permanent enhancements. It's definitely ya and kind of predictable at times and then it ...more
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The nitty-gritty: A fast-paced sci-fi adventure, with one of the coolest concepts I’ve ever run across, and a twist that you won’t see coming.

I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Will McIntosh’s adult novels (Love Minus Eighty and Defenders) but this is the first book of his I've read. In his YA debut, McIntosh has come up with a truly awesome idea and built an exciting and engaging story around it, with well-drawn and sympathetic characters. Much of the story revolves around the mystery of

Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, sci-fi, fiction, adventure

This story was so much fun. I love the concept and the delivery on this. The world building and imagination in this story was pretty addictive. Plus, a male protagonist was such a nice change of pace.

This story starts off with Sully, our protagonist, selling spheres at his flea market booth. A girl named Hunter shows up and tries to sell him a rare forest green sphere. From there we learn about how Sully once found a really rare ruby red and how he got stiffed for it. The spheres just showed up
La La
It would be 2.5 stars on my blog. The premise of this story was super fresh and interesting and I was rooting for it to be a five star read after a meh, a DNF, and an ugh read. At 25% I let myself read the synopsis and some of the non-spoilery reviews. Many of the reviews said it was great and then tanked in the backhalf. I was hoping that I would not think likewise. After I passed the 50% mark and was still loving it I breathed a sigh of relief, but my contentment was short lived.

Somewhere bet
Mar 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 that I'm rounding up. This started out a 3 briefly went to a 4 and then quickly deteriorated to a 1. Very frustrating book with a ton of potential that never, at least for me, panned out. It was entertaining in parts but there is much much better YA out there. ...more
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
An easy and simplistic read that is much more suited to the middle grade audience who enjoy action / adventure. Quick and entertaining.
Jan 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very entertaining with a great premise! I think younger teens in particular will love it. 3.5 stars

Feb 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, 2016
Very near ideas that could be much fun - unfortunately, weak couple of protagonists with cringe-inducing interactions.
Jun 10, 2016 rated it liked it

It started off good but it went nowhere.
Brittany S.
Initial Impressions 2/23/16: 3.5 - 3.75 stars | Well, I will agree that was a "crazy and surprising climax"! Was it what I wanted it to be? No. Not at all. But it wrapped up the book with plenty of fast-paced action.
This is a weird rating for me because I actually really enjoyed the book the whole time. (Or until the ending?) I LOVED the idea of the spheres, the different colors, and the abilities they gave people. Anything with colors and/or powers and very specific rules and I am there. I was
Nemo (The Moonlight Library)

Overnight they appeared – spheres that granted enhanced properties like straight teeth, intelligence, and strength when a pair were ‘burned’. Some were rarer than others, and so a business grew around hunting these spheres. And that’s how Sully and Hunter met. But no one know if these mysterious spheres are a gift from God or something far worse – after all, they used to say cigarettes were good for you, right?

Sully is known as the kid who lost the Cherry Reds – when he sold them to a
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Will McIntosh is a Hugo Award-winning science fiction author, as well as a finalist for eleven other awards. His alien invasion novel Defenders was optioned by Warner Brothers for a feature film, while Love Minus Eighty, was named the best SF novel of 2013 by the American Library Association. Coming in 2016 are his first young adult novel, Burning Midnight (Penguin Random House), about a pair of t ...more

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