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The Switching Hour

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  109 ratings  ·  30 reviews
A bewitchingly beautiful, spine-chilling story of courage, friendship and fears that come alive after dark...

Never stay out after the Switching Hour...

never let the outside in...

Amaya lives with her grandmother, her small brother Kaleb and her pet goat in a land suffering a terrible drought.

Every night, the doors must be locked after twilight, the Switching Hour, because t
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 1st 2019 by Scholastic
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Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  109 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Damaris Young
May 29, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Never stay out after the Switching Hour… never let the outside in….

Amaya lives with her grandmother, her small brother Kaleb and her pet goat Tau in a land suffering a terrible drought. Every night, the doors must be locked at twilight, the Switching Hour, because the drought has awoken Badeko, a creature that snatches children away to eat their dreams.

Three days later, the memory that they existed is gone from those that knew them, and those that are left are afflicted with The Sorrow Sickness
Belles Middle Grade Library
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow what a book! This was great! Such a creepy suspenseful read. Badeko is such a scary monster! It snatches kids & devours their dreams. After so many days the loved ones of the snatched kids completely forget them, & they get the sorrow sickness. So every night, at twilight you’re supposed to stay inside w/the doors locked so he can’t get you. Amaya is a great main character. She has been through so much. Grief is a main part of this story, & is dealt w/so well. She is strong & brave. Loved he ...more
Lydia Massiah
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this wonderful MG story really quickly as it was so gripping!

Young Amaya's quest kept me on the edge of my seat, as she travels through a drought-ravaged landscape to find her little brother Kaleb, and rescue him from the dreadful monster, the Badeko, before the Sorrow Sickness wipes all memory of him from her mind.
Beautiful, evocative writing capturing lands filled with dagger-tooth jackals, wrathclaw cats, heat, dust, and most of all - fear of the Switching Hour: when night falls, and
L.G. Cunningham
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful storytelling. The author has created a downright terrifying monster! I'm not ashamed to admit that I had a nightmare about the Badeko - which may be ironic, right?

This story also delicately touches on dealing with loss and grief, the importance of family, finding your inner strength and ultimately facing your fears. Perfect addition for your Halloween TBR pile!
Kate Foster
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book! It's a mix of The Circus of Stolen Dreams and Labyrinth. Spooky, creepy, mysterious, but exciting and magical at the same time. For kids who love something a little darker, this is absolutely perfect for them. ...more
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I met the author and got my book signed, and I read it the same day! It was wonderful, really terrifying but brilliant and it kept me on the edge of my seat. A must read!
Dec 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This was a nice read. I really enjoyed it and I found it to be quite different from other children's books. It always nice to read about a strong female character!
I did find that there were a few plot holes or elements that could not have been plausible ((view spoiler)
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A gripping middle grade story of survival against the evil monster called Badeko, of a friendship that will last even through hardship and the importance of love amongst family. That even though they may no longer be around in this world, it is still possible to keep them constant on our memories and to remember them in all their glory. 

I really thought that somehow the main character, Amaya was the one who was going to be kidnapped but it turns out that she's the one who has to rescue his broth
Mary Rees
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh wow! This was a captivating, spine-tingling read imbued throughout with an underlying sense of danger in an environment of stifling heat, inspired by the landscape of Southern Africa. The writing is exquisite and lyrical and took me on the most incredible journey of fear, awe and heartbreak, but also let me see the incredible bravery and strength of others in the face of seeming hopelessness and abject loss … this really is a story to be devoured in a single sitting.
Twelve-year-old Amaya’s c
I haven't read much Middle Grade so take this with a pinch of salt because maybe my issues were staples of the genre.

On the one hand Damaris Young is excellent at building tension, I spent 90% of the book anxious! Considering it's a mystery surrounding supernatural monsters stealing children I think is how you should feel!

On the other hand, part of the tension was due to the silly choices that the characters made, often. I know they're about 12/13 and I was probably an idiot aged 12/13. At the s
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
An atmospheric read set during a drought, with a dream-eating monster that kept me looking over my shoulder as I read. The setting was so immersive, I was right there feeling the heat and parched dryness. For example,
The heat stung my scalp and I could smell my skin burning as my shoulders absorbed the sun.

I read this in just two sittings over the course of a day. There's plenty of peril to keep the pages turning, and a resourceful protagonist and deliciously creepy antagonist to make you not
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Few books in my recent (reading) past have captivated me quite like The Switching Hour. The concept is simple, yet marvellous, a fabled monster that comes with the drought and takes away children and feasts on their dreams. Anaya has to go in search of her little brother, Kaleb when he is taken by the monster, Badeko. Okay, it’s a little bit dark but it deals carefully with themes of loss and the hurt children go through when they find themselves sharing their parent(s) with a new sib
Mar 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The story is just incredibly satisfying with a very fun storyline and set of characters. Amaya leaves the door unlocked, forgetting what her grandmother tells her. Because of this, Amaya's little brother is taken by a monster, Badeko, that sings a song with no words, puts children to sleep, and devours their dreams. Amaya. She is determined to bring him back, entering a forest after the switching hour. The story features a variety of characters whose personalities are extremely enjoyable to read ...more
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book really surprised me. I felt that the author kept me on the edge of my seat, so panicked about the 'Switching Hour'. I enjoyed the story and the pictures being painted were so striking; it left a vivid imprint in my mind. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would love to use this as a class text. However, I think this is designed more for UKS2 and beyond. Still a very thrilling read and one I am sure to revisit again. ...more
Rebecca Rouillard
Dec 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A haunting, atmospheric story about a land gripped by a terrible drought that has awoken the Badeko - a monster that steals children away during the 'switching hour' and leave their families with a terrible sorrow sickness that causes them to forget their children ever existed. When Amaya's little brother Kaleb is taken, Amaya knows it is her fault and she must travel into the forest to face the terrifying Badeko and get her brother back. ...more
Julia Thum
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
If, like me, you like a lot of the natural world, a sprinkling of magic, a good dose of environmental awareness and a riveting adventure in your stories, then The Switching Hour is the one for you.
It is a story about hope, courage and the importance of family. It is a thrilling adventure and I urge you to read it.
Juliette Forrest
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Damaris Young brings your senses alive with this beautifully written tale of drought, adventure and the unbreakable bonds of family. Watch out for Bedeko - I absolutely love a book with a creature that gives you the shivers and this one is genius. A stunning debut that is a must-read.
Mar 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
I only gave 4 stars because I wished that the main character was described more. The book has a lot of emotion and got more exciting as the story went on. The creatures in the book were scary, but cool. Such an exciting adventure you go on in The Switching Hour. Must read for kids my age. (I'm 10) ...more
H.M. Waugh
A deliciously spooky book. With goats. What more can I say?
Vincent Ripley
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book review to follow soon on ...more
Anastasia N.
Nov 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Louise Elliott
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a gripping and atmospheric story which had me hooked from the first page. Just brilliant!
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another perfect read for halloween!
Dec 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 11 and above
It was an ok book.
I did find that it was long winded.
Christina Reid
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was fantastically atmospheric and genuinely creepy -Watch out for my full review coming soon!
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended
I raced through this! Beautiful descriptions and edge of your seat stuff. Amazing!
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
Repetitive MG horror.
Emma Read
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful, evocative story, which taps into such a fundamental fear - forgetting. Amaya has to race to save her small brother from the dream-eater, before she forgets he ever existed. Under the scorching, drought-bringing sun this was a breathless, tense read ... thank goodness for Tau the goat, a most loyal, dependable sidekick! I recommend this book to everyone I can, especially KS2 readers.
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The rules is simple; never go out after The Switching Hour, never let the Badeko in and never under any circumstances, leave the door unlocked. Amaya just did all three.

When Amaya forgets to lock the door one night, her younger brother Kaleb soon goes missing and the only 'thing' that has taken him is the Badeko - The creature who feeds off children's dreams.

Amaya must go on a quest to find Kaleb, but it doesn't come without a price. Leaving her home and her only remaining family behind, she mu
Amy (Golden Books Girl)
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’ve been meaning to read this since it came out, and I’m so glad I finally have now because it’s such a great read. It’s the story of Amaya, whose brother Kaleb is stolen away by the sinister monster Badeko who steals children if they are out past the “Switching Hour”, and her quest to rescue him. Amaya is a wonderful character and I admired her strength so much; her love for her brother was so strong and I loved that she was willing to do anything to save him. I also really liked Mally, who sh ...more
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