Darkest Hour (The Mediator)
First edition cover
|Genre||Young adult novel|
Darkest Hour is a young adult novel written by Meg Cabot. It is the fourth part of The Mediator series. The novel was first published in 2001 and was the last of the series to appear under the pseudonym Jenny Carroll. In the UK, it was published with the title Young Blood.
Suze Simon is forced to work a summer job by her stepfather, Andy. She becomes a babysitter at the Pebble Beach Hotel and Golf Resort, where her usual charge is eight-year-old Jack Slater. Suze soon realizes that Jack is miserable because he can see dead people; he is also a mediator. She helps him realizes that ghosts do not mean to do any harm and just want help to go to the afterlife. Soon he becomes more like a typical eight-year-old boy. His older brother, Paul, is impressed by the changes in his brother and asks Suze to join them for dinner, but she refuses and avoids talking to Paul.
Suze's routine is interrupted when her stepfather and stepbrother dig up something in the backyard: letters from a person named Maria de Silva to her fiance, Hector de Silva. Suze realizes that these letters belonged to Jesse. Problems start as Suze is threatened by Maria's ghost, who does not want them to find the letters. Maria starts harassing Suze's family. Suze fears that if she finds Jesse's remains in the backyard, Jesse will move on to the next world.
Suze attempts to give the letters to the Historical Center, where the conservator, Dr. Clive Clemmings, thinks Jesse did not die from murder but ran away from his wedding. Suze notices Maria's picture and a portrait of Jesse in the museum.
The following day, Suze is confronted by the police, who inform her that the conservator is dead and Hector de Silva's portrait is missing. Paul stops them from inquiring her further, saying that he can "attract more flies with honey rather than vinegar", and she finally agrees to go on a date with him.
As Suze returns home from the date, Brad and Andy unearth Jesse's remains in the backyard. Suze assures herself, when she can't find Jesse, that he is only away for a time. Jack then calls her to inform her of his successful exorcism of the "ghost who was bothering Suze" for a long time.
Suze is horrified. She is attacked by Maria de Silva and Felix Diego, her late husband, who helped kill Jesse in the past. They try to kill her, but only give her a concussion by throwing her in the hole Andy and Brad had been working on. The next day, Suze orders Jack to exorcise her. She believes that if she ends up in the same place as Jesse, she can bring him back. Hhowever, Father Dominic prevents the process from occurring.
Father Dom agrees on doing a "proper exorcism" in the Mission. Suze has thirty minutes to find Jesse and come back, or she will die. Jack arrives with a rope to tie around her waist to help her get back.
Suze finds Jesse on the "other side". Jesse initially thinks that Suze exorcised him and then becomes concerned about her safety, attempting to lead her back to their world. However, they become lost because Maria cut Suze's rope. Paul (who is also a mediator) arrives and taunts them. Suze realizes that Paul has been working with Maria and Felix, distracting Suze from saving Jesse from being exorcised. Jesse, furious with Paul's selfish outlook on the mediator "gift", punches him. They barely make it back to the Mission, only to find Maria and Felix Diego attacking Father Dominic. Suze manages to exorcize Maria and Felix, and Jesse decides to stay in the living world.
The Slaters leave the hotel, leaving Suze a huge tip and some cryptic letters. As Suze goes up, she finds Jesse wanting to talk. She says she does not want to talk, for fear of confessing her feelings, but Jesse kisses her.