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Monday, June 21, 2010

Review: 13 to Life by Shannon Delany

Title: 13 to Life:
Author: Shannon Delany
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 06/22/10
Everything about Jessie Gillmansen’s life changed when her mother died. Now even her hometown of Junction is changing. Mysterious dark things are happening. All Jessie wants is to avoid more change. But showing a hot new guy around Junction High, she’s about to discover a whole new type of change. Pietr Rusakova is more than good looks and a fascinating accent -- he’s a guy with a dangerous secret. And his very existence is sure to bring big trouble to Jessie’s small town. It seems change is the one thing Jessie can’t avoid...

Plot: 4 Stars
Sometimes I don't like reading a novel in which, as the reader, I know what the mysterious boy's secret is. This was not one of those novels. Although I knew Pietr's secret before Jessie, I really enjoyed reading about all of the events that led her to figuring it out. I loved the scene where he flat out tells her, and she thinks he's joking and gets mad. It was refreshing to read about characters in a YA that have to take the bus. More often that not, I find that they characters either have cars or the detail of how they get to school is just forgotten. With only a couple chapters left, I was left wondering when the conflict/resolution would take place, but the last couple chapters really pack a punch and blew my expectations out of the water.

Pace: 4 Stars
There were a few times when the vague mentions of the past, mainly to the loss of Jessie's mother and the change in her friend Sarah, were a bit annoying because I just wanted to know what happened. But the author did a very good job weaving the information about the past into the novel without just taking a chapter or two to do an information dump on the reader. It flowed quite well, along with the rest of the novel, and was a very non-boring way to explain what had happened in the past.

Characters: 4 Stars
Jessie was a wonderful character filled with many positive qualities, but faults as well. She's one on the most complex, well-developed characters I've read in a while. For the small part she played, her younger sister, Annabelle Lee was hilarious. Her nose was always in a book and she had a sarcastic streak that was very advance for her young age. I enjoyed Jessie's two best friends, Amy and Sara, and I look forward to future books to see if the past will start affecting Sara more. Pietr was a perfect balance of mysterious and normal. Too often, the mysterious boy also comes across as kinda creepy, but Pietr didn't. I also enjoyed reading about Pietr's siblings and hope to read more about them too in future books.

Cover: 3.5 Stars
The cover of this novel is very striking. I like how the boy's eye is overlayed onto the moon, as if he's watching over the girl on the cover. Although I wasn't the biggest fan of the nose I saw overlayed on the side a tiny bit. I wish we could've seen the cover model a bit more, because I like to get a mental picture for the character, even if it doesn't quite match the description in the story. The blue hues used for the cover help give it the mysterious feel that is felt throughout the novel.

Overall: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received my copy for review from the publisher St. Martin's Press.


  1. Great review! I finished this today and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I rather liked the cover though! It really caught my attention when I saw it at RT a few months ago and I had to know more about it! So I was ecstatic to have found the book this weekend and devoured it pretty quickly too!

  2. I enjoyed your review. Makes me want to read the book, which I might buy soon. I also like reading about real people who either have to take a bus, or drive a car that's not brand new.


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