Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Thirteen to Life
Author: Shannon Delany
Publisher: St. Martin’s (June 22, 2010)
Reading Level: YA
Source: ARC for review
Excerpt from GoodReads:
Something strange is stalking the small town of Junction…
When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom. Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort.
The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide--secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.
I am really thankful for The Story Siren’s (Kristi) 2010 Debut Challenge. It has given me a great excuse to purchase about 25 books as they have come out (yes, even though I have a review copy I have also pre-ordered the book) and also help spread the news about some great new authors. One of those authors that I have really enjoyed getting to know through Twitter and other on-line sources is Shannon Delany. Her book THIRTEEN TO LIFE was one that I was eagerly awaiting, especially since Paranormal YA stories with a romance is one of my favorite categories. So I was especially eager to read it when it arrived in the mail.
There are a few qualities that all my favorite books have in common. First, I love when I start a book and can't (or don't want to) put it down. Second, I really have to love the characters. I can forgive a lot if I enjoy the characters in the story. Third, I like little twists on traditional mythology. Fourth, I love having some humor in a book. Finally, do I think it will be an easy book to book talk or recommend. Let's see how THIRTEEN TO LIFE scored.
When I first pick up a book to read, I can’t help but judge it by how long it takes me to read the story. There is a huge difference in a book where I nearly need to set a timer in order to keep reading it versus a book where I don’t put it down until I am finished with the last page. With THIRTEEN TO LIFE, I am happy to say that I started the book at about 7 or 8 p.m. and stayed up until 3 a.m. in order to finish it. Fortunately, I didn't have work the next day or I would have been one very tired educator. I was not deadline to get it finished and I was actually on break so there wasn't exactly a lot competing for my attention, and yet, I really wanted to find out how the story was going to turn out.
THIRTEEN TO LIFE was off to a good start. So what did I think about the characters? Hot boys with accents!! Okay, to be fair to Shannon there were certainly more than just hot boys with accents. The story is about Jess, a high school junior, who has recently suffered the loss of her mother in an accident. Jess is a bright student who loves horses and has a crush on one of the boys in her high school. Pietr is a new student at school with a mysterious background. Pietr resides with his older brothers and twin sister. Jess lives on a farm with her father, and younger sister. I liked Jess and Pietr. I liked them together, and I liked the parts of the story with them together. Of course, the story would be pretty boring if there wasn't some conflict surrounding their being together. It is difficult to discuss this part without giving too much away. I will say that I had the feeling that Delany was looking for a more unique twist on the expected love triangle. Unfortunately, the one area of the book that may not have worked for me was Sarah's tie in on with the love triangle. Sarah is a friend of Jess who has an interesting connection to what happened to Jess's mother. Though this storyline did not always work for me, it didn't distract me from the main focus of the story. However, I predict that I haven't seen the last of Sarah and expect that there will be some interesting developments in later books.
Some additional thoughts about the minor or secondary characters. One of the things I can't help but notice are the adults in YA novels. I am always curious how they will be portrayed and what kind of relationship will the main character have with them. Jess' relationship with her father was believable. She had a variety of feelings about the teachers and staff at the school which was also believable and her feelings towards her father's possible romantic interest was also something that seemed natural.
I am not giving anything away in saying that the story is about werewolves. So it isn't surprising to the reader to discover that Pietr and his family are werewolves. I did enjoy Delany's explanation behind how they had come to be werewolves. The Cold War and Russian tie-ins were a nice change from some of the other werewolf stories.
Remember I mentioned above that I loved when a story had humor? There were quite a few times where I found myself either laughing out loud or snickering at a line or a scene in the story. And I especially loved that Shannon found ways to even have a little fun at the expense of paranormal stories within the story.
Finally, THIRTEEN TO LIFE will appeal to readers who are fond of YA paranormal romance. Will it persuade a die-hard vampire fan to become a wolf fan?! I am not sure I can answer this for anyone else, but I can say that this vampire girl certainly enjoyed the wolves in the story.
This was a fun read and a great debut novel from Shannon Delany. I am glad that I discovered it through the 2010 Debut Novel Challenge and I do look forward to the second book in the series.
Contest: Here's your chance to win a copy of Thirteen To Life by Shannon Delany -
1. Leave a comment about why you are interested in winning the book
2. Tweet about this contest - please include @alybee930 in the tweet so I can keep track of the tweets
I will pick one random name from those who have both commented and tweeted about the contest.
Contest will end on Tuesday, June 15, 2010.