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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Review: 13 to Life by Shannon Delany

With all the vampire and werewolf books out like mushrooms recently, I am a bit skeptical to try reading this book. I saw Jennifer Murgia, the author of Angel Star’s tweet saying that this was a good book so I gave it a try.

I have to say, this made me think that books with werewolves aren’t so bad after all.

Title: 13 to Life
Author: Shannon Delany
Pages: 308


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.

Jessie’s a teen who's got a lot of angst inside of her, she's got a lot of things to think about, and really, she can make the worst decisions at the worst possible time. She even made that one mistake of pushing away the guy she likes to a friend. She’s a wreck, she's a mess. She's mourning over her mother and her loss, but oblivious to her, what she's doing was not only bad for her, but its also affecting everyone around her. She was stuck into mourning that it seemed like nothing else mattered.

In some ways, I admire her. I wouldn't be able to stand in front of someone who caused me so much pain and help her "change", help her live her life again and get back on her feet.

Why she was hell bent on “saving” Sarah and giving her a chance to change was beyond me. I don’t know if Jessie is just nice, or what it was she saw in Sarah that made her worth saving. Maybe it was her false sense of responsibility, or her way of coping with her mother’s death, seeing that she was able to save Sarah, which she wasn’t able to do to her own mother, thus she should try help her live again because she’s there, and her mother isn’t.

Pietr, on the other hand, I find very intriguing. Ever since he appeared on the story I wanted to pick him apart and see who he really was. The mysterious approach worked very well for him. Also, I love it how he's very protective of Jessie. So wolves can be very possessive and territorial when it comes to the girl they love.

But, as much as I like Pietr, the longer I read about him, the longer I have more questions in my head. Dropping hints about his true self doesn’t really work on Jessie since she’s daft and dense. I kept on guessing how and when he’s going to tell her, and the “waiting” to reveal himself seemed too long for me.

But when it happened, everything just came together and it became clear why Pietr was reluctant to do so.
“This is what I am, Jess,”

“How can you ever care for someone—something like this?” he demanded. The mess in his hand quivered as his body shook in self loathing.
Who could love someone who becomes a beast, a monster, when the full moon is out? The struggle and the doubt, the pain and sorrow, the uncertainty he felt, you can feel it.

I really like Amy’s character. She's a strong girl with a lot of sass and she's very spunky, the type of girl I always admire, that one character who can be strong and support the heroine. She can be a good friend but she's also one who can knock some sense into Jessie. Like this:
“Don’t what-do-you-mean me. Sarah was driving the frikkin’ car that night. She’s not legal now, she sure wasn’t legal then.” Her eyes glowed grimly. “Her joyride cost you your mother.”
“Stop it,” I whispered.
“What? You don’t want to hear it? What, not here, not now? Crap, Jessie! Wake up. She killed your mom, and you helped feed her in the hospital. You’re so stuck on forgiving her, you’ve forgotten to forgive yourself!”
And... Amy-Max, anyone?

So what’s left is Sarah, who is antagonist personified in this story. She’s the queen bee who fell from grace because of a mistake she did, but still very much evil inside no matter what kind of head trauma she’s got. Kudos to her for being the evil girl that she was, and I did think she deserved what happened to her.

Story-wise, this is a thrilling read, a love story with a delightful supernatural twist. The mystery and intrigue, and admittedly, the questions I kept asking as I go on were enough of a drive for me to finish this. Though it may take you a while to get hooked, when you finally do, it’s going to be a really nice read.

What kept me from rating this 5 though was the length of time and the number of pages it took for Pietr to reveal who he really was to Jessie even though we already know what he is. And then there were numerous points left hanging in the story, most of which was only resolved when you reach the last 20 pages of the book. It was frustrating for me to see how fast-paced the story became when it was suddenly and very abruptly cut short, I had to re-read the last two pages just to be sure it was the end. And what had happened to Derek? Jenny? And most importantly, Sarah?

As with most books with a sequel, I think the end, which was definitely an indication for a second book, should have been written better. But you have to admit, the cliff hanger made you anticipate the second book, right? And I’m eagerly waiting for it!

Rating: ★★★★☆ : FANTASTIC! - This is a really nice book. I love it!


  1. Oh I am so glad this was a good read! I cant wait! :D

  2. Good review I really love this series.


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