13 to Life by Shannon Delany

Posted On 7 November 2010

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This is a book about Jessie, 16 years old, struggling to come to terms with her mothers death and living with her father and sister on a horse farm in a small town called Junction.  Jessie becomes responsible for the new boy at school when she is asked to act as his guide.  Peitr Rusakova has just moved to Junction with his brothers and sister and he’s much more than a good looking boy with a Russian accent.  Pietr’s whole family is surrounded by a dark mystery and Jessie soon becomes caught up.

I actually really enjoyed this book and read it in two evenings as it was just such an easy read. And, it’s strange really, because I probably have more criticisms and unanswered questions than I have with any other book that I’ve read for a long time.  In terms of criticisms, for example, there are a lot of similarities to other books of this genre, high school romance, bitchy girls, love triangles, always absent parent/parents, scenes in the gym, plus all the references to Pietr being a monster (lot of similarities with Twilight – where it is dangerous for the girl to be left alone with the boy).   But, there are bound to be similarities in this age range – of course the stories will revolve a lot around school, of course the parents will be absent at convenient times of the story – otherwise things just wouldn’t happen after all, of course there are bitchy girls and jealouses.

Then there are all my unanswered questions, for example, why on earth is Jessie such a good friend to Sarah – to be perfectly frank it wouldn’t have surprised me if she hated her given the circumstances and yet Sarah just walked all over Jessie constantly.  Why were wolves lingering around the farm at the start of the book?  Why was Pietr so determined to stick with Jessie in school – he had so much attention from all the other females (including the adults) and it wasn’t immediately obvious that he liked Jessie (or that she had any attraction to him)?  What was the whole Derek line about??  And why on earth did Pietr let Jessie push him into a situation that in the end neither of them were happy with???  Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition (do they?)!!

But, in spite of all the above, and more, I did like this book.  I liked Jessie – even though she got on my nerves on a few occasions.  I liked Amy and thought Jessie should definitely pay her more attention.  I liked Pietr and his family.  I thought the romance was nicely written and I didn’t mind the fact that up until the end of the book it read almost like an everyday highschool drama with no paranormal activity involved.  And, in fairness I think this book is just setting us up for the next installment which promises to be good.

I would recommend this book.

Rating B+

13 to Life

13 to Life

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