Friday, August 13, 2010

13 to Life by Shannon Delany

Title: 13 to Life
Author: Shannon Delany
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Paperback, 308 pages
Date Published: June 22, 2010

Description (Taken 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 was skeptical about whether or not I would enjoy 13 to Life because it just seemed like another addition to the ever-growing pile of overdone subjects. I figured it would be a nice little werewolf tale filled with the prerequisite bad boy and the sweet, innocent girl who goes gaga over him. Werewolves, vampires, even fairies have become a popular topic for YA novels and it’s rare to find something that sticks out in the genre.

Shannon Delany does more than just give us another werewolf tale, she delivers an intriguing and original story with this remarkable debut. I was surprised at just how much I adored this book, but I knew from the first page that it was something special. The characters are absolutely incredible. Jessica is a rarity for a heroine, in that she is strong and intelligent and 100% selfless. She considers the consequences of every move she makes and doesn’t allow her attraction to the new boy Pietr make her rash or impulsive. Pietr is unquestionably the epitome of a sexy bad boy, yet it’s clear that there is so much more to him hiding beneath the surface. I was instantly taken with him and his entire Russian family. Even the more minor characters jump off the pages. Pietr’s family has this allure about them that draws you in instantly. Jessica’s friend Amy is wonderfully hilarious and my kind of girl, while Sarah has her own story beneath her shiny surface. Jessica’s sister Annabelle Lee isn’t in the book too much, but Delany gives her some of the best one-liners and I couldn’t help but laugh every time she let one rip.

The thing I enjoyed the most about 13 to Life was the writing style. Delany easily draws the reader in, but her writing style will hold you because it feels almost intimate. Emotion emanates from every word and I was caught from the beginning. Werewolves aren't even the main focus of the book, but a side plot that builds the suspense. Mystery and intrigue seem to surround Jessica. From her relationship with Sarah, to the mysterious phantom werewolf of a neighboring town, to the new boy Pietr. There is not one thing about Jessica’s life that isn’t either complicated or shrouded with secrets and that makes this a delectable tale that I easily devoured and am now left salivating (like a dog...or wolf) for more.

13 to Life is a perfectly-paced, intriguing debut from a talented author that I hope to see so much more from in the future.

Opening line (From prologue): Rio stiffened beneath my touch, striking a glossy hoof against the floor. ~ pg. 1

Opening line (from ch. 1): I closed the door behind me, heading down the hallway and straight to Hell. ~ pg. 4

Favorite line: “I’ll call all my crack clients and host a rave,” Annabelle Lee said without skipping a beat. ~ pg. 98
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.


brandileigh2003 said...

Great review and book

Trisha said...

Great review!! I really want to read this book..

I also wanted to let you know that I started a new weekly post called, Link Your Reviews.. I hope you can make time to stop in and check it out and participate! =)

Bere said...

Wonderful review, Nikki! Oh, how I want to read this book. Now even more with your brilliant review. I need to get this one soon. Thanks so much for your review, Nikki. =)

Jules@OneBookShy said...

I can't wait to read this book. Excellent review, as usual!

BTW, there is an award for you on my blog!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can't wait for the next one.

And thank you so much Jules :D I just stopped by to check out the award and leave a comment.

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