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August 1, 2011

Review: 13 to Life by Shannon Delany

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...
After I read the prequel novella of this series, Beasts and BFFs, I knew that I had to get my hands on a copy of 13 to Life. Sure enough, four months later, I found it at a bargain price in Amazon's Kindle store. What I got out of it was a ton and a half of mixed feelings, mostly positive but some negative.

Jessica Gillmansen, the female protagonist, is a high school student with a tragic past. Despite her grief from the loss of her mother, Jessie is managing her life just fine...until Pietr Rusakova shows up. Now, I don't see the need to elaborate too much on the story itself because the blurb tells you just about everything that happens in a nutshell. I liked Jessica's character, as she was intelligent, selfless, and kind at heart, but some of her decisions made me want to throw things. As for Pietr, I absolutely adored him. Foreign guys with accents are just about always a WIN. ;)

I can't post this without mention some of the negative aspects of 13 to Life, so here goes. I'll try to be quick, like ripping off a Band-aid. Though I enjoyed seeing the depth of the characters, the plot was a little too slow and dull for me. Most of the story was spent dwelling on teenage angst and the relationship between Jessica and Pietr, which would have been fine if there was a little more action going on. You get a taste of suspense close to the end, but it wasn't quite enough for me. It was also rather predictable.

Despite some of the flaws, I enjoyed 13 to Life. Even though it seemed to be used as a setting and story developer instead of a fast-paced novel, I think the series as a whole has a lot of potential. I can't wait to see what happens in the second book, Secrets and Shadows.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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