Friday, November 12, 2010


My son recently turned 13 and it has been a bit of an awakening for me. Because of this I have read a few more YA books than I normally would. It got me thinking about a “13" theme so, I thought I would present a list of 13 books from both the YA and adult fiction collection.

13 Reasons Why- Jay Asher. I must admit I did read this one long before my son turned 13. It is such a mind blowing, heart wrenching novel. When Hannah commits suicide she sends out a number of tapes to people who influenced her decision. The reasons seem so trivial in some ways but when you combine them together with the emotional upheaval of being a teen girl.....well it still isn’t enough reason to commit suicide, but it is a powerful novel. As a side note, it is interesting that the author’s home page lists 13 awards for this novel.

13 Rue Therese - Elena Mauli Sharpiro. I love the cover of this book. It is the story of Louise Brunet who lived through both world wars in France. My main problem with the novel is the footnotes. I must admit that there has only been one work of fiction that I didn’t mind footnotes in and that is The Good Omen, because these notes were very funny. With this and other novels I have found footnotes distract from the story and is a lazy way for an author to write.

SPQR XIII: the Year of Confusion. - John Maddox Roberts. The first SPQR novel was nominated for the Edgar Award for best mystery of the year. The 13th book in the series featuring Sen Decuis Mettellus takes place in 46 B.C. Caius Julius Caesar, Dictator of Rome, decided to change to calendar, which is out-of-sync with the seasons. Shortly after the revision has started two foreigners are murdered and it is up to Decius to investigate.

Thirteen hours - Deon Meyer’s new book from South Africa’s #1 best selling mystery writer. It has recently been short listed for the CWA International Dagger Award. When an American backpacker disappears from Cape Town Detective Benny Griessal has 13 hours to find her; or else!

Lean Mean Thirteen - Janet Evanovich. The (obviously) 13th novel in the Stephanie Plum Series. In this novel, Stephanie’s ex-husband, Dickie Orr, goes missing. It takes all of the people in Stephanie’s life to prove her innocence because God knows Stephanie has enough reasons to want to kill Dickie.

13 bullets - David Wellington. This novel was originally released on-line as a series in 2003. The last vampire alive is imprisoned, yet still manages to infect people in a grand scheme to escape. It is up to Laura Caxton and Serial Deputy Jameson Arkley to hunt down this rogue vampire in Pennsylvania (which the author uses because it rhymes with Transylvania??)

13 Moons - Charles Frasier. This epic novel takes place in pre-civil war Great Smokey Mountain. It is based loosely on the true story of real life frontier man, William Holland Thomas The novel depicts the life of a poor white boy, Will Cooper, who is raised by the Cherokee. His life is changed as the land and society evolves from a frontier into an industrial nation.

Bunker 13 - Aniruddha Bahal. One journal describes investigative reporter Bahal’s novel thus: “Bunker 13 is a sex, drug and espionage nail biter on the Indo-Pak border”. Hey, what more could you want for a page turner?

Thirteen stories and thirteen epitaphs - William T. Vollman. This novel visits the dark side of life and the people who are marginalized from society. The whores, pimps, drug addicts, skin heads and extremists who reside here have fascinating tales. I enjoyed peeking into this world but would never want to live there.

13 : stories that capture the agony and ecstasy of being 13- James Howe. You could never pay me enough money (even all of Bill Gates or Oprah’s wealth) to be thirteen again. This very enjoyable collection of stories will remind you of the trial and tribulations of this age and help you relate to what your neighbour, niece, nephew, son or daughter maybe experiencing.

Room 13 - Henry Garfield. A lot of kids think that high school is hell. Well for this rookie teacher, Marilou McCormick, this school may not be hell but it does have a nightmare classroom. Room 13 is haunted by the spirit of its former eccentric teacher, the students appear to be possessed by classic literature characters and you can’t have a book now-a-days without a vampire or in this case a werewolf. What is one to do......?

 Thirteen gun salute - Patrick O’Brien. O’Brien is known for his well-researched novels of the Royal Navy and the Napoleonic Wars. The 13th novel of the 20 book series of the Aubrey/Maturin Series finds the main characters on a mission to the South China Seas. What make this novel unique in the series is the interaction he has with orangutans. Just that alone makes you want to read it, doesn’t it?

13 (Th1rt33n) - Richard K Morgan. It always gets me when the marketing department for a book has placed numbers as letters as part of the word title of a book. I must admit it does make me judge the book by the cover and in this case I like it. The thirteen in this Science Fiction novel refers to genetically engineered creatures. Marsalis, a “13" himself, has to hunt down a thirteen that has escaped Mars and turned into a serial killer.

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