Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Thirteen Days to Midnight - Patrick Carman
Genre: YA Speculative/Sci-fi
# of pages:
304 (hb)
Publisher: Little Brown
Recommended for: Upper MS & Beyond

You are indestructible. Three whispered words transfer an astonishing power to Jacob Fielding that changes everything. At first, Jacob is hesitant to use the power, unsure of its implications. But there's something addictive about testing the limits of fear.

Then Ophelia James, the beautiful and daring new girl in town, suggests that they use the power to do good, to save others. But with every heroic act, the power grows into the specter of a curse. How to decide who lives and who dies?

RIVETING is how I would describe Patrick Carman's newest book. I literally read this in under 24 hours, and for a burned out, near-sighted college nerd like me, that's pretty good!
The idea behind Thirteen Days to Midnight is just downright fascinating, and it made me think of a mix between X Men and Final Destination. If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Never mind getting to decide what power you had - what if just happened to you, all of the sudden? How would you use it? How would you control it? And what if your superpower turned out to be a supercurse?
It's so great that the lit world has authors like Patrick Carman out there, who can really capture the voice of a young teenage boy and make him seem authentic and likable at the same time.
I had a very easy time relating to Jacob and feeling for the poor guy - he certainly showed a lot of courage and (as Dumbledore would say) 'moral fiber' even when faced with some incredibly challenging situations. His two friends, Milo and Oh, were right by his side the whole time, and I loved Milo in particular - everybody should a friend like Milo! Still don't have a warm, fuzzy feeling for Oh, though. She was so intense that she came off kinda crabby. Like, goodness girl! Eat some chocolate or something!
I do want to point out that the entire book is set (as the title seems to imply) over 13 days.
So the action starts right away. So characters fall in love right away (apparently). So a lot of revelations and secrets come out very quickly, and I wonder what the story would be like if it was just a tad longer...if there were more days on the timetable than just thirteen.
As to some of the more "thematic" parts of the story: it didn't really seem as polished as Carman's most famous series, The Land of Elyon. Here, I still don't know what point Carman was trying to make and what moral lessons he wanted his audience to learn (and the inclusion of a really ambiguous priest spouting off-the-wall weird stuff that I doubt any serious, legit priest would say, only made me more confused).
My thoughts are that this is an engaging, riveting story that will in no time have you hooked, so enjoy the action, because that's the book's main strength. It's a fun, quick read that I definitely recommend to you. In fact, I bought two copies of this book for my 14 year old boy cousins, with a post-it note saying "Ignore the priest, he's weird."

Final Grade

5 shout-outs!:

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

I haven't read this or really any reviews for it either. It sounds like something I'd enjoy though! Great review, Amelia :)

Demitria said...

This is the first time I've heard about this one too. It sounds really good, though.

Danna (Bananas For Books) said...

I haven't heard much about this book, but it sounds awesome! Great review:)

A Canadian Girl said...

I haven't heard much about this book but I like the sound of it from your review.

Julie said...

I've been eying book on the shelves for awhile now, but I wasn't sure what it was about and if I really wanted to read it. Thanks for posting this review and making up my mind! Now I do want to read it!!

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