Monday, January 30, 2012

13 Gifts

13 Gifts by Wendy Mass (NY: Scholastic, 2011).

Tara Brennan is paying a high price for what amounts to a lapse in judgment--and it's her mom's fault anyway.  Mom wanted Tara to make friends, so how was Tara to know that volunteering to help a popular girl steal a goat from the principal's office would end so disastrously.  Never mind that, though.  Now Tara is being forced to spend the summer in the middle of nowhere with relatives she barely knows instead of in Madagascar helping with her mother's  research expedition investigating the mating habits of lemurs as she expected. Once she arrives in Willow Springs, she finds that her relatives are the least of her concerns in a town where strange is actually normal.  Tara finds herself indebted to the owner of an unusual shop who insists that Tara locate thirteen items before her thirteenth birthday, or else, the woman insinuates, Tara's soul will be in peril, and maybe even the fate of the town!  Luckily, Tara enlists the aid of some new acquaintances who not only help her find the items, but also teach her about friendship she's never imagined she could have.

Mass has once again concocted the perfect blend of magical plot elements and characters plus realistic problems that makes reading her novels so rewarding. Fans of 11 Birthdays will enjoy revisiting some familiar names and places, though 13 Gifts easily stands alone--and is an outstanding read for ages 9 & up.  Highly recommended!

No comments: