13 Gifts

by Wendy Mass
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

Category: Copyright 2011

Personal Evaluation: One of these days I will stop gushing about Wendy Mass… maybe. This book completes the trilogy formed by 11 Birthdays and Finally, although it took me a while to realize that Finally took place in the same town as 11 Birthdays (since it focuses on a different character). Mass has an ear for dialogue and for how kids think and act. I loved how various aspects and characters of the first two books came together in this one.

What might interest children: There is some serious magic going on in this town, but only some of the residents are aware of it. The reader is part of this exclusive club and privy to its secrets. As hard as Mass tries to appeal to boys and girls, these will probably fall into girls’ hands more often than boys’, although a librarian I worked with used 11 Birthdays for her 4th/5th grade book club and said that kids of both genders liked it. Then again, the main characters of 11 Birthdays were a boy and a girl; the main characters of the other two books were both girls. I think kids will like how the ending ties all three books together and that the characters grow and learn a lot about themselves. It’s also a taste of small-town life for those who did not grow up in one.

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