Saturday, August 20, 2011

Kid Konnection: 13 Gifts by Wendy Mass (Review and Giveaway)

13 Gifts by Wendy Mass
(Rated: C)
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0545310031
Published Sept 2011
Hardcover, 352 pages

Tara's parents send her to stay with relatives in the small town of Willow Falls during the summer. She barely knows them and resents her parents for this. She doesn't have strong social skills and because her family has moved often she does not make friends easily. But then Tara meets Angelina D'Angelo, a strange old woman, and everything changes. It's the summer she turns 13 and discovers more about friendships and her own family than ever before.

My daughter and I were thrilled when we received Wendy Mass' new book to review! We were even more excited to find that 13 Gifts is the third book set in Willow Falls. The first is 11 Birthdays, which we haven't read, and the second is Finally, which we loved. What's more, 13 Gifts has several of the great characters from both previous books. My daughter was so happy that Rory, the main character in Finally was back in this book.

What can I say, we LOVED this one too! It has all the trademarks of a Wendy Mass book. Quirky characters, mystery, suspense, a good dose of friendships, magical elements and twists and turns along the way to a surprise ending where everything that happened along the way now makes perfect sense. We hurriedly turned the pages to see how it would all turn out, and just when we thought we knew, something else came up! Mass is a wonderful storyteller. My daughter loved the fact that everything was connected and that Tara's summer was the best she'd ever had. She stayed up late at night reading this one.

Tara makes some wrong decisions along the way and learns from the consequences. She is somewhat shy and wants so badly to rectify things but doesn't know how. I liked her independence, but it's clear that having friends and adult intervention is important in the life of a middle-grader. The story touches on topics that tweens can easily relate to: making friends, trying to understand why parents make certain decisions, boy crushes, team work, discovering one's creativity and making a difference in other people's lives.

As a parent, I love the fact that Mass knows how to blend or include parental love in such a way that it does not take over what is clearly a book for tweens. The theme that family is important is easily weaved into the kids' adventures and internal struggles, making this very much a part of the appeal of a Wendy Mass book. For this reason I think 13 Gifts would make a great selection for a mother/daughter book club. Highly recommended!

I am giving away a copy of this fantastic book during A Blogtastic Extravaganza. Giveaway ends tomorrow. So hurry and enter here!

I will count this book toward the following challenges: Middle Grade Book Challenge

Disclosure: Thanks to Nikole Kritikos from Scholastic Canada for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

Every Saturday, Booking Mama hosts a feature called Kid Konnection—a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, visit Booking Mama.

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  1. I picked up this one at BEA and can't wait to read it. Booking Daughter and I count Wendy Mass as one of our favorite authors.

  2. I love Wendy Mass and hope to read this one soon!

  3. I'll have to mention this book to my daughter. She's started 11 Birthdays and loves it so far.


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