Thirteens by Kate Alice Marshall
Neil Gaiman’s Coraline meets Stranger Things in a dark and twisted story about a sleepy town with a dark secret–and the three kids brave enough to uncover it.
Twelve-year-old Eleanor has just moved to Eden Eld to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother was killed in a fire. Her birthday, which falls on Halloween, is just around the corner, and she hopes that this year will be a fresh start at a new life. But then one morning, an ancient grandfather clock counting down thirteen hours appears outside of her bedroom. And then she spots a large black dog with glowing red eyes prowling the grounds of her school. A book of fairytales she’s never heard of almost willingly drops in front of her, as if asking to be read. Something is wrong in the town of Eden Eld.
Eleanor and her new classmates, Pip and Otto, are the only ones who see these “wrong things,” and they also all happen to share a Halloween birthday. Bonded by these odd similarities, the trio uncovers a centuries-old pact the town has with a mysterious figure known as Mr. January: every thirteen years, three thirteen-year-olds disappear, sacrificed in exchange for the town’s unending good fortune. This Halloween, Mr. January is back to collect his payment and Eleanor, Pip, and Otto are to be his next offering…unless they can break the curse before the clock strikes thirteen.
Thirteens is a perfect Halloween/fall read for all ages. It was definitely creepy for a middle grade book, but also so much fun to read.
Eleanor moved in with her pregnant aunt and uncle after her mom tried to kill her. She grew up hearing weird stories from her mom. There was a book of fairy tales, but they were not what you would think of when you hear it. Eleanor saw things that weren’t there and she was worried she was sick like her mom.
Eleanor meets two kids right away and they quickly become friends. Otto was the first and she met Pip later. This friendship was everything! Eleanor thought she was hiding things well, especially after seeing a large dog with glowing eyes. But Pip and Otto noticed. They could see the things, too. The kids talk in private about all the weird things going on in their town and find out about a curse. Every thirteen years, three children are taken. The kids are known at birth. Pip, Otto, and Eleanor all have the same birthmark and all were born on Halloween. They need to figure out what happened in the past to try to stay alive past Halloween. There are clues everywhere, but they also know there are adults in town that are all in on it. They have to survive the creatures, the strange places that shouldn’t be there, and the adults around them.
I gave this book 5 stars. The ending frustrated me, so I really hope we get a second book.
Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for my review copy.
Have you read this? Is it on your TBR?