Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

13 Gifts by Wendy Mass

13 Gifts by Wendy Mass
"When Tara, a self-proclaimed shrinking violet, steals the school mascot, a goat, in order to make some friends with the popular crowd and gets caught, she gets herself in a heap of trouble. In addition, her parents decide that instead of taking her on their summer trip to Madagascar to study the courtship rituals of the Bamboo Lemur, she must go stay with her aunt, uncle, and bratty cousin Emily St. Claire in Willow Falls. Tara thinks it's a good time to start over; she'll be turning 13 after all, so she might as well make the best of it and perhaps even attempt to break out of her shell (in a non-criminal manner). What Tara doesn't know is that this charmed town has something big in store for her on her 13th birthday. It's not a typical birthday. But then again, nothing is Willow Falls is exactly typical!"- summary from Amazon

I really enjoyed 11 Birthdays and had no idea that Mass had started writing a series of books taking place in Willow Falls. By the time I had gotten 13 Gifts, I'd forgotten that Willow Falls was the setting for 11 Birthdays so it was a surprise when Amanda and Leo showed up here (along with Rory from Finally 12, which I own but haven't yet read). It was fun seeing those characters again and being in the strange town of Willow Falls.

There's just something about Mass' writing that's just so compelling. Her stories are just so interesting and original. That's what keeps me coming back to her novels whenever a new one comes out. She is seriously one of my favorite writers and one I look up to. If you haven't read a Wendy Mass book yet, you really need to and you will thank me for it. Her stories, especially this birthday series, are really cool in that they utilize a bit of magic even though it's a realistic story about growing up and learning who you are. It's a bit of an interesting twist.

I loved Tara as a narrator and really enjoyed following along on her journey as she collects the gifts and then uses them for a new, bigger project. Like I said before, it was also cool to see Amanda and Leo back again, as well as some other new characters (some may be old but I have a bad memory when it comes to books I read over two years ago, lol). The interactions between them were fun to read and I did giggle quite a bit throughout reading. Also, there were a couple unanswered questions and I hope Mass answers them in another Birthday book because I wanna know what happens!

Overall, a fantastic new addition to Mass' Birthdays series, and I cannot wait to see what she writes next. I may also have to dig up my copy of Finally 12 and read it. After reading this, I was really curious to see what happened to Rory in that book.

FTC: Received ARC at BEA (and also bonded with the Scholastic person over how awesome Wendy Mass is). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.


  1. These sound really cute!! I like the idea of a loosely connected series like this sounds!
    :) I'll try to check them out!

    Thanks for the lovely review, James

  2. I love Mass' books. Every book I read was so good. I just finished the series. I hope she writes more stories too! Her books taught me lessons about life and friendship. They also taught me to appreciate friends and family. I have also read Every Soul a Star. She is an amazing writer. I find myself crying and laughing over the books, sharing the character's feelings. I am so sorry I am just now reading this book. It is AMAZING that there could be a writer that can write with that feeling, though I do read many similar books, none really teach me lessons or have as much kid to character similariteies. Well done, Wendy!:)

  3. I can't wait to get this book signed by her at shcool all her books are awesome.

  4. 13 Gifts sounds like an awesome book! What grade level would you recommend?

    1. No maybe 5th 6th or 7th grade

  5. I really liked the book 13 Gifts. I am now reading Mass' book "Leap Day". its really good so far. :)