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Review: 13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale

13 to Life is that rare novel that captures your attention from the first page to the last and leaves you flipping the last page repeatedly looking for more words. It is a sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize there are no more words and you have to wait for the next book. Splendidly, there is a second book in the works! So that is something to look forward too.

The Author

Shannon Delany is a charming woman that I made the acquaintance over the Winchester brothers. Yes, I hooked her on Supernatural and I am proud of it. In the months since we first started talking, I knew she had a book coming out and I knew it was about werewolves. But until last week, I had yet to read it. You'll see more of my review below. The neat part about this book though is that Shannon's novel is the first ever winner of a cell phone novel contest hosted through She wrote the abbreviated version in just five weeks.

The Blurb

Jessica's life seemed difficult enough since the sudden loss of her mother, but meeting Pietr Rusakova turns her world upside down again. The newest member of Junction High, Pietr is a first generation Russian-American, a fact that by itself makes him different enough to get lots of attention in the small town. Add a police escort to school and a mysterious tattoo and Jessica starts to realize Pietr is far more than good looks and an interesting accent.

Pietr has sects to hide – secrets including the dramatic changes he's undergoing that will surely end his life early. His secrets date back to the Cold War and will get the better of Jessica's journalistic curiosity, leading her into an exciting and dangerous world where her understanding of reality will be challenged. Knowing Pietr makes Jessica question, what makes someone a man or a monster?

The Review

Werewolf tales are very popular, but 13 to Life adds a new twist on a very old tale that adds more style and flash than a junior does on her first day of school. Set in the small town of Junction, the reader travels through the tale on the shoulder of Jessica. Her mother died just a few months before in a horrific crash that Jessica witnessed. When Jessica's reflections take you back to the day her mother died, your throat will tighten and your heart will squeeze.

We meet Pietr when Jessica does. His odd behavior and intensity is fascinating to both the reader and to Jessica. You know there is a story there and so does Jessica, but it takes a while to put all the pieces together. Without giving anything away, this tale is as much about the journey as the revelations along the way. Jessica is a splendid character with tremendous class, strength and presence of mind. Pietr is an exotic butterfly in a cast of the ordinary high school characters including the too sweet best friend, the practical best friend, the hot jock who seems to have a sweet side and the mean girls who enjoy tormenting the lesser peons.

But don't be fooled – as with any high school, these roles just skim the surface of these characters whose layers you peel away gradually throughout the tale. The author mixes a healthy dose of suspense, teenage angst and surprisingly sweet romance into a dynamite tale that everyone needs to read.

13 to Life releases on June 22, 2010. Don't miss it.




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