Shannon Delany - 13 to life - book 1
Everything about Jessie Gillmansen’s life changed when her mother died. Now even her hometown of Junction is changing. Mysterious dark things are happening. All Jessie wants is to avoid more change. But showing a hot new guy around Junction High, she’s about to discover a whole new type of change. Pietr Rusakova is more than good looks and a fascinating accent—he’s a guy with a dangerous secret. And his very existence is sure to bring big trouble to Jessie’s small town. It seems change is the one thing Jessie can’t avoid…
When a new student comes to Junction High, the mysterious Russian-American turns Jessica's world completely around. At first Jessica can’t stand Pietr, but as she gets to know him she can’t deny the attraction between them. Soon she is drawn into his world and her belief that she has been through the worst she could imagine, when her mother died is tested.
Jessica Gillmansen is now one of my favourite protagonists. She is fun loving, caring, funny, altruistic, brave, hardworking and smart. Her only downfall from being a great role model is her propensity to lie a lot, even though she usually means well. I also loved how Jessica didn't instantly fall for the love interest Pietr. She only started to when she found out more about him. This was a refreshing change from some of the books I've been reading lately.
The story was fascinating. The twists and turns were making me dizzy but it was so interesting I couldn’t stop for a rest. As we progress through we find out more and more about the characters as they reveal their secrets and history. Some revelations are easy to anticipate while others left me gob smacked. The only negative aspect I can comment on is the relatively slow way the plot progresses.
One other aspect I didn’t particularly like was the two guys (Derek and Pietr) that Jess liked. Both had (in my opinion) annoying traits that stopped me from getting attached to them. Derek was a classic ‘jock’ character who, after saying he liked Jess, quickly moved onto kissing and dating another girl (for Jessica's sake, of course). Pietr was not as bad but he was very self pitying and after being (fairly easily) pushed into a relationship with Jess’s best friend (by Jess...long story), he later seemed to be quite happy to keep dating her (and later kissing her), while maintaining that Jess was the one he wanted.
There were quite a few questions that were left unanswered at the end of the book but there was no real cliff-hanger instead it just ended quite suddenly. However, once I reached the ending I didn’t feel really anxious to read the next book as I suspected I would be. I will be reading it when it comes out though.
My rating out of 5