Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Book Addict Reviews: Thirteen Days To Midnight by Patrick Carman

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Superheroes, Values
Order Online:
Author Info: Website
Rating: 3 stars
Bought this book after a friend told me about it.

In A Nutshell:
This book is not the type I normally read, but I picked it up on the recommendation of a good friend.  I am so glad I read Thirteen Days To Midnight. It had action and suspense—I could not put it down.  When I was done, I stared at the book and felt as though I had just stepped off a roller coaster.

“If you could have only one superpower, what would it be?” (p. 3). 

This intriguing question frames this story where three words whispered between friends can change every aspect of their lives. 

For the first time in his life, Jacob who grew up in the foster system, feels like he is part of something permanent.  He feels like Mr. Fielding really cares about him.  But then Mr. Fielding dies in a car crash, and Jacob has to contend with guilt, grief, and loss. 

Jacob returns to school where his best friend, Milo, who introduces Jacob to the new girl, Ophelia (goes by Oh).  Jacob and Milo have to figure out how to deal with Oh, their mutual interest in her, and her choice between the two of them. 

Patrick Carmen handles the relationships within Thirteen Days To Midnight with mastery and finesse.  Milo is Jacob’s first true best-friend relationship, while Oh is Jacob’s first love.  Patrick Carmen has to balance the fragility of these firsts with the steadfastness that make these relationships seem likely to last.  The secrets that the friends share serve both the test their relationships and make their relationships stronger. 

But this book is more than a coming-of-age or first-love story because with those three whispered words something passes between Jacob, Milo, and Oh that none of them truly understand.  They must unravel the secret of what is passing between them, but in order for them to do that Jacob must start to face his fear, guilt, and grief over losing Mr. Fielding.

There is a lot of action packed into thirteen days, which made reading this book both a pleasure and a challenge.  A pleasure because it moves fast and there is not a lot of wasted time or words.  But a challenge because of some dark topics addressed that leave the characters with a lot to think about and not a lot of time to process.

As I said earlier, this book is outside my normal reading tastes, but I am now interested in more books by Patrick Carmen.


  1. +JMJ+

    I like writers who can be both extravagant and economical, and Patrick Carman, with his ability to pack so much into thirteen days, sounds like he'd be able to deliver! Come to think of it, I don't know of many "books for boys" which boast both good action and the depth of emotion you say is here. Thanks for bringing Carman to my attention with this review! =)

  2. Yes I think this would be a great "book for boys." I have a few friends who seek out books for boys--they prefer them. This was one of their recommendations to me. :)