Published by: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 1, 2011
It doesn’t take long for Tara Brennan to realize that breaking into school to steal a goat while wielding a can of pepper spray is not a good idea. As punishment for her misdeed, Tara’s parents send her to the sleepy little town of Willow Falls to stay with relatives she hardly knows, including her eleven-year-old cousin Emily, who, the last time they were together, ate an entire stick of glue. Tara quickly learns that Emily isn’t even remotely the strangest person in town. There’s a boy who sings in the bottom of an empty pool, two best friends who use blackboards to Communicate (Amanda and Leo from 11 BIRTHDAYS), and a green-eyed girl who may—or may not—be dating the world’s hottest teen movie star (Rory from FINALLY)
Due to another huge lapse in judgment, Tara finds herself beholden to perhaps the strangest person of all: Angelina D’Angelo. If Tara can’t collect thirteen mysterious objects for the old woman in time for her rapidly approaching thirteenth birthday, the consequences will be REALLY BAD. Like losing-her- immortal-soul kind of bad. And that’s just for starters! Tara’s adventures take her and her new friends to places they’d never thought they’d find, some in the real world, and a lot deep inside themselves.
With a big dose of birthday magic, 13 Gifts will make readers laugh, think, and possibly even hum a show tune or two. Because, in Willow Falls, anything’s possible, and nothing is as it seems.
Reviews & Awards
“A rash decision involving attempted theft of a school mascot sets into motion a series of life-altering events for nearly 13-year-old Tara. Mysteries abound as readers return to Willow Falls in this third installment of the series. Years of constant relocation have caused the reclusive Tara to avoid forming friendships. She also longs to understand her mother’s mystifying need to continually move. Banished to her aunt’s house for the summer, Tara soon finds herself embroiled in another mishap. Mass revisits familiar ground with a plot that loosely follows the formula of her previous novels, 11 Birthdays (2009) and Finally (2010). The protagonist is on the cusp of a birthday and must go through a journey of self-discovery and enlightenment guided by the enigmatic Angelina. In payment for her misdeeds, Tara must complete a curious scavenger hunt before her 13th birthday but soon discovers she requires the help—and maybe even the friendship—of others. Tara’s quirky personality invigorates the familiar plot. Mass skillfully resolves mysteries while perpetuating Willow Falls’ mystique. Readers will be eager to discover the outcome of Tara’s quest. In equal parts philosophical and wryly humorous, this magical tale will satisfy both fans and new readers alike.'”
Garden State Children’s Book Award 2014 (Thank you, New Jersey readers!!!)