Sunday, August 22, 2010

Review: 13 to Life by Shannon Delany

Tags: YA, paranormal, werewolves


Budding journalist Jess Gillmansen gets assigned to be the tour guide for the new boy at Junction High, the mysterious and hot Pietr Rusakova. Pietr infuriates Jess, but she finds that she cannot stay away from him, even though she knows he’s hiding something from her. The closer Jess gets to Pietr, however, the more she will begin to be involved in a world that she can hardly even imagine.


Shannon Delany’s 13 TO LIFE introduces nothing new to the heavily saturated paranormal romance YA department, but fans of this genre will find in it a likably strong protagonist and a mystery that’s worth reading more about.

The main character, Jess, is a respectably strong character with a healthy dose of common sense and independence, traits that are, sadly, sorely lacking in numerous other books in this genre. I could understand her martyr-like behavior, her attempt to stay away from Pietr for her friend’s sake even though neither of them can deny their attraction to each other. Jess puts on a tough front to hide old hurts, which I could sympathize with. It made me side with her through frustrating decisions or bad attitudes.

Backstory, however, was shaky at best. Jess’ journalist interest in wolf attacks in a nearby town felt forced: I wanted to know more about her interest in the matter, because I never like when something feels placed into the story simply to clue us, the reader, into something the protagonist hasn’t figured out yet. (For the record, this is a werewolf book. There. I’m not ruining anything by telling you that.) There was also an enigmatic tension between Jess and a friend of hers that, once again, felt rather unnatural. It has a lot of potential to explode into an emotional scenario, and so I hope that in the future Shannon Delany will build on that.

For the most part, 13 TO LIFE felt like a long setup for a series. Very little happens until the last 15 or so pages, and once again it felt very contrived. If you’re looking for a quick paranormal romance that doesn’t require too much thought, 13 TO LIFE might intrigue you. Otherwise, you’ll just catch yourself borderline rolling your eyes at the amateur writing tropes used throughout this debut.

Similar Authors
Christine Johnson (Claire de Lune)
Andrea Cremer (Nightshade)
Maggie Stiefvater
Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder)

Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Plot: 2/5

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Cover discussion: 3 out of 5 - I like the blue tones, and the design running down the left side, but otherwise the eye and the model's silhouette tell me nothing.

St. Martin's Press / June 22, 2010 / Paperback / 320pp. / $9.99

Offered by publisher for review.


  1. I don't often read Young Adult novels, but just finished The Hunger Games and reviewed it (loved it!). Part of my frustration at times with Young Adult novels is that it can be written almost too immaturely for the readers -- so this might not be one on my list. But, I'm starting to get back into some Young Adult novels because of The Hunger Games, so I'll be following your reviews! Thanks for your insight!

  2. Hey Steph!

    It's caitlin :) I'm reading this right now so just skimmed your review but just wanted to say that my mom like loves you now. haha. She told me all the things you guys were talking about and stuff. XD

    So glad I got to meet you!

  3. I've been wanting to check this out. Now, I think I'll just get it from the library. Thanks for the review!

  4. I'm reading this one now and don't know what to think yet.

  5. Hm, hm, hm. I'm not too sure if this is something I'd like. I've been reading a lot of reviews, though, so I'd be willing to give it a shot. Excellent review!

  6. Hi Steph!

    Add me to your growing fanbase of YA moms! I really enjoyed meeting you at PAYA. I've been reading your reviews (including this one) and I love your insight and writing style.

    I'm looking forward to reading your first novel...I think you have something really special to offer the world!

    -Veronica Amundson (Anne - Potter, Percy, and I's mom)

  7. Thank you thank you! It's nice to finally find a review of this book that was a bit of how I felt about the book. I wasn't a huge fan, really. For many of the same reasons. It all seemed a bit contrived and drawn out. I'll still be interested to see what she makes of it in the future installments. But I'm not dying to keep going with unfortunately.


Hello! I'm so excited to read what you have to say. Due to high amounts of spam, I'm forced to disabled anonymous comments for the time being. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes, and I hope you can understand and still appreciate the content here!


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