Synopsis: Something strange is stalking the small town of Junction… When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom. Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort. The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide--secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.
My Review: Ugh I am a horrible person. I know. I've been totally AWOL. Let's just say between very awkward tensions in my household and my recent obsession with watching Itazura Na Kiss and InuYasha, I haven't been able to force myself to write this review! So I am finally forcing myself to do so! Tis a small victory on my part. Lol.
Going into 13 to Life I really wasn't expecting all that much. YA paranormal has fell flat for me recently so I was none too excited to have yet another hyped up novel turn out to be just okay. I'm very pleased to report that I LOVED this book! I think I have officially been converted to team Werewolf. Actually, now that I think about it, the last few books I've read have had werewolves.... Soulless, Pack of Lies, 13 to Life huh.... Wonder if that's my subconscious telling me something...
ANYWAY, moving on. I absolutely loved Jess's character. She's snarky, sarcastic, funny, and overall someone I could be BFF's with. I really enjoyed the non-typical take to Jess's role in the story. I am so sick and tired of DID characters who constantly need to be saved or are hopelessly in love after like a minute. *rolls eyes* Jess was really a breath of fresh air. She lives on a horse ranch and spends her mornings mucking out stalls and training horses. She also used to competitively shoot hand guns. Is it just me or is that totally bad ass? She's a tough farm girl who doesn't take crap from anyone. Upon first meeting Pietr (Peter) she did not immediately fall head over heels in love for his dark hair, blue eyes, or hot bod. Wait, what? Yes you read correctly. I did a small victory dance when Jess actually DISLIKED Pietr the first time she met him. He was distant, uninterested, and acted bored the entire time she was trying to show him the school. She didn't think it was him being mysterious, or him secretly falling in love with her, but just thought him to be an asshole. Do you see why I love this book? The characters felt like real people, not contrived or Mary Sue's, but actual real people with flaws. Shocking, no?
Don't worry, there is plenty of love for Pietr as well. :) Even though he started out a bit of an asshole I really grew to adore him. Being forced to go to school with a police escort? I wouldn't be in that great of a mood either. Despite being absolutely gorgeous: deep chocolate brown hair, sapphire eyes, and a pretty nice bod, he is actually a really great person. With Jess constantly saying that he points out the obvious he makes a big joke out of it, purposefully pointing out obvious things. It's all rather hilarious. Plus whenever he slipped back to his Russian accent I just drooled. I have a thing for guys with accents okay?! It is just so freakin adorable and sexy. Can't help myself. Plus I thought his older brother Max was just as hot. A bit of a sleeze, but an adorable sleeze at that.
I really liked the romance in this as well. It wasn't love at first sight, stalker obsession, or just plain lust. It honestly felt like real teenage romance. Ya know, kissing behind the bleachers and in the barn. There were no declarations of undying love or anything cheesy like that. They were attracted to each other mutually, even though it took Jess a while to admit it. They make each other laugh and connect on a personal level. They also connect more on an emotional level because they have both lost a parent/s. I admit, it is the typical new boy in school hottie scenario, but it was done so well that I didn't mind. Though the little awkward love triangle just made me want to smash my head into a wall. Long story short, Jess's best friend who hasn't been happy in a very long time has a crush on Pietr and Jess pushes Pietr's initial interest away to make her friend happy. It's the classic "I'm trying to be a good friend" scenario and I wanted to rip my hair out. What was even more frustrating was that once Jess admitted her feelings for Pietr, Pietr didn't break it off with her friend because Jess didn't want her to get hurt. It's just this awkward mess of leading people on, and secretly tip toeing around each other. *headdesk* That was my one problem with this book. I guess it created romantic tension or whatever but honestly I didn't feel like it was needed.
One of the many things I loved about this novel was the writing. It was just done sooo well and had so many funny thoughts or bits of dialogue I was laughing and crying into my pillow to avoid waking my mother. The Monty Python reference had me crying! That stupid bunny. *giggles insanely* There is also a Wizard of Oz reference in the most awkward situation that was so well done that I just had to give it props in my review. Utterly hilarious. I really enjoyed all the musical references as well. Any book that mentions Queen, Duran Duran, and other epic 80's artists has automatically won me over. And the fact that Jess actually KNEW who those bands were just made me want to scream for joy. I feel like I'm the only teenager in the world who actually listens to 80's music sometimes. *shakes head*
So after reading my very long ramble of a review you're probably tired of reading this. Sorry but there's more. The ending just KILLED me! Everything was coming together and I was waiting for a nice revelation or just SOMETHING and bam! THE END! I think I sat there, mouth agape in utter shock. I literally wanted to throw the flippin book at my wall. I didn't. But I really, really, REALLY wanted to just out of sheer frustration. It has got to be the WORST cliff hanger and inconclusive ending, I have EVER read in my life! It was literally that bad! But at the same time, I guess that just shows how much I loved this book that I was seriously pissed off that there wasn't more. I am dying for the sequel! It cannot come soon enough! Fair warning to all who have yet to read this. You'll love it, but then you'll turn around and hate it for making you fall in love with it because the sequels not out yet. :(