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Thirteens

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Neil Gaiman's Coraline meets Stranger Things in a dark and twisted story about a sleepy town with a dark secret--and the three kids brave enough to uncover it. Twelve-year-old Eleanor has just moved to Eden Eld to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother was killed in a fire. Her birthday, which falls on Halloween, is just around the corner, and she hopes that this yea Neil Gaiman's Coraline meets Stranger Things in a dark and twisted story about a sleepy town with a dark secret--and the three kids brave enough to uncover it. Twelve-year-old Eleanor has just moved to Eden Eld to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother was killed in a fire. Her birthday, which falls on Halloween, is just around the corner, and she hopes that this year will be a fresh start at a new life. But then one morning, an ancient grandfather clock counting down thirteen hours appears outside of her bedroom. And then she spots a large black dog with glowing red eyes prowling the grounds of her school. A book of fairytales she's never heard of almost willingly drops in front of her, as if asking to be read. Something is wrong in the town of Eden Eld. Eleanor and her new classmates, Pip and Otto, are the only ones who see these "wrong things," and they also all happen to share a Halloween birthday. Bonded by these odd similarities, the trio uncovers a centuries-old pact the town has with a mysterious figure known as Mr. January: every thirteen years, three thirteen-year-olds disappear, sacrificed in exchange for the town's unending good fortune. This Halloween, Mr. January is back to collect his payment and Eleanor, Pip, and Otto are to be his next offering...unless they can break the curse before the clock strikes thirteen.


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Neil Gaiman's Coraline meets Stranger Things in a dark and twisted story about a sleepy town with a dark secret--and the three kids brave enough to uncover it. Twelve-year-old Eleanor has just moved to Eden Eld to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother was killed in a fire. Her birthday, which falls on Halloween, is just around the corner, and she hopes that this yea Neil Gaiman's Coraline meets Stranger Things in a dark and twisted story about a sleepy town with a dark secret--and the three kids brave enough to uncover it. Twelve-year-old Eleanor has just moved to Eden Eld to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother was killed in a fire. Her birthday, which falls on Halloween, is just around the corner, and she hopes that this year will be a fresh start at a new life. But then one morning, an ancient grandfather clock counting down thirteen hours appears outside of her bedroom. And then she spots a large black dog with glowing red eyes prowling the grounds of her school. A book of fairytales she's never heard of almost willingly drops in front of her, as if asking to be read. Something is wrong in the town of Eden Eld. Eleanor and her new classmates, Pip and Otto, are the only ones who see these "wrong things," and they also all happen to share a Halloween birthday. Bonded by these odd similarities, the trio uncovers a centuries-old pact the town has with a mysterious figure known as Mr. January: every thirteen years, three thirteen-year-olds disappear, sacrificed in exchange for the town's unending good fortune. This Halloween, Mr. January is back to collect his payment and Eleanor, Pip, and Otto are to be his next offering...unless they can break the curse before the clock strikes thirteen.

30 review for Thirteens

  1. 4 out of 5

    jenny✨

    There are things in the world that shouldn’t be, she would say. Things out of place. Little pieces of other worlds that slipped in, like a piece of gravel in your shoe. Some of them are kind, but most of them are dangerous. Be careful, Elle, and stay away from Eden Eld. This book has cemented Kate Alice Marshall as one of my favourite authors. It wasn’t perfect (a smidge chaotic just like Rules for Vanishing ) but DAMN was this entertaining and utterly engaging—I didn’t want to set The Thirteen There are things in the world that shouldn’t be, she would say. Things out of place. Little pieces of other worlds that slipped in, like a piece of gravel in your shoe. Some of them are kind, but most of them are dangerous. Be careful, Elle, and stay away from Eden Eld. This book has cemented Kate Alice Marshall as one of my favourite authors. It wasn’t perfect (a smidge chaotic just like Rules for Vanishing ) but DAMN was this entertaining and utterly engaging—I didn’t want to set The Thirteens down. I was so invested in the lore of Eleanor, Pip, and Otto’s world: a world that just so happens to overlap with the macabre of Rules for Vanishing, which I also very much enjoyed. The monsters are unconventional and the prose is trademark Kate Alice Marshall vivid; neither fall into cliché. Another thing she does so well is write friendships—the fierce loyalty, the imperfect nuances, the strength and love. Not to mention, all the RFV easter eggs were *chef’s kiss* Easter eggs are my favourite things EVER, and this book really rewarded readers who’ve read the earlier (companion-ish) novel. Marshall is just so good at getting under my skin! Kudos to you, ma’am!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tiffani Reads

    I could not put this book down! Pitched as Coraline meets Stranger Things, this book has the perfect amount of creepiness and suspense to make it a real page turner. It is extremely well written and I loved so many aspects of this book which I will list below. 1. The Characters - Eleanor, Otto, and Pip are some of my favourite middle-grade characters that I have every read. They are very diverse, come from different backgrounds, and have different strengths which play off of each other nicely. Th I could not put this book down! Pitched as Coraline meets Stranger Things, this book has the perfect amount of creepiness and suspense to make it a real page turner. It is extremely well written and I loved so many aspects of this book which I will list below. 1. The Characters - Eleanor, Otto, and Pip are some of my favourite middle-grade characters that I have every read. They are very diverse, come from different backgrounds, and have different strengths which play off of each other nicely. They have to be so resourceful in this book and it somehow the author manages to write them in a way that is relatable to the ability that most 13 year old kids would have. 2. The Parents are Present - The parents actually exist in this book, which is not something you see in a lot of middle-grade or young adult fiction. Granted some of the parents are evil but hey they are still in the book. 3. The Setting - The descriptions of Eden Eld were so well done you could picture this place as almost any suburban town you have ever visited in your life. Eleanor's house is the creepy place in town that everyone is fascinated with, complete with spooky orchard out back. Otto's place has a bunch of kids, pets, run down cars, and tree forts galore. Pip lives on campus at the school, which very much invokes the image of brick and ivy. It's all so well thought out that I'm kind of hoping for a map in the finished edition of this book. 4. The Plot - I loved the plot of this book. How this story unfolded, and how things were explained to you through Eleanor as she learned was perfect. Then as the story unfolded and the kids learned things, you went along for the journey. The pace of this book never felt rushed, or slow. I honestly could sing this books praise for forever. I am super excited for the next book in this series, and to see where this story goes. I will 100% be picking up a finished copy of this book when it comes out. Highly, highly recommend this book. 5 stars across the board!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Thank you to edelweiss and penguin publishing group for an arc in exchange for an honest review. *4.5* Kate, you've done it again. oh boy you know how to write a spoooooky book It says Coraline meets Stranger Things, and yes I see that, but I would also like to throw into the loop: Devouring Gray. I loved this, obviously. I could not put this down - I read it in one sitting. Perfect Autumn/fall read to get you into the Halloween mood. I am ready for the spooky reason, is it October yet?? I love our t Thank you to edelweiss and penguin publishing group for an arc in exchange for an honest review. *4.5* Kate, you've done it again. oh boy you know how to write a spoooooky book It says Coraline meets Stranger Things, and yes I see that, but I would also like to throw into the loop: Devouring Gray. I loved this, obviously. I could not put this down - I read it in one sitting. Perfect Autumn/fall read to get you into the Halloween mood. I am ready for the spooky reason, is it October yet?? I love our three main characters - so many important topics were bought up and characters weren't shamed at all (children therapy was a topic that was explored). And THAT SETTING - Devouring Gray vibes I'll say. I loved how Kate described this spooky, wooky (not a word, but *shrug*) town. There's going to be a sequel, correct? Yes? Yes pls?

  4. 4 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[parental abandonment, child neglect, attempted murder, housefire recounted, implied death of a mother, pregnancy & labour (off-page), and kidnapping (hide spoiler)] . Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[parental abandonment, child neglect, attempted murder, housefire recounted, implied death of a mother, pregnancy & labour (off-page), and kidnapping (hide spoiler)] . Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  5. 5 out of 5

    Caryn - iam.caryn

    While reading this book, my face could best be described as the eyes wide emoji. This was definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. If you’re an adult reader like me, and grew up reading and watching Goosebumps, and watching Are You Afraid of the Dark? then you will understand why I’m now fully obsessed with this. If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, you will devour this book. Yes, it’s classified as middle grade because the characters are 12/13, but it seriously does read like an episo While reading this book, my face could best be described as the eyes wide emoji. This was definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. If you’re an adult reader like me, and grew up reading and watching Goosebumps, and watching Are You Afraid of the Dark? then you will understand why I’m now fully obsessed with this. If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, you will devour this book. Yes, it’s classified as middle grade because the characters are 12/13, but it seriously does read like an episode of Stranger Things. Same vibes. If you have a middle grade reader in your life who is looking for something spooky and epic to read, I can’t recommend this enough. It’s heart poundingly scary but in a fun way. I’m eagerly awaiting the next book!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Karen Barber

    Kate Alice Marshall’s first foray into middle grade books...and it is a beauty! The town of Eden Eld is a quiet, prosperous town where nothing really happens. Eleanor (always known as Elle to her mum) has just moved there to live with her aunt after an awful incident. She feels ill at ease, and is definitely not made any more comfortable by the strange things she sees and hears around her. On her first day at school Elle is befriended by Otto and Pip, two larger than life characters who can also s Kate Alice Marshall’s first foray into middle grade books...and it is a beauty! The town of Eden Eld is a quiet, prosperous town where nothing really happens. Eleanor (always known as Elle to her mum) has just moved there to live with her aunt after an awful incident. She feels ill at ease, and is definitely not made any more comfortable by the strange things she sees and hears around her. On her first day at school Elle is befriended by Otto and Pip, two larger than life characters who can also see these strange creatures. They try to help Elle settle in, but it quickly becomes apparent that these three have been brought together for a reason. The reason is linked to a mysterious book of fairy tales that Elle remembers her mother reading to her. The stories talk of a character called Mr January who struck a bargain with the inhabitants of Eden Eld...that every thirteen years he would take three children, all born on Halloween, and they would never be heard of again. In exchange the town would prosper. Naturally, our three new friends learn that they’re the intended targets for this year’s sacrifice. We follow them on their quest to break the curse. As the mother of a child born on Halloween I couldn’t resist this. The story is slight fully quirky - dark and yet not overly scary. I love the hints of more to come...wouldn’t it be great to see them again and see whether they succeed in their new aim?

  7. 5 out of 5

    jocelyn

    Rules for Vanishing was my favorite (YA) horror book of 2019, so when I found out Kate Alice Marshall had written a MG horror for 2020, I was beyond ready to be spooked again. And spooked I was! Marshall's writing is precise and atmospheric, and the pacing of Thirteens is breakneck. I practically read this in one setting. The blurb sets this up well: Eleanor moves to Ashton House to live with her uncle and aunt and starts to see things that had left her alone for years. Maybe, just maybe, th Rules for Vanishing was my favorite (YA) horror book of 2019, so when I found out Kate Alice Marshall had written a MG horror for 2020, I was beyond ready to be spooked again. And spooked I was! Marshall's writing is precise and atmospheric, and the pacing of Thirteens is breakneck. I practically read this in one setting. The blurb sets this up well: Eleanor moves to Ashton House to live with her uncle and aunt and starts to see things that had left her alone for years. Maybe, just maybe, the town of Eden Eld is the root cause of the weirdness. While the marketing for this is Coraline meets "Stranger Things," I'd argue that Small Spaces meets "Gravity Falls" is a better equivalent for the structure and feel of Thirteens. Regardless, if you're a middle grade reader looking for some folk horror, this delivers. *CWs: parental abandonment, child neglect, attempted murder, housefire recounted, implied death of a mother, pregnancy & labour (off-page), and kidnapping (*copied from rachel C's review)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alma

    Those of you who are regulars on my blog know I refuse to read books in a series unless I have all of them in front of me. However, the publisher tricked me. I actually enjoyed it, but the cliffhanger ending reminded me that nothing could be tied into a big bow until the series was completed. I don’t even know how many books will BE in the series! I can’t wait to find out what happens next to Ellie, Otto and Pip, and the first book hasn’t even officially come out yet!! To read more about my angs Those of you who are regulars on my blog know I refuse to read books in a series unless I have all of them in front of me. However, the publisher tricked me. I actually enjoyed it, but the cliffhanger ending reminded me that nothing could be tied into a big bow until the series was completed. I don’t even know how many books will BE in the series! I can’t wait to find out what happens next to Ellie, Otto and Pip, and the first book hasn’t even officially come out yet!! To read more about my angst about this book, go to my blog. Make sure you type in your email on my blog to follow me & get FULL reviews in your inbox: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress....

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Delightfully spooky and fun! I love the characters, the mystery, the enchantment is it all! I can’t wait to come back to Eden Eld (I hope there is more to come!).

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katie Mac

    This is so spooky! There's enough adventure to keep the narrative moving, and there are just enough terrifying elements to thrill a kid who loves scary stories. As a lover of cats, I also appreciated the cat who was supposed to be a villain but who pushed the boundaries of her obligations to evil to be (somewhat) helpful; that's such a cat thing to do... I wish this were a standalone because more aspects of the plot would have felt resolved, but I'm sure this will be a popular series for middle- This is so spooky! There's enough adventure to keep the narrative moving, and there are just enough terrifying elements to thrill a kid who loves scary stories. As a lover of cats, I also appreciated the cat who was supposed to be a villain but who pushed the boundaries of her obligations to evil to be (somewhat) helpful; that's such a cat thing to do... I wish this were a standalone because more aspects of the plot would have felt resolved, but I'm sure this will be a popular series for middle-grade readers.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Hailee

    Middle grade perfection. I was also amused that she thanks Katherine Arden in her acknowledgments, another middle grade horror favorite. Can’t wait for the rest of the series.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    If Kate Alice Marshal is writing it, I’m reading it. Also, waiting for the next book is awful.

  13. 5 out of 5

    stahrwars

    Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, I really liked the overall story and characters. It felt a little rushed at times and sometimes the writing didn’t fit the characters age in my opinion. Definitely want to read the following books though!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amanie McGee

    It was such a quick read? But in a good way. It was short but I didn't mind that in the slightest. I enjoyed the characters and the pacing and the spooky setting. I was pulled in by the "Coraline meets Stranger Things" and it did not disappoint. 5 outta 5 spookems !

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Eleanor ("Elle") moves to the town of Eden Eld to live with her aunt and uncle after a terrifying incident when her mother set fire to their house and Eleanor almost died. Her pregnant aunt is very kind, but doesn't want to discuss her mother, and doesn't notice some of the odd things that Eleanor does, like a huge grandfather clock that appears outside of her room, but runs backwards. When Eleanor goes back to school, she is sent to a private school where she mee E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Eleanor ("Elle") moves to the town of Eden Eld to live with her aunt and uncle after a terrifying incident when her mother set fire to their house and Eleanor almost died. Her pregnant aunt is very kind, but doesn't want to discuss her mother, and doesn't notice some of the odd things that Eleanor does, like a huge grandfather clock that appears outside of her room, but runs backwards. When Eleanor goes back to school, she is sent to a private school where she meets the friendly Otto and Pip, the daughter of the principal. These two are very helpful when Eleanor shares with them that she is seeing odd things like the clock, shadowy dogs, and menacing birds. Otto and Pip are helpful; they point out that the January Society, which Pip's mother is in, generally means them harm, Eleanor's house was owned by the Ashford Family, who had nefarious dealings, and the Thirteen Tales of the Gray book that had belonged to Eleanor's mother and mysteriously appears in her room seems to reveal some of the secrets about the "wrong things" that the three keep seeing. They also manage to uncover the fact that all three of them have birthdays on Halloween and palindromic names, making it likely that they are the ones marked from the alarming town tradition of sacrificing three young people in order to maintain the town's prosperity. Can the three find a way to circumvent this before it is too late? Strengths: The details about the January Society and the Ashford family and their involvement in all of this are laid out with a lot of clever twists and turns; I've skimmed over those so as not to ruin some of the creepy surprises. The ensemble cast is great, and I enjoyed how they supported Eleanor even though they had problems of their own. The house is a great, creepy setting, and Pip's mother is a solid villain. Weaknesses: While many of the "wrong things" were creepy, they weren't as scary as my students would prefer. I never felt like the children were in any real danger. What I really think: This seemed similar to Roberts' Witches of Willow Cove, Funaro's Watch Hollow, White's Shadow School: Archimancy, and Nobel's The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane (Black Hollow Lane #1) and even West's The Shadows. Creepy, mystery filled, clue oriented, and well written, none of these are hugely popular in my library the way that much creepier books like Bell's Frozen Charlotte or Schwab's City of Ghosts are.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Brown

    My penultimate choice of middle-grade Halloween reads was Thirteens by Kate Alice Marshall, a story that certainly pushes into scary territory compared with the milder spooks present throughout most of these choices. Elle has recently moved to the picture-perfect Oregon town of Eden Eld to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother lit a fire in their house, apparently in an attempt to kill Elle. Traumatized by the smell of smoke and the taste of ash, Elle simply wants to get by and attract as My penultimate choice of middle-grade Halloween reads was Thirteens by Kate Alice Marshall, a story that certainly pushes into scary territory compared with the milder spooks present throughout most of these choices. Elle has recently moved to the picture-perfect Oregon town of Eden Eld to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother lit a fire in their house, apparently in an attempt to kill Elle. Traumatized by the smell of smoke and the taste of ash, Elle simply wants to get by and attract as little attention as possible. She certainly wants to ignore all the Wrong Things she sees that no one else seems to, like the strange grandfather clock outside her bedroom door that counts backward, or the big black dog with glowing red eyes that keeps appearing around town. At her prestigious new middle school, Elle unexpectedly befriends two other kids – Pip and Otto – and all three quickly realize that they are the only kids in town who notice the Wrong Things. Weirder, they all have the same key-shaped birthmark, palindrome names, and also share a birthday – all three will turn 13 on Halloween in just a few days’ time. When a strange book of fairytales that Elle thought lost in the fire appears on her bed and she learns about the mysterious January Society, Elle, Otto and Pip make a horrifying discovery. Every thirteen years, the town sacrifices three thirteen-year-olds to Mr. January in return for their utopian lifestyles, and this year, it’s their turn. Thirteens was probably the most genuinely scary book I read out of all my middle-grade selections this year, keeping me up late at night wanting to just keep reading. The town’s secret is deeply disturbing, as is the way those residents not in on the plot have trained themselves to simply not see what is happening around them, and the creatures who follow the children are liable to give even the odd adult nightmares. I really loved the depictions of teen/tween mental health in this book too. Elle is dealing with PTSD after the fire and this influences much of her decision-making along with her deep-seated anxiety that she may be headed down the same path as her mother who also saw the Wrong Things. Pip too has mental health issues and is open about seeing a therapist which I loved as it helps normalize something that can be a source of anxiety to anyone requiring the same. As with Maya and the Rising Dark, I wish I’d known this was only the first book in a series, or at least I hope it is given both its ending and the lack of any information regarding a sequel.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Maughan

    I devoured this delicious book on the first two nights of vacation this week. Go buy it from your friendly local indie bookseller (or if it’s not on the shelf, ask them to order it)! Thirteens is a fast-paced, smart, mysterious, SPOOKY supernatural story that you won’t be able to put down, whether you’re a grown adult or of an age with the protagonists. A tale of three kids who share a birthday, a secret fate, and a mission to save their town from an ancient evil, Thirteens harks back to the grand I devoured this delicious book on the first two nights of vacation this week. Go buy it from your friendly local indie bookseller (or if it’s not on the shelf, ask them to order it)! Thirteens is a fast-paced, smart, mysterious, SPOOKY supernatural story that you won’t be able to put down, whether you’re a grown adult or of an age with the protagonists. A tale of three kids who share a birthday, a secret fate, and a mission to save their town from an ancient evil, Thirteens harks back to the grand tradition of classic folk tales without compromising on originality. The plot is tense and scary without being gory or brutal. The dialogue is snappy and fun. The supernatural aspects of the setting feel organic and lived-in, and the main characters’ responses to the menace and strangeness they face feels believable: these are kids, with the vulnerability and resiliency and heart you’d expect to see in kids. Of course, if you’re a fan of Kate Alice Marshall’s other works, you already know all this. Wait, you’re still here? You’ve read enough of MY words, quit wasting time and go READ THIS BOOK!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sara Thompson

    Thirteens is the creepily fantastic story of Eleanor, Pip and Otto, who all turn thirteen in Eden Eld on Halloween. Which seems pretty harmless except that every 13 years on Halloween three kids go missing. It's just a little know fact that's happened well over a hundred years now that everyone likes to keep hidden. Marshall pulled me into the Eden Eld world and I never looked back. We meet poor Eleanor first, who is living with her Aunt and Uncle after a mysterious house fire which her own mothe Thirteens is the creepily fantastic story of Eleanor, Pip and Otto, who all turn thirteen in Eden Eld on Halloween. Which seems pretty harmless except that every 13 years on Halloween three kids go missing. It's just a little know fact that's happened well over a hundred years now that everyone likes to keep hidden. Marshall pulled me into the Eden Eld world and I never looked back. We meet poor Eleanor first, who is living with her Aunt and Uncle after a mysterious house fire which her own mother started, or did she? Eleanor starts seeing things that don't make sense, and she is shocked to realize that her new friends Pip and Otto can see them too. Marshall's pacing is fantastic and the story unfolds easily. I like how the clues are interspersed through the story within a book of "fairy tales" and the Ashford house where Eleanor's aunt and uncle live. I look forward to what happens to these three next and how they will outwit the Mr. January.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lysette H

    Every thirteen years in the town of Eden Eld, three thirteen-year-olds disappear. Eleanor has just moved to the quiet, prosperous Eden Eld. When she awakes to discover an ancient grandfather clock that she's never seen before outside her new room, she's sure her eyes must be playing tricks on her. But then she spots a large bird, staring at her as she boards the school bus. And a black dog with glowing red eyes follows her around town. All she wants is to be normal, and these are far from normal. Every thirteen years in the town of Eden Eld, three thirteen-year-olds disappear. Eleanor has just moved to the quiet, prosperous Eden Eld. When she awakes to discover an ancient grandfather clock that she's never seen before outside her new room, she's sure her eyes must be playing tricks on her. But then she spots a large bird, staring at her as she boards the school bus. And a black dog with glowing red eyes follows her around town. All she wants is to be normal, and these are far from normal. And worse--no one else can see them. Except for her new friends, Pip and Otto, who teach her a thing or two about surviving in Eden Eld. First: Don't let the "wrong things" know you can see them. Second: Don't speak of the wrong things to anyone else. This is classified as a middle grade, but is a perfect spooky read for any adults who loved Goosebumps too. I highly recommend for anyone who needs a little suspense in their life. I look forward to the next book in the series.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    3.5 rounded up to 4 stars. Every year from Aug- Nov I round up books that I feel have a Fall or spooky theme to read. I love Kate Alice Marshall and last year I read her "Rules for Vanishing" as part of my Fall-reading list. This novella is the prefect fall read for middle graders with just the right amount of spooky without being scary. It was marketed as Coraline meets Stranger Things but I think a better comparison would be Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book" meets Kate Alice Marshall's "Rules 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars. Every year from Aug- Nov I round up books that I feel have a Fall or spooky theme to read. I love Kate Alice Marshall and last year I read her "Rules for Vanishing" as part of my Fall-reading list. This novella is the prefect fall read for middle graders with just the right amount of spooky without being scary. It was marketed as Coraline meets Stranger Things but I think a better comparison would be Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book" meets Kate Alice Marshall's "Rules for Vanishing". Although I didn't see this marked as a series, I am assuming that it will be based the open ending. I wasn't prepared for this not being a stand alone so I was a little disappointed to discover I will have to wait on the next book. Overall a great read for the younger YA's...and some of us adults...who love a good spooky read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bookish

    Highly engaging middle grade mystery -- spooky but never too scary, with satisfying little nuggets woven throughout that come to light as the book progresses. The premise of a town full of people unwilling to acknowledge the "wrong things" all around them is really a terrific metaphor for mental health awareness and conflict. I suspect a lot of young readers will relate to Eleanor's desire to get those conversations out in the open. (view spoiler)[ The book seemed to be headed toward a solid reso Highly engaging middle grade mystery -- spooky but never too scary, with satisfying little nuggets woven throughout that come to light as the book progresses. The premise of a town full of people unwilling to acknowledge the "wrong things" all around them is really a terrific metaphor for mental health awareness and conflict. I suspect a lot of young readers will relate to Eleanor's desire to get those conversations out in the open. (view spoiler)[ The book seemed to be headed toward a solid resolution and the set-up for a sequel seemed abrupt. I'll be curious to see how the second book picks up without losing momentum. (hide spoiler)]

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susan Morris

    Like Stranger Things meets Coraline, Thirteens is grounded in a small town with fairytale feel and spooky, creepy details. Powerful relationships elevate the stakes, and the crafty creatures they meet— The core theme of following your heart to find the right path through the fog of fear will ring true to kids, and the deeper messaging of how heroes are the ones who step up to fix what’s wrong with world even when it’s not their fault will Like Stranger Things meets Coraline, Thirteens is grounded in a small town with fairytale feel and spooky, creepy details. Powerful relationships elevate the stakes, and the crafty creatures they meet—<3 the Cat of Ashes!!!—add nuance and depth to the world. The core theme of following your heart to find the right path through the fog of fear will ring true to kids, and the deeper messaging of how heroes are the ones who step up to fix what’s wrong with world even when it’s not their fault will inspire them. Highly recommended for a spooky, fun read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sapphic Shelves

    Thanks to Penguin and Netgalley for an arc of this book. I had a great time with this book. To fully give this book justice I suggest reading it at Halloween if you can. It's pitched as Coraline x Stranger Things. To me, it reminds me much more of Sawkill Girls but for a younger audience. I appreciate that this book moves so fast and keeps you so engaged. It easily falls into the MG ranks of Small Spaces and Ghost Squad. I didn't realize it would be a series when I picked it up but I would defin Thanks to Penguin and Netgalley for an arc of this book. I had a great time with this book. To fully give this book justice I suggest reading it at Halloween if you can. It's pitched as Coraline x Stranger Things. To me, it reminds me much more of Sawkill Girls but for a younger audience. I appreciate that this book moves so fast and keeps you so engaged. It easily falls into the MG ranks of Small Spaces and Ghost Squad. I didn't realize it would be a series when I picked it up but I would definitely like to revisit these three!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karlie Schaefer

    This was a fun but creepy middle grade novel, perfect for Halloween. Twelve year old Elle has recently moved in with her aunt and uncle after a tragic event occured between herself and her mother. The town where she now lives has a horrible curse on it dating over a century back. Unfortunately, Elle and her two new friends are in danger. With believable pre-teen characters, a creepy town, and some serious topics, this book was very enjoyable. Based on the ending, I would bet we see a sequel, hop This was a fun but creepy middle grade novel, perfect for Halloween. Twelve year old Elle has recently moved in with her aunt and uncle after a tragic event occured between herself and her mother. The town where she now lives has a horrible curse on it dating over a century back. Unfortunately, Elle and her two new friends are in danger. With believable pre-teen characters, a creepy town, and some serious topics, this book was very enjoyable. Based on the ending, I would bet we see a sequel, hopefully around next Halloween.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    The comparison to Stranger Things is very apt. This middle-grade book features 12 year old protagonists in a creepy town trying to escape with their lives. On Halloween. As an adult reading it I thought it was enthralling and I was completely involved in the story and the characters. It was spooky but not too much for kids. The ending is a cliffhanger so I can look forward to spending more time in this creepy town with these amazing kids. This was a really fun, quick, suspenseful read and perfec The comparison to Stranger Things is very apt. This middle-grade book features 12 year old protagonists in a creepy town trying to escape with their lives. On Halloween. As an adult reading it I thought it was enthralling and I was completely involved in the story and the characters. It was spooky but not too much for kids. The ending is a cliffhanger so I can look forward to spending more time in this creepy town with these amazing kids. This was a really fun, quick, suspenseful read and perfect for October!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A good Halloween tale for those who like a little bit of creepy, but not too much. I dont actually think that comparing to Stranger Things is apt because a youth who watches stranger things probably wouldn't find this scary enough. Maybe if they were insterested in Stranger Things, but hadn't seen it yet. My biggest complaint about this book was the ending. It felt like nothing was resolved. I know there is another in the series, but the "resolution" was really that they'll put it off for anothe A good Halloween tale for those who like a little bit of creepy, but not too much. I dont actually think that comparing to Stranger Things is apt because a youth who watches stranger things probably wouldn't find this scary enough. Maybe if they were insterested in Stranger Things, but hadn't seen it yet. My biggest complaint about this book was the ending. It felt like nothing was resolved. I know there is another in the series, but the "resolution" was really that they'll put it off for another year. Made me feel that even the author didn't have a clue what the ending should be either.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    Told from the perspective of thirteen year old Eleanor and her two friends Otto and Pip, they’ve got to figure out this town’s twisted violent and sacrificial fairytale curse involving a boogie man before the three thirteen year olds will disappear on #halloween This is a really well written book and pre-teens and adults alike will love. It kept me up at night trying to figure out what would happen next—and that’s pretty rare for a middle school read 😂 thank you #katealicemarshall for a fantastic Told from the perspective of thirteen year old Eleanor and her two friends Otto and Pip, they’ve got to figure out this town’s twisted violent and sacrificial fairytale curse involving a boogie man before the three thirteen year olds will disappear on #halloween This is a really well written book and pre-teens and adults alike will love. It kept me up at night trying to figure out what would happen next—and that’s pretty rare for a middle school read 😂 thank you #katealicemarshall for a fantastic Halloween read!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Yung

    3-3.5? The characterizations are pretty flat, with more telling than showing, but it's a solid middle-grade fantasy overall. I appreciate how the existence of parents isn't completely disregarded, plus the worldbuilding is fun and engaging, and the comps to Coraline and Stranger Things are well-earned. Satisfying ending with an intriguing setup for subsequent installments. I'll likely pick up the next book if I come across it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Harrington

    A town with a curse, mysterious keys, an evil society, a spooky old house, monsters in the night, and three thirteen year old friends who might just be the heroes this town needs. Reminiscent of John Bellairs tales, this book is a the perfect spooky October read (or September, in my case). Full of action and also research in the town archives - my favorite kind of action.

  30. 5 out of 5

    sara

    3.5 - This is was a good middle grade halloween story, with all the vibes that you need, the spooks and weirdness of it all. We have a good trio of friends that would do everything they can to stop the monsters and save themselves and their town. Really excited to read more of Eleanor, Pip and Otto's adventures in this spooky and weird town.

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