13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale by Shannon Delany

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Title: 13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale
Author: Shannon Delany
Release Date: June 22, 2010 (paperback)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 308
Source: Bought

Overall: 3.5 Stars

Everything about Jessie Gillmansen’s life changed when her mother died. Now even her hometown of Junction is changing. Mysterious dark things are happening. All Jessie wants is to avoid more change. But showing a hot new guy around Junction High, she’s about to discover a whole new type of change. Pietr Rusakova is more than good looks and a fascinating accent—he’s a guy with a dangerous secret. And his very existence is sure to bring big trouble to Jessie’s small town. It seems change is the one thing Jessie can’t avoid…

I must admit, I had a difficult time trying to figure out what kind of ranking to give this novel. When I bought the novel, I was quite eager to begin it but in the back of my mind as I read, a small part of me was worried it wouldn't quite live up to the admittedly high expectations I had set for it. Sadly, I was right.

Now don't get me wrong, 13 to Life proved to be quite exciting at times (mostly towards the later portion of the novel) and this new take on the werewolf genre is most intriguing. Delany does a wonderful job steadily building up to quite the climatic ending, giving you enough to leave you wanting more once finished. But, and there is a but, I did have so concerns about it while reading.

Jessie is a strong heroine who doesn't fall for her main lead right off the back. Nope, she doesn't understand the immediate swoon factor which Pietr Rusakova seems to have right have the bat with her female classmates- a quality I really liked. She's independent and smart, but after I learned the kind of forgiveness she was willing to give others... I felt she was too self-sacrificing and not believable anymore. My respect for her went down a notch and I couldn't quite relate to her anymore. As well, I would have liked to learn more about her family and friends to give more of a background, but Delany never really offered to much information to the past... only slowing cluing us in with the bare essentials when the time came.

The pacing was slow sometimes, but at others, it picked up again. When Jessie finally can't deny the attraction she feels toward Pietr, the novel takes a more interesting turn though and you can just feel that some sort of excitement will finally be in store.

While I can't say 13 to Life was as good as I expected it to be, I wouldn't hesitate to say I did enjoy the story. Delany has laid down the foundations in her debut novel and I'll be looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Secrets and Shadows, when it is released sometime in February 2011.
Check out Shannon Delany's website here.

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