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If you've never read Patrick Carman, you're missing out. A writer of chapter books and middle grade stories and series (39 Clues, The Land of Elyon Series, the multimedia Skeleton Creeks books, plus others), Carman enters the world of Young Adult with his book, Thirteen Days To Midnight. I've been a fan of Carman's for a few years now, ever since I picked up The Dark Hills Divide (the first book in The Land of Elyon series), and I couldn't wait to get my hands on this newest project. Thirteen Days to Midnight sounded so good and I wasn't disappointed.
Then Ophelia James, the beautiful and daring new girl in town, suggests they use the power to do good, to save other at risk of death. But with every heroic act, the power grows into the specter of a curse. How to decide who lives and who dies? And why does darkness seem to be chasing them? Jacob has only thirteen days to figure out how to harness a power that even the world's greatest escape artist could not outrun . . . and the answer is chilling: What if he has to kill the one he loves to save her?
In this nail-biting novel of mystery and dark intrigue, Jacob must walk the razor-thin line between right and wrong, good and evil, and life and death. And time is running out.
Just that back copy had me excited about this book, and then, as I was reading, I got this fantastic Spiderman vibe - the superhero unable to save everyone and guilty because of it - and I was hooked. I love books that blend action and fun with a deeper, meaningful look at what it means to have power. And in this case, with Jacob beginning his tale asking you what kind of superpower you'd want, hinting that there are all kinds of superpowers better than his, you know there's something special - and dark - about his ability.
Jacob's ability . . . it's unique. But there's so much potential for good. His best friend Milo (awesome character - one of my favorite sidekicks in a long time) and new-to-town flame Ophelia help Jacob uncover the secrets and the possibilities behind Jacob's power. Their testing is both humorous and gruesome, but they learn a lot. Unfortunately, it's not enough.
Because Jacob's power, while potentially able to save lives, is also destroying one. And it's the last person Jacob wants to see hurt.
The premise is fascinating; Carman's writing is engaging and full of tension. Add to that a cast of hilarious and thoughful priests at a private Catholic school; a basement full of macabre devices at Coffin Books; a mystery involving a key and a secret, coastal location; a handful of obnoxious bullies; and a stream of dangerous events and you have the makings for a brilliantly successful first YA novel.
If you love action, adventure, superhero anything, romance, mystery and entangling systems of power, you'll love Thirteen Days To Midnight. And even if you don't pick up adventurous tales very often, you're going to like this one.
Visit Patrick Carman's awesome and feature-filled website at http://www.patrickcarman.com/ and definitely visit http://www.13dtm.com/ to learn more about Jacob's story. It's a really great site - you won't be disappointed.
And, if you're a follower of this blog, you might get an advance copy of your own to savor before Thirteen Days to Midnight even hits the shelves in April! I'm giving away my own ARC of Thirteen Days To Midnight to one lucky reader in The Easiest Contest Ever! You don't need to tweet or blog or get a friend to join - nothing like that. How to enter? Simply be (or become) a follower of YA Highway and leave a comment on this post. That's it! One entry for each person, everyone with the same chance to win. So what are you waiting for? You only have until Friday, March 19th to enter. Leave your comment already!