I debated taking today off since it's a holiday here in the States (Happy Labor Day, everyone!) but I love this book so much I couldn't wait to tell you about it (and give away my hardcover copy!). This is the book I read when our power first went out during the hurricane, and it kept me turning pages even with the hassle of a booklight.
13 Gifts by Wendy Mass (Scholastic, September 1, 2011, for ages 8 to 12).
Source: hardcover purchased from the store where I work
Synopsis (from the publisher): When Tara, a self-proclaimed shrinking violet, steals the school mascot in order to make some friends with the popular crowd and gets caught, she finds herself in a heap of trouble. In addition, her parents decide that instead of taking her on their summer trip to Madagascar to study the courtship rituals of the Bamboo Lemur, she must go stay with her aunt, uncle, and bratty cousin Emily St. Claire in Willow Falls. Tara thinks it's a good time to start over; she'll be turning 13 after all, so she might as well make the best of it and perhaps even attempt to break out of her shell (in a non-criminal manner). What Tara doesn't know is that this charmed town has something big in store for her on her 13th birthday. It's not a typical birthday. But then again, nothing is Willow Falls is exactly typical!
Why I liked it: The amazingly talented Wendy Mass scores again with another hit for tweens. Like its companion novels, 11 Birthdays and Finally, 13 Gifts is an adorable and funny book set in a small town where anything can happen. In this case, it's a rollicking scavenger hunt for the thirteen obscure objects that the mysterious owner of the antique shop asks Tara to find. A touch of magical realism adds to the charm of this already-charming story. Tara grows as a character and seems like a real girl. And I enjoyed coming across old friends from the other books.
I'm always impressed with books like this, where a series of hilarious events that seem to have no connection at all click into place by the end. And I didn't see it coming. Girls who enjoy a bit of magical realism with their contemporary stories will devour this.
While I can't afford to give away 13 copies of 13 Gifts, I will give away my one hardcover copy to one lucky winner. You know the drill:
1) Be a follower
2) Leave a comment on this post by Saturday Sept 10, 2011 at 11:59 pm EDT
3) Extra chance to win if you tweet about it and let me know (I'm @booksnbrains)
That's it! This giveaway is open internationally and ends at 11:59 EDT on Saturday, Sept 10, 2011. I'll let randomizer pick a winner and I'll try to announce it no later than Monday Sept 12.
For more MMGM love, visit these regulars:
Shannon Messenger (our founder) at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe
Shannon O'Donnell at Book Dreaming
Myrna Foster at The Night Writer
Sherrie Petersen at Write About Now
Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles
Brooke Favero at Somewhere in the Middle
Deb Marshall at Just Deb
Barbara Watson at Novel and Nouveau
Anita Laydon Miller at her middle grade blog
Michael G-G at Middle Grade Mafioso
Pam Torres at So I'm Fifty