Thirteen is a well written book for young adults written by Shannon Peel. I gave it five stars for a teenage book that is not filled with cuss words and kept clean no matter what the circumstances. A good read about a teenager that finds himself living in occupied territory. The story begins with foreign troops invading the section of Canada that the main character Jack lives in. You will feel the sudden changes that this event brings to a thirteen year old that struggles to understand why his mother suddenly goes to extremes on collecting firewood, water and food when except for a few distant explosions, the war had not touched him. The cancellation of school didn't bother him as much as being stuck all day at home with his mother who was estranged from his father. Jack thought it was because of his mother that his father moved out and lived elsewhere with a blonde bimbo. He felt that his mother was the reason he left. She was incapable of doing things on her own. With the appearance of foreign soldiers, Jack soon learns that his mother was made of sterner stuff than he ever imagined. A good clean story as Jack struggles to live without TV, Video games and cellphones. Jack expected that within a week, his Canadian army would kick the foreign invaders out of their country and things would go back the way it was before. That never happened and soon he learned the invaders were using Canadians as human shields to prevent being attacked.
About the Author
The Author’s Inspiration
Shannon Peel is a mother of two living in near the US / Canada border in South Surrey, BC Canada. When her son was 8 years old she met a lost boy of South Sudan who at the age of 8 was fleeing a war torn country alone. The man’s story pulled at her and she felt it was important to tell it. However, it wasn’t her story to tell. The story was set in a place she’d never been, with a people she didn’t know, and most in the Western world didn’t care about. Her story did not inspire empathy for a place so far removed from life in Canada. A thought came to her while on a walk in her South Surrey neighborhood. Why not bring the war to Canada? The more she thought about it the more it made sense. An invasion resulting in a totalitarian government in Canada would change everything and make it more relevant to her target audience. When the idea to bring the war to Canada came to her she was struggling with her son’s desire to be independent from her at the age of 13. Her struggle to come to terms with the drastic change is a universal struggle all mothers have as their children grow. Thirteen is the first of hopefully many books about Jack and his friends resisting a totalitarian power, finding themselves, and making a difference in this world. Her son is now 16 years old and although Jack is based on him, he remains unique and different from Jack.
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