Monday, December 19, 2011

MONDAY: 13 Gifts by Wendy Mass

Tara was just trying to fit in. Sure, she knew trying to steal the goat was wrong, but if it got her in with the cool crowd, maybe her mother would get off her case.
Instead, she gets caught and shipped off to her parents' home town to stay with her aunt, uncle and cousin. Nothing goes right for Tara. She loses her money and her mom's iPod, she tries to dishonestly get some money to fix things and gets caught again. Now she owes a weird woman a crazy favor. Tara's going to need the help of the family she hardly knows and her new friends if she is going to pull off the favor by her 13th birthday.

This is the third book that takes place in Willow Falls, but the first one I read, so there were several references to books I hadn't read. I was still able to follow the story and it only made me want to read the others. I loved the characters - what a great group of kids in this story! I thought the author did a great job of bringing a lot of little pieces together in an ending that was satisfying (for the most part - some plot points leave you hanging for, presumably, another book.) I love how the kids pull together to help Tara, even though they don't really know her. 

4 out of 5 stars.
AR level of 4.5

Recommended for: readers 10 and up, readers who like stories with a little "magic" in them. The author also wrote one of my all time favorite books for kids, The Candymakers. Fans of her other stories might enjoy this one as well. 

Cautions: None.

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