Thirteens
Neil Gaiman's Coraline meets Stranger Things in a dark and twisted story about a sleepy town with a dark secret--and the three kids brave enough to uncover it.Twelve-year-old Eleanor has just moved to Eden Eld to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother was killed in a fire. Her birthday, which falls on Halloween, is just around the corner, and she hopes that this year will be a fresh start at a new life. But then one morning, an ancient grandfather clock counting down thirteen hours appears outside of her bedroom. And then she spots a large black dog with glowing red eyes prowling the grounds of her school. A book of fairytales she's never heard of almost willingly drops in front of her, as if asking to be read. Something is wrong in the town of Eden Eld.Eleanor and her new classmates, Pip and Otto, are the only ones who see these "wrong things," and they also all happen to share a Halloween birthday. Bonded by these odd similarities, the trio uncovers a centuries-old pact the town has with a mysterious figure known as Mr. January: every thirteen years, three thirteen-year-olds disappear, sacrificed in exchange for the town's unending good fortune. This Halloween, Mr. January is back to collect his payment and Eleanor, Pip, and Otto are to be his next offering...unless they can break the curse before the clock strikes thirteen.

Thirteens Details

TitleThirteens
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 18th, 2020
PublisherViking Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139780593117026
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Horror, Fantasy, Holiday, Halloween, Young Adult, Fiction

Thirteens Review

  • rachel ☾
    January 1, 1970
    ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[parental abandonment, child neglect, attempted murder, housefire recounted, implied death of a mother, pregnancy & labour (off-page), and kidnapping (hide spoiler)].Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[parental abandonment, child neglect, attempted murder, housefire recounted, implied death of a mother, pregnancy & labour (off-page), and kidnapping (hide spoiler)].Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to edelweiss and penguin publishing group for an arc in exchange for an honest review.*4.5*Kate, you've done it again. oh boy you know how to write a spoooooky bookIt says Coraline meets Stranger Things, and yes I see that, but I would also like to throw into the loop: Devouring Gray.I loved this, obviously. I could not put this down - I read it in one sitting. Perfect Autumn/fall read to get you into the Halloween mood. I am ready for the spooky reason, is it October yet??I love our t Thank you to edelweiss and penguin publishing group for an arc in exchange for an honest review.*4.5*Kate, you've done it again. oh boy you know how to write a spoooooky bookIt says Coraline meets Stranger Things, and yes I see that, but I would also like to throw into the loop: Devouring Gray.I loved this, obviously. I could not put this down - I read it in one sitting. Perfect Autumn/fall read to get you into the Halloween mood. I am ready for the spooky reason, is it October yet??I love our three main characters - so many important topics were bought up and characters weren't shamed at all (children therapy was a topic that was explored).And THAT SETTING - Devouring Gray vibes I'll say. I loved how Kate described this spooky, wooky (not a word, but *shrug*) town. There's going to be a sequel, correct? Yes? Yes pls?
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  • Tiffani Reads
    January 1, 1970
    I could not put this book down! Pitched as Coraline meets Stranger Things, this book has the perfect amount of creepiness and suspense to make it a real page turner. It is extremely well written and I loved so many aspects of this book which I will list below.1. The Characters - Eleanor, Otto, and Pip are some of my favourite middle-grade characters that I have every read. They are very diverse, come from different backgrounds, and have different strengths which play off of each other nicely. Th I could not put this book down! Pitched as Coraline meets Stranger Things, this book has the perfect amount of creepiness and suspense to make it a real page turner. It is extremely well written and I loved so many aspects of this book which I will list below.1. The Characters - Eleanor, Otto, and Pip are some of my favourite middle-grade characters that I have every read. They are very diverse, come from different backgrounds, and have different strengths which play off of each other nicely. They have to be so resourceful in this book and it somehow the author manages to write them in a way that is relatable to the ability that most 13 year old kids would have. 2. The Parents are Present - The parents actually exist in this book, which is not something you see in a lot of middle-grade or young adult fiction. Granted some of the parents are evil but hey they are still in the book. 3. The Setting - The descriptions of Eden Eld were so well done you could picture this place as almost any suburban town you have ever visited in your life. Eleanor's house is the creepy place in town that everyone is fascinated with, complete with spooky orchard out back. Otto's place has a bunch of kids, pets, run down cars, and tree forts galore. Pip lives on campus at the school, which very much invokes the image of brick and ivy. It's all so well thought out that I'm kind of hoping for a map in the finished edition of this book. 4. The Plot - I loved the plot of this book. How this story unfolded, and how things were explained to you through Eleanor as she learned was perfect. Then as the story unfolded and the kids learned things, you went along for the journey. The pace of this book never felt rushed, or slow. I honestly could sing this books praise for forever. I am super excited for the next book in this series, and to see where this story goes. I will 100% be picking up a finished copy of this book when it comes out. Highly, highly recommend this book. 5 stars across the board!
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  • Karen Barber
    January 1, 1970
    Kate Alice Marshall’s first foray into middle grade books...and it is a beauty!The town of Eden Eld is a quiet, prosperous town where nothing really happens. Eleanor (always known as Elle to her mum) has just moved there to live with her aunt after an awful incident. She feels ill at ease, and is definitely not made any more comfortable by the strange things she sees and hears around her.On her first day at school Elle is befriended by Otto and Pip, two larger than life characters who can also s Kate Alice Marshall’s first foray into middle grade books...and it is a beauty!The town of Eden Eld is a quiet, prosperous town where nothing really happens. Eleanor (always known as Elle to her mum) has just moved there to live with her aunt after an awful incident. She feels ill at ease, and is definitely not made any more comfortable by the strange things she sees and hears around her.On her first day at school Elle is befriended by Otto and Pip, two larger than life characters who can also see these strange creatures. They try to help Elle settle in, but it quickly becomes apparent that these three have been brought together for a reason.The reason is linked to a mysterious book of fairy tales that Elle remembers her mother reading to her. The stories talk of a character called Mr January who struck a bargain with the inhabitants of Eden Eld...that every thirteen years he would take three children, all born on Halloween, and they would never be heard of again. In exchange the town would prosper.Naturally, our three new friends learn that they’re the intended targets for this year’s sacrifice. We follow them on their quest to break the curse.As the mother of a child born on Halloween I couldn’t resist this. The story is slight fully quirky - dark and yet not overly scary. I love the hints of more to come...wouldn’t it be great to see them again and see whether they succeed in their new aim?
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  • Caryn - iam.caryn
    January 1, 1970
    While reading this book, my face could best be described as the eyes wide emoji. This was definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year.If you’re an adult reader like me, and grew up reading and watching Goosebumps, and watching Are You Afraid of the Dark? then you will understand why I’m now fully obsessed with this.If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, you will devour this book. Yes, it’s classified as middle grade because the characters are 12/13, but it seriously does read like an episo While reading this book, my face could best be described as the eyes wide emoji. This was definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year.If you’re an adult reader like me, and grew up reading and watching Goosebumps, and watching Are You Afraid of the Dark? then you will understand why I’m now fully obsessed with this.If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, you will devour this book. Yes, it’s classified as middle grade because the characters are 12/13, but it seriously does read like an episode of Stranger Things. Same vibes.If you have a middle grade reader in your life who is looking for something spooky and epic to read, I can’t recommend this enough. It’s heart poundingly scary but in a fun way.I’m eagerly awaiting the next book!
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    Delightfully spooky and fun! I love the characters, the mystery, the enchantment is it all! I can’t wait to come back to Eden Eld (I hope there is more to come!).
  • jocelyn
    January 1, 1970
    Rules for Vanishing was my favorite (YA) horror book of 2019, so when I found out Kate Alice Marshall had written a MG horror for 2020, I was beyond ready to be spooked again. And spooked I was! Marshall's writing is precise and atmospheric, and the pacing of Thirteens is breakneck. I practically read this in one setting. The blurb sets this up well: Eleanor moves to Ashton House to live with her uncle and aunt and starts to see things that had left her alone for years. Maybe, just maybe, th Rules for Vanishing was my favorite (YA) horror book of 2019, so when I found out Kate Alice Marshall had written a MG horror for 2020, I was beyond ready to be spooked again. And spooked I was! Marshall's writing is precise and atmospheric, and the pacing of Thirteens is breakneck. I practically read this in one setting. The blurb sets this up well: Eleanor moves to Ashton House to live with her uncle and aunt and starts to see things that had left her alone for years. Maybe, just maybe, the town of Eden Eld is the root cause of the weirdness. While the marketing for this is Coraline meets "Stranger Things," I'd argue that Small Spaces meets "Gravity Falls" is a better equivalent for the structure and feel of Thirteens. Regardless, if you're a middle grade reader looking for some folk horror, this delivers.*CWs: parental abandonment, child neglect, attempted murder, housefire recounted, implied death of a mother, pregnancy & labour (off-page), and kidnapping (*copied from rachel C's review)
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  • Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
    January 1, 1970
    RTC
  • Alma
    January 1, 1970
    Those of you who are regulars on my blog know I refuse to read books in a series unless I have all of them in front of me. However, the publisher tricked me. I actually enjoyed it, but the cliffhanger ending reminded me that nothing could be tied into a big bow until the series was completed. I don’t even know how many books will BE in the series! I can’t wait to find out what happens next to Ellie, Otto and Pip, and the first book hasn’t even officially come out yet!! To read more about my angs Those of you who are regulars on my blog know I refuse to read books in a series unless I have all of them in front of me. However, the publisher tricked me. I actually enjoyed it, but the cliffhanger ending reminded me that nothing could be tied into a big bow until the series was completed. I don’t even know how many books will BE in the series! I can’t wait to find out what happens next to Ellie, Otto and Pip, and the first book hasn’t even officially come out yet!! To read more about my angst about this book, go to my blog. Make sure you type in your email on my blog to follow me & get FULL reviews in your inbox: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress....
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusEleanor ("Elle") moves to the town of Eden Eld to live with her aunt and uncle after a terrifying incident when her mother set fire to their house and Eleanor almost died. Her pregnant aunt is very kind, but doesn't want to discuss her mother, and doesn't notice some of the odd things that Eleanor does, like a huge grandfather clock that appears outside of her room, but runs backwards. When Eleanor goes back to school, she is sent to a private school where she mee E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusEleanor ("Elle") moves to the town of Eden Eld to live with her aunt and uncle after a terrifying incident when her mother set fire to their house and Eleanor almost died. Her pregnant aunt is very kind, but doesn't want to discuss her mother, and doesn't notice some of the odd things that Eleanor does, like a huge grandfather clock that appears outside of her room, but runs backwards. When Eleanor goes back to school, she is sent to a private school where she meets the friendly Otto and Pip, the daughter of the principal. These two are very helpful when Eleanor shares with them that she is seeing odd things like the clock, shadowy dogs, and menacing birds. Otto and Pip are helpful; they point out that the January Society, which Pip's mother is in, generally means them harm, Eleanor's house was owned by the Ashford Family, who had nefarious dealings, and the Thirteen Tales of the Gray book that had belonged to Eleanor's mother and mysteriously appears in her room seems to reveal some of the secrets about the "wrong things" that the three keep seeing. They also manage to uncover the fact that all three of them have birthdays on Halloween and palindromic names, making it likely that they are the ones marked from the alarming town tradition of sacrificing three young people in order to maintain the town's prosperity. Can the three find a way to circumvent this before it is too late?Strengths: The details about the January Society and the Ashford family and their involvement in all of this are laid out with a lot of clever twists and turns; I've skimmed over those so as not to ruin some of the creepy surprises. The ensemble cast is great, and I enjoyed how they supported Eleanor even though they had problems of their own. The house is a great, creepy setting, and Pip's mother is a solid villain. Weaknesses: While many of the "wrong things" were creepy, they weren't as scary as my students would prefer. I never felt like the children were in any real danger. What I really think: This seemed similar to Roberts' Witches of Willow Cove, Funaro's Watch Hollow, White's Shadow School: Archimancy, and Nobel's The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane (Black Hollow Lane #1) and even West's The Shadows. Creepy, mystery filled, clue oriented, and well written, none of these are hugely popular in my library the way that much creepier books like Bell's Frozen Charlotte or Schwab's City of Ghosts are.
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  • Bookish Farheen
    January 1, 1970
    five star middle grade mystical horror that actually lives up to its claim. truly when it says coraline meets stranger things. Sleepy town in the nowheres of Oregon, Eden Eld is the safest haven one could find. Our main girl has always seen things that are just wrong, that shouldn't really exist, much less be seen. When Eleanor is sent to live with her Aunt to Eden Eld after her mother tries to kill her, she doesn't really believe she'll ever be normal again. Starting at her new private school five star middle grade mystical horror that actually lives up to its claim. truly when it says coraline meets stranger things. Sleepy town in the nowheres of Oregon, Eden Eld is the safest haven one could find. Our main girl has always seen things that are just wrong, that shouldn't really exist, much less be seen. When Eleanor is sent to live with her Aunt to Eden Eld after her mother tries to kill her, she doesn't really believe she'll ever be normal again. Starting at her new private school she meets Otto and Pip who she later discovers also see things that are wrong. As they discover the mysteries behind their seeming normal hometown and its founding fathers, they are plunged into the horrors and a race against time that may cost them their lives thanking god i didn't really choose halloween time to read this bc i'd be spooked out of my wits. did stay up late reading this though and me a 20 year old adult whose never spooked by a book before was genuinely spooked. true story checked my lock atleast 5 times before going to bed. HIGHLY HIGHLY RECCOMENDED!!!!!!!! to readers of middle grade and anyone who is looking for a quick adventure time. easy writing, good plot, amazing analogies throughout. Had a blast reading this one
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  • Patrick Maughan
    January 1, 1970
    I devoured this delicious book on the first two nights of vacation this week. Go buy it from your friendly local indie bookseller (or if it’s not on the shelf, ask them to order it)!Thirteens is a fast-paced, smart, mysterious, SPOOKY supernatural story that you won’t be able to put down, whether you’re a grown adult or of an age with the protagonists.A tale of three kids who share a birthday, a secret fate, and a mission to save their town from an ancient evil, Thirteens harks back to the grand I devoured this delicious book on the first two nights of vacation this week. Go buy it from your friendly local indie bookseller (or if it’s not on the shelf, ask them to order it)!Thirteens is a fast-paced, smart, mysterious, SPOOKY supernatural story that you won’t be able to put down, whether you’re a grown adult or of an age with the protagonists.A tale of three kids who share a birthday, a secret fate, and a mission to save their town from an ancient evil, Thirteens harks back to the grand tradition of classic folk tales without compromising on originality. The plot is tense and scary without being gory or brutal. The dialogue is snappy and fun. The supernatural aspects of the setting feel organic and lived-in, and the main characters’ responses to the menace and strangeness they face feels believable: these are kids, with the vulnerability and resiliency and heart you’d expect to see in kids.Of course, if you’re a fan of Kate Alice Marshall’s other works, you already know all this.Wait, you’re still here? You’ve read enough of MY words, quit wasting time and go READ THIS BOOK!
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  • Sapphic Shelves
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Penguin and Netgalley for an arc of this book. I had a great time with this book. To fully give this book justice I suggest reading it at Halloween if you can. It's pitched as Coraline x Stranger Things. To me, it reminds me much more of Sawkill Girls but for a younger audience. I appreciate that this book moves so fast and keeps you so engaged. It easily falls into the MG ranks of Small Spaces and Ghost Squad. I didn't realize it would be a series when I picked it up but I would defin Thanks to Penguin and Netgalley for an arc of this book. I had a great time with this book. To fully give this book justice I suggest reading it at Halloween if you can. It's pitched as Coraline x Stranger Things. To me, it reminds me much more of Sawkill Girls but for a younger audience. I appreciate that this book moves so fast and keeps you so engaged. It easily falls into the MG ranks of Small Spaces and Ghost Squad. I didn't realize it would be a series when I picked it up but I would definitely like to revisit these three!
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  • Susan Morris
    January 1, 1970
    Like Stranger Things meets Coraline, Thirteens is grounded in a small town with fairytale feel and spooky, creepy details. Powerful relationships elevate the stakes, and the crafty creatures they meet—The core theme of following your heart to find the right path through the fog of fear will ring true to kids, and the deeper messaging of how heroes are the ones who step up to fix what’s wrong with world even when it’s not their fault will Like Stranger Things meets Coraline, Thirteens is grounded in a small town with fairytale feel and spooky, creepy details. Powerful relationships elevate the stakes, and the crafty creatures they meet—<3 the Cat of Ashes!!!—add nuance and depth to the world. The core theme of following your heart to find the right path through the fog of fear will ring true to kids, and the deeper messaging of how heroes are the ones who step up to fix what’s wrong with world even when it’s not their fault will inspire them. Highly recommended for a spooky, fun read.
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  • Sarah Yung
    January 1, 1970
    3-3.5? The characterizations are pretty flat, with more telling than showing, but it's a solid middle-grade fantasy overall. I appreciate how the existence of parents isn't completely disregarded, plus the worldbuilding is fun and engaging, and the comps to Coraline and Stranger Things are well-earned. Satisfying ending with an intriguing setup for subsequent installments. I'll likely pick up the next book if I come across it.
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  • Charlie Harrington
    January 1, 1970
    A town with a curse, mysterious keys, an evil society, a spooky old house, monsters in the night, and three thirteen year old friends who might just be the heroes this town needs. Reminiscent of John Bellairs tales, this book is a the perfect spooky October read (or September, in my case). Full of action and also research in the town archives - my favorite kind of action.
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  • Kayla
    January 1, 1970
    Kate Alice Marshall does it again!!! I absolutely loved this book. It is such a good YA Halloween spooky read. I couldn't put it down. The characters were so fun. Just loved this book! Definitely the comparison to Caroline and Stranger Things is VERY accurate!
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  • Wolverinefactor
    January 1, 1970
    Would have been a 5 but the ending felt like a cop out
  • Perla Villa
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Can't wait for the next book!
  • Alex
    January 1, 1970
    Perfect. I haven’t read middle grade in so long but I loved this one
  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    This book was FUN. Plain and simple. Just what I needed right now during quarantine and my book slump. An added bonus was the endearingly spooky atmosphere, perfect for Halloween.
  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    This was a delicious middle grade novel that reminded me of my favorite childhood book, John Bellairs' The House with a Clock in Its Walls. It had just the right combination of vivid atmosphere, spookiness, and spunky protagonists that kid me would have loved (adult me did too!). Highly recommended!I received a digital ARC from the publisher via Netgalley.
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  • Luna Van
    January 1, 1970
    A book about a curse where children disappear on Halloween?? Sign me in
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