Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Thirteen Days to Midnight

Carman, Patrick. Thirteen Days to Midnight.
Wow. Don't know why Carman has been writing fantasies like Elyon and Atherton for elementary students when clearly his talents lie in taut, psychological thrillers for YA.

Jacob is recovering from the death of his foster father in a car accident that also should have taken his own life. Right before the crash, the father said "You are indestructible" to Jacob; the same thing that he writes on the cast of a new girl, Ophelia, shortly before she has a skateboarding accident that should have left her scraped and bloody. The two high schoolers, along with friend Milo, begin to discover that Jacob does have the power to be indestructible, and can pass it to others, and then take it back. Ophelia especially tests the limits of this and is intent on saving as many people from death as she can. Jacob struggles with the power-- passing it on becomes more and more difficult, and Ophelia's behavior becomes more erratic and dangerous. Jacob and Milo try to find out the nature of the power, and uncover secrets that Jacob's foster father had kept covered for a very long time.

I got a bit confused at the end, especially with some of the theological implications, but this was a fabulous book, and depicted teenagers very realistically. What would teenagers do if they found out they couldn't be injured? Ride skateboards off roofs and bait bullies, certainly. There are also some brilliant turns of phrase-- I'd quote them, but Surly Teenage Boy has my copy of the book. The one involved a teacher who, when he takes away cell phones from students, keeps them and answers "shut your pie hole" to every text received, which is just brilliant. The other involved Ophelia and Jacob riding a skateboard together and kissing, and had just the right blend of romance and thrills.

Haven't read much lately that really made me sit up and take notice, and I wasn't overly motivated to read this weekend (afraid of burning through my pile for the 48 Hour Reading Challenge this weekend), but this was awesome. I hope that Carman has some similar books in the works.


  1. Okay, normally I don't skew toward YA in my reading, but you've sold me on this one...

  2. This one sounds excellent! I need to get my hands on it.