Book Review – Thirteen

0823432947THIRTEEN is author Tom Hoyle’s debut novel, and it’s sure to keep readers up late at night. Thirteen boys were born at midnight on the stroke of the new millennium, and twelve of them are dead. They were killed by a cult called “The People” that believes that an imagined “Master” commanded them to do so. However, 13-year-old Adam is the last one on the list. He has absolutely no idea of the dire danger he is in. Time is running out, for not only Adam, but also the lives of an entire city. Set in iconic London, this thriller will keep readers on their toes as they meet characters who may or may not be trustworthy.

This book certainly keeps the pages turning, but readers will have to suspend their disbelief in the plot. I thought that the plot seemed highly unbelievable in the modern world, with little to no police/adult involvement concerning the murders “The People” have committed. Personally, I simply couldn’t buy that such a big cult existed right under the noses of top-notch police officers and detectives.

However, when I reached the Appendix, which shared information on real-life cults, I was shocked that such things do exist — hundreds have died at the hands of cults throughout history. This was perhaps the most haunting revelation I got from THIRTEEN; though “The People” is fiction, what happened to Adam may have been a variation of something that actually occurred in the past.

THIRTEEN is full of interesting characters, from our unpredictable, smart hero, Adam, to the sly, zealous Viper, a girl who works with “The People”. Though Hoyle’s dialogue falls short in its well-meaning attempt to emulate teen-speak, he certainly knows how to write visceral action with perfect word-choice. He paints pictures that can range from relatively bloodless to gruesomely gory, depending on the reader’s imaginations. The strongest aspects of THIRTEEN are its action-packed scenes and sense of mystery, which will propel readers through the book in no time.

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About Cassandra Hsiao

Cassandra Hsiao is a senior at OCSA (Orange County School of the Arts). Her work has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and National Student Poets Program. She has been chosen as finalists of playwriting competitions held by California Young Playwrights, The Blank Theatre, Writopia Labs, and Princeton University. Her poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in TeenReads, Jet Fuel Review, Feminine Inquiry, Aerie International and more. She also conducts print and on-camera interviews as a Star Reporter and Film Critic for multiple online outlets. She won a National Gracie Award in Student Online Video Host Category by The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation .

Posted on March 4, 2015, in Books Review. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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