13 To Life
St. Martin’s Griffin, Jun 2010, $9.99
Jessica Gillmansen has still not recovered form the death of her mother; killed by a teenager who was her age and part of the in-crowd, but did not have the right to drive that car. She cannot wait to get out of her small town of Junction and make something of herself once she graduates.
Her morning at high school is uneventful until she meets new student Pietr Rusakova. She does not want the burden of helping him acclimate to his new school as directed by the guidance counselor. The new dude is a hunk, but Jessica in interested in super jock Derek who is seeing her enemy Jenny the cheerleader. Jessica pushes Pietr at Sarah who was a in a coma for a week and suffered brain damage although she is recovering and is intrigued by the first generation Russian-American. He has an odd edginess to him that most assume is because of his roots, which will prove right but not in the way anyone believes. Pietr brings Jessica into his dark secret world, but by doing so he places her in danger from his family and pthers.
This is a dark atmospheric young adult fantasy mindful of Twilight complete with odd behavior and strange animals appearing in weird places. Shannon Delaney draws her readers into the storyline even before the late twist of Pietr drawing Jessica into his world. Jessie holds the fine plot together as a vulnerable teen still unable to move passed her mom’s death. She is compassionate, independent and brave, but even she is not quite prepared for his world.