Hmm… this book really confuses me. I adored some parts, but it was the parts that were not written that made it eh.

Winnie Perry is finally a teenager! She just turned 13, and she feels pretty good about herself. She has too best friends, Cinnamon and Dinah. Cinnamon is growing up too fast, and Dinah seems to stay behind. And then there’s Lars, Winnie’s boyfriend. Everything seems fine on the outside, but Winnie secretly isn’t “okay” like her parents say.

School isn’t mentioned once in this book, even though Winnie is in eighth grade and therefore should have growing amounts of work. Also, Lars’ schoolwork isn’t mentioned, and he is in ninth grade. Winnie did not talk about teachers, which seemed unusual. My friends and I talk about teachers and classes all the time, even if it is just who is in the different classes. I also thought that time passed very strangly. I was unaware of the transition between months, weeks, and days. Suddenly, a month had gone by with little mention to the reader. Thirteen reads more like an on-and-off diary than a first-person novel to me.

I enjoyed the romance with Lars, because unlike most middle grade realistic fiction/chick lit, the romance is in no way over the top. I remember seventh and eighth grade well- people “go out” for a few weeks, and then break up. It wasn’t too intense, either. I really related to Winnie, as opposed to other 13-year-olds that are boy obsessive. I would really enjoy reading Eleven and Twelve.

Overall, I would liked to have seen Thirteen on my seventh grade bookshelf. I read so many books that year, and Thirteen reminds me of so many books I enjoyed this year. I bet that my school library even has the first two… let me check. Surprisingly, we don’t have either of the first two books.

My impression of the book could be contained in one word, “sweet.” I sort of knew how it would end from the beginning. Winnie is such a subdued character for a change. Lately I’ve been reading about really spunky characters, and I enjoy a protagonist more similar to me.

Comes out February 28th, 2008. Previous books in the series are Eleven and Twelve.