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Thirteen days to midnight
Book
2011
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

The author of the Land of Elyon series crafts a creepy fantasy-mystery for older readers. Grieving over the sudden death of his well-liked foster parent (and harboring a guilty secret about that), Jacob discovers that his inheritance includes the power of invulnerability. Bemused, he shares his imperviousness to pain or physical damage with his impulsive best friend, Milo, and a beautiful, intense new classmate named Ophelia and discovers that he can temporarily pass the ability on to them. He quickly comes to regret the sharing, as Ophelia engages in an increasingly dangerous round of tests, stunts, and life-saving rescues. Ominously, the power also begins to feel darker and wilder as it fends off death after death. Carman cranks the suspense up smoothly on the way to a horrifying revelation, a (literally) shocking climax, and a not entirely happy, but at least not tragic, ending. A provocative take on the theme that every superpower comes with a price.--Peters, John Copyright 2010 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

A ward of the state for most of his life, Jacob has bounced from home to home until landing with the eccentric and mildly iconoclastic Mr. Fieldingwho, when the car they're in hits a tree at 60 miles an hour, dies, but not before passing on an unusual attribute. And with the same three simple words, the 15-year-old forever alters his life and the lives of his two friends, Milo and Ophelia, as he passes along his power of invulnerability. Using the power for altruistic purposes after a period of extreme experimentation, Jacob learns that protection from death comes with a steep price. Instead of offering a horror movie rip-off, Carman explores survivor's guilt and raises theological issues, all within an action-packed and twisted tale. Ophelia's haunting breakdown adds a second layer of complexity to the narrative, though Milo seems to avoid any sort of development. Mr. Fielding's journals offer slightly more exposition than is necessary, but the author pulls the story together without too heavy a hand. Page-turning suspense through the end. (Thriller. YA) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
You are indestructible. These are the words that transfer an astonishing power to Jacob Fielding that changes everything. After all, there's something addictive about testing the limits of fear, experiencing the thrill of walking through fire, or saving your friend from a beating in front of the whole school. Then Ophelia James, the beautiful and daring new girl in town, suggests that they use the power to do good, to save others at risk of death. But with every heroic act, the power grows into the specter of a curse. How to decide who lives and who dies? And why does darkness seem to be chasing them? Jacob only has thirteen days to figure out how to harness a power that even the world's greatest escape artist could not outrun... and the answer is chilling: What if he has to kill the one he loves to save her? In the context of a unconventional gothic super hero story, Pat Carman has envisioned a high concept tale of intrigue, romance, friendship and adventure that probes deep into what teens face as they enter young adult years: navigating increasingly complex choices with greater consequences, as well as the grey areas blurring the definitions of right and wrong.
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