Monday, August 11, 2008

13: A NOVEL by Jason Roberts Brown & Dan Elish

Evan's life is out-of-control. After his father falls in love with a young flight attendant, Evan's mother decides to leave New York City and move in with an old college friend. That's how he finds himself in Appleton, Indiana, a town that barely has a Main Street.

To make matters worse, Evan will soon be turning 13, and as a young Jewish boy, he should be preparing for his bar mitzvah. His mother wants things to be as normal as possible so she sets about finding a rabbi and planning the big event. It doesn't take a genius to guess that there isn't a single Jew in Appleton, Indiana. Evan's mom finds Rabbi Weiner on the internet. He is an old guy with stinky breath and not a lot of patience.

Spending every afternoon with Rabbi Weiner doesn't help Evan make friends and settle into Indiana life before school starts. However, he does get lucky and meets the girl next door. She isn't exactly his ideal vision of a first new friend, but it is tough to be picky when you are new in town. Patrice likes to read and watch old black and white movies. It doesn't take Evan long to realize she isn't part of the popular crowd. Evan does eventually meet the popular kids, but they don't turn out to be the friends he hoped for.

Evan faces his challenges with a sense of humor that will have readers laughing aloud. They will also cheer for him and feel for him as he falls in and out of the popular crowd. The Brown/Elish writing team has also created a musical titled 13. If it is even half as funny as this book, it should be a hit.

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