13 Things to Know About 13

1. This book is about a guy named Evan.

2. Three months before his 13th birthday, he has to move from New ...

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13 Things to Know About 13

1. This book is about a guy named Evan.

2. Three months before his 13th birthday, he has to move from New York City 3. to Appleton, Indiana,

4. where nobody knows him.

5. He's not very happy about it.

6. His mom is kind of nuts.

7. His dad is kind of nuts too.

8. Evan's not nuts, but he keeps ending up in nutty situations.

9. One of them involves a movie called The Bloodmaster.

10. Another involves a girl named Patrice.

11. But the nuttiest situation of all is his bar mitzvah—

12. which it's possible no one will come to.

13. Unless Evan can make some new friends really fast.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Elizabeth Fronk
Evan has a problem just before his thirteenth birthday: he must move to Indiana with his mother because his parents are getting a divorce. In Indiana, Evan must cope with a small house with a dog, no Internet, and having to prepare for his Bar Mitzvah. Evan needs friends in Indiana to come to his Bar Mitzvah. His hopes for this brighten when he meets Patrice. Evan meets the high school quarterback Brett and the "cool kids." Patrice is not part of this group. Evan believes he must choose between Brett and Brett's group or Patrice. When Archie, the kid on crutches who everyone considers weird, wants to come to the Bar Mitzvah, Evan thinks his social life is over. As Evan adjusts to his new home and prepares for the Bar Mitzvah, he comes to discover who his true friends are and accept his parents' divorce. This fast-paced novel, based upon a musical, strikes a good balance between teenage angst, wry humor, and the difficulties with divorce. In spite of a predictable and somewhat too tidy ending, middle school boys and girls can find much to enjoy with Evan. Reviewer: Elizabeth Fronk
KLIATT - Claire Rosser
Bar mitzvah, divorce, leaving the familiar and moving to a new community—these are the serious themes of this novel for young YAs. Throughout is a healthy sense of the absurd. Evan is accustomed to life in NYC, and a private school filled with fellow students who are also preparing for their bar mitzvahs (some very elaborate); so imagine what a shock to move with his distraught, newly single mother to a small town in Indiana. They manage to find a rabbi but there is no Jewish community and no Jewish place of worship, so Evan is facing a pathetic situation for his coming-of-age celebration. His wish to have a lot of friends attend makes him vulnerable to trying to impress the popular kids in town, even if it means alienating the girl who truly has been a good friend. Then there is an amazingly unique character—Archie—a misshapen young man, suffering from cerebral palsy and shunned all his life, whose courage and humor help Evan understand what it means to "become a man," his challenge as he faces his 13th birthday and his bar mitzvah ceremony. The story reaches farce intensity at times, which will appeal to readers able to appreciate the wild situations. The authors collaborated on the musical 13, and each has a lot of writing experience. Reviewer: Claire Rosser
Kirkus Reviews
"No one said becoming a man was easy," Rabbi Weiner tells Evan Goldman during preparations for his Bar Mitzvah. But Evan, recently relocated to Appleton, Ind., from New York in the wake of his parents' split, just wants to "fit in with the people who fit in." He even manages the feat, for a while at least, hanging with the star quarterback and the prettiest girls instead of the distinctly less-cool alternatives, nerdy Patrice and disabled Archie. As Evan has a conscience and friends and adults helping him on the way to manhood, however, his enticing brush with coolness in his new school is short-lived. This tale of middle-school peer culture is familiar but handled especially well in this tie-in to the musical, which opened in Los Angeles last year. The pace is quick, the humor broad and the life lessons spelled out clearly. By the end, Evan's Bar Mitzvah has gone well, a sign that he is leaving the "mishegoss" about being cool and popular behind him. (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061957253
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/16/2009
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 303,975
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • File size: 657 KB

Meet the Author

Jason Robert Brown is the Tony Award-winning lyricist and composer of Parade, The Last Five Years, and Songs for a New World as well as the musical 13, which he collaborated on with Dan Elish. At his bar mitzvah he sang a song he had written about breaking up with his girlfriend, even though he had not at that time ever had a girlfriend. Jason lives in California with his wife and daughter.

Dan Elish is the insanely gifted author of many novels for both adults and children, including The Attack of the Frozen Woodchucks, 13 (based on the Broadway musical), and The Worldwide Dessert Contest.

When he's not busy typing furiously away on his Lap-Top (not a Gum-Top or a Hat-Top or even a Balloon-Top), you can find Dan in New York City, where he lives with his wife, Andrea, and daughter, Cassie, and son, John.

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Read an Excerpt

13 EPB


I Guess it started with Angelina, the flight attendant my father met on a flight from New York to L.A. last year. I don't know the whole story. Maybe he caught her eye while she was handing out pretzels? Pretty much all I know is that on July 15 at 5:45 p.m., I left Central Park and came home to our apartment to find Mom bawling on the sofa and Dad looking sheepish by the terrace-sort of like he had just cut in front of an old lady to snag a cab.

"Evan. Your father has some news." Dad drew in a sharp breath. "It's really very sad." I knew it: My grandmother had died. No, grandfather. Wait, definitely my aunt, oh my god, my aunt Elaine, it was going to be horrible.

"Your mother and I can't live together anymore." I sat-more like collapsed-on our old blue easy chair, like I had taken a giant cannonball to my gut.

"What?" I said. It was all sort of hard to believe.

My folks fought every once in a while, but it was a "Why can't you put dinner on the table for once?" kind of a thing, not "I hate you and don't want to be married to you anymore."

Anyway, the next thing I knew, we were all crying and hugging. Then, before I could catch my breath, my dad was heading to the door with his suitcase.

"I'll pick you up for dinner tomorrow at six," he said. "We'll talk, okay, buddy?"

And just like that I became one of those kids you see on those after-school specials: a guy who sees his dad once a week for dinner and every other weekend. Except I wasn't on TV. And by the time my dad had one foot in the hall, I was crying all over again.

And my mom? Well, she tried to be good, but it tookonly an hour before the bathroom door was closed, and I could hear her screaming from inside: "A STEWARDESS! IS HE KIDDING?"

My dad had made it sound mutual, like something they had agreed on together over their morning latte. But listening to my mom, I realized that it had been a one-sided decision-my dad had decided he couldn't live with my mom. And it began to sink in that, by extension, my father also wouldn't be living with me-not ever again. That night before bed, I punched out my pillow. Then I kicked in my closet door. You might say I was angry. You might say I was a lot of things-none of them good.

The next night at dinner, my dad said all the stuff you would expect. He never meant for it to happen. Life throws you strange curves. He loved me more than anything. I could see he was trying, but by the end of the meal I had tuned him out. Sure, each one of his so-called explanations sounded reasonable, but to my ears he was just spinning lines, desperate to get my forgiveness. Bottom line: My father was ditching me for some woman in polyester who dispensed peanuts across the friendly skies of America. It didn't matter that she turned out to be nice when I met her a few days later. By that point I had already made my decision. I hated her. And to tell the truth, I was starting to hate him.

"But you can't really hate him."

That's what Steve said. He was my best buddy. It was hard talking to him about the miseries of my home life, because he and my other best friend, Bill, were in a much more celebratory mood: Three days before all this happened, I had made contact with Nina Handelman's upper lip at Peter Kramer's birthday party.

"How was her breath?" Bill said. "I bet her breath smells like candy."

"Whatever," I muttered.

"Evan, you can't really hate your own father," Steve repeated.

"Oh, yeah?" I said. "Sure I can." "It's not biologically possible," Bill said. "He's your dad."

"I know he's my dad," I said. "But he took off. I mean, you should see my mom."

It was ugly. For the first few days after Dad left, she pretty much lived in her bathrobe, staring vacantly into space, wandering around the apartment, crying. On the fifth day, while she was halfheartedly attempting to make dinner, still in her bathrobe, I heard her mutter, "I've gotta get us out of here-we're not safe."

"Huh?" I said. She forced a huge, fake smile.

"Never mind me, just talking to myself," she said. "More spaghetti?"

Later that night, I caught her crying again, this time on the phone to my aunt Pam. I didn't really listen much to what she was saying; I just heard the emotional roller coaster in the next room. Suddenly Mom's head popped into my doorway. "Hey, kiddo, guess what we're going to do?" It was the happiest she had sounded since Dad left. "We're moving to Indiana!"

She was grinning, ear to ear, like Dr. Teeth, even though her cheeks were still damp with tears.

"That's great, Mom," I said, and made a mental note to talk to Steve's mom about all of this. She was a shrink.

"Pam offered me a job!" Aunt Pam had an antiques store. She sold about a chair a week. My mother had a doctoral degree in anthropology. Nothing was adding up.

"Mom, we can't go to Indiana. I've got school. And friends."

She looked at me, still cheerful, perky almost. "They've got schools in Indiana."

I went on, making my case. It was only five weeks before my first year in junior high. A few months before my thirteenth birthday.

But my mother would not be swayed; we were moving to Indiana! To be with Pam! Wasn't that great? I argued with her, but it was like talking to a boulder. An insane, grinning boulder. She wanted as far away from my dad as she could get. And I'm guessing she wanted to punish him a little bit, too. You know-if he didn't want her, he wasn't going to get me, either.

13 EPB. Copyright (c) by Jason Brown . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 25, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Tasha for TeensReadToo.com

    In three months, Evan will be thirteen. He is already planning his Bar Mitzvah when he learns his mom and dad are splitting up and he's moving to the middle of nowhere -- Appleton, Indiana. On top of leaving NYC and his friends, Evan now has to plan his Bar Mitzvah in Indiana. He knows no one will show up and is horrified to find out that it will take place in the basement of the Methodist Church. <BR/><BR/>Even though Evan expects his life to be miserable, he soon befriends Patrice, a pretty girl who loves old movies and is a little bit of a geek. Evan never has a problem with her until he becomes friends with Bret. Bret is an All-American boy. He's the junior high's quarterback and is loved by all the girls and their parents, too, for that matter. As Evan becomes more involved with Brett and his gang of friends, he starts to lose sight of how friends are really supposed to treat each other. <BR/><BR/>As the weeks go by, Evan gets tangled up with planning his "becoming a man" speech, more drama than he can handle, and a particularly weird situation which involves the movie The Bloodmaster. Evan soon learns that being a man isn't all it's cracked up to be and ends up learning more about himself then he ever thought possible. <BR/><BR/>I was quite pleased with this book. I don't always enjoy middle-grade fiction because I find it hard to relate to, but I can vividly remember being thirteen. The authors made an unforgettable character out of Evan that made me laugh-out-loud and reminisce about days when I was his age. I remember going through similar situations as Evan did and handling them just about as well as Evan did! Just the style of writing and the words that came out of the character's mouths were funny. <BR/><BR/>While middle-grade novels may not be your first choice, I highly suggest you pick this one up and laugh along with the story. This book would also be good for reluctant readers. It's not particularly long, yet it is long enough to be a wholesome story. The message of self discovery and being your own kind of person is also a great part of this book. 13 was an enjoyable read that will keep readers wanting more.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Love it

    Great book never knew about the show until it closed and the book was fantastic

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2013

    This was my favorite book in middle school. Jason Robert Brown a

    This was my favorite book in middle school. Jason Robert Brown and Dan Elish did a phenomenal job demonstrating what junior high or high school is like between bullying, cliques, and growing up. There is also a lot of comedy to keep you entertained.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2012


    This is probakly the best book i ever read because i couldnt stop reading it it made yu think it was over then it jumped out at yu and surprised yu with things from the book i hihly reccommend this book and hope everyone likes it FIVE STARS!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013



    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2012


    It was a great book i love even and brent

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2008

    13 amazing

    This Book was great all the way through the musical is a take off of the book the music is written by Jason Robert Brow as well the book has a great story line and the musical is amazing. Jason Robert Brown is great i was a fan of the musical then i heard that it was a book. The story is great and i would recommend it for any age. 13 the musical closes on Broadway on January 4, 2009

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  • Posted October 26, 2008

    This Book Is GOOD

    This book is very good. I misplased it over the summer when i bought it at Barnes and Noble and i just found it yesterday. I left off at chapter 7 and I just finished today! It was so good, I couldn`t put it down! I looked at other reviews from other people, and they say there`s a musical!WOW! I gotta see it since the book was awesome, the musical will be amazing..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2008

    The Show Was AWESOME

    I saw the show in Connecticut like 5 times, and it was so awesome. I can't wait to read the book!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    13 Rocks!!!

    Its awesome. And, I heard the music to the show on the website and its really cool too. I can't wait to see it in NY!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2008

    The musical at the Mark Taper Forum was AMAZING!!

    The musical was GREAT! The book should be really great too!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted July 17, 2009

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