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Thirteen Days to Midnight
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Thirteen Days to Midnight

4.0 84
by Patrick Carman

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You are indestructible. These are the words that transfer an astonishing power to Jacob Fielding... and it 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


You are indestructible. These are the words that transfer an astonishing power to Jacob Fielding... and it 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 this terrifying power... and the answer is chilling: What if he has to kill the one he loves to save her?

In the context of a dark, unconventional superhero story, Patrick 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 gray areas blurring the definitions of right and wrong.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this largely successful contemporary dark fantasy, Carman's first book for YA readers, 15-year-old Jacob Fielding has both a secret power and a guilty secret. He is literally indestructible—nothing can hurt him—but gaining this newfound ability cost the life of his kindly but mysterious foster father. When Jacob discovers that he can share his invulnerability with others, he, his friend Milo, and the school's new girl, Oh, test its limits (in cringe-inducing scenes involving a lighter, a 12-foot fall onto a lamp, and a batting cage) and begin using it to save lives. But they learn that playing God—even with the intent to help—has consequences, and as Oh becomes increasingly obsessed with borrowing Jacob's indestructibility, he realizes the power has a dark will of its own, with “unrelenting claws digging into my bones like a cancer.” The novel occasionally suffers from moments of incoherence and its attempts at moral complexity can seem forced, but it produces serious chills and should appeal to readers who have grown out of Carman's Atherton and Land of Elyon series. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
VOYA - Stacey Hayman
Jacob, now fifteen, had been in foster homes since he was a toddler. Mr. Fielding met Jacob over a year ago and saw something special. He adopted Jacob and gave him a permanent home until the recent car accident that took his life. They were both in the car but Jacob survived only because Mr. Fielding passed Jacob his power of indestructibility. On Jacob's first day back at school, he meets the hot, new girl Ophelia and falls in love at first sight. Saving Oh from seriously hurting herself forces Jacob to share his secret. Oh becomes obsessed with trying to figure out how and why they should try to prevent certain people from dying. But how do you make that kind of choice and what are the consequences for changing someone's fate? In the end, Oh's desire to save the world becomes her own undoing. The drama of how this dangerous power changes the teens is lost in convoluted explanations and odd story lines that go nowhere. The horrible method needed to counteract the change comes too late to provide much of a spine-chilling thrill. A brief explanation of Mr. Fielding's history with the power brings an unexpected reference to Harry Houdini but no real idea what Jacob is meant to do with the power or how it will affect his everyday existence. Reviewer: Stacey Hayman
Children's Literature - Cynthia Levinson
Parentless Jacob Fielding has just lost his guardian in an automobile accident—an accident in which he, too, should have died. Just before the crash, Jacob heard the man he called Mr. Fielding say, "I am indestructible." And, then, ironically it seemed, he died. Jacob's best friend, Milo, Milo's girlfriend, Ophelia, Father Tim, and others at the Catholic school he attends are sympathetic. But, Jacob is haunted. It turns out that Mr. Fielding's statement is an incantation that has dark magical powers. It makes its one-at-a-time owner not only impervious to pain and injury but also immortal. Should Jacob hold onto this superpower so he can live forever unblemished? Or, should he give it away to save someone else's life? If he does bestow it on someone else, will that person use it morally? Will the world be, in some way, out of balance because a life that was supposed to be extinguished persists? After all, Father Tim explains to Jacob, it is God who determines life and death, not a teenager. Jacob confronts these issues when, because of his actions, Ophelia disappears. Structured as a thirteen-day countdown, this novel of a boy who discovers that superpowers are a mixed blessing, relates, in a voice that speaks directly to teenaged readers, a suspenseful story with believable, sympathetic characters. It also raises questions of morality, authority, friendship, and faith. Readers at various levels and with a range of tastes will find this an absorbing and provocative book. Reviewer: Cynthia Levinson
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Jacob Fielding, 15, is holding onto a number of secrets—including the truth behind the accident that killed his foster father, but which he survived without a scratch. While keeping some of his secrets to himself, Jacob reveals to his friends Milo and Oh that just before his death, Mr. Fielding gave Jacob the power of invincibility with three words: "You are indestructible." With Oh's prompting, Jacob and his friends try to use the power to save people. However, without a full understanding of the mysterious gift, they may have inadvertently caused much more damage than they could have anticipated. Steven Boyer skillfully narrates Patrick Carman's gripping supernatural thriller (Little, Brown 2010). His youthful voice is consistently believable as teenage Jacob, and his pacing is excellent. Listeners will be on the edge of their seats, cringing at some of the descriptions while mulling over the ethical dilemmas created by Jacob's unique situation.—Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
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. Fielding-who, 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)

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
760L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Thirteen Days to Midnight

By Carman, Patrick

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2010 Carman, Patrick
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780316004039


Jacob Fielding stood in a small room and stared at a body. It was a dead body, someone he could have saved but chose not to. Jacob had let the person die because, in his view, it was the right thing to do.

He watched in silence, felt the air in his lungs catch and flutter as he tried to stay calm. What was he going to do now? How could he explain? People wouldn’t understand. They’d say he was a killer.

The body hadn’t moved in the seven minutes Jacob Fielding stared at it, but it had made some unpleasant sounds that would lodge in his memory and prove difficult to get rid of.

“All of us play the same tune sooner or later,” Jacob’s best friend said. “The black symphony of the dead.”

Milo Coffin with the dyed hair and the dark humor. He of all people would know.

Jacob took out Mr. Fielding’s Zippo lighter and flicked it open, searching for a distraction. He heard the clank of metal and the sandpaper jingle of fire coming to life.

He held the flame under his fingers and wished it would burn, but it didn’t.

Jacob Fielding had come to believe that death was his closest friend. It was there when he stood in front of the mirror in the morning, there when he wrote and talked and slept. Death was always watching, trying to decide if the time had come to step into the spotlight.

Jacob Fielding was an expert in his field, and death was his subject.

It was the enemy he had come to love.



Excerpted from Thirteen Days to Midnight by Carman, Patrick Copyright © 2010 by Carman, Patrick. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Patrick Carman is the New York Times bestselling author of such acclaimed series as The Land of Elyon and Atherton. Most recently, he authored The Black Circle, the fifth title in the 39 Clues series, and the groundbreaking Skeleton Creek series. An enthusiastic reading advocate, he has visited more than 750 schools, developed village library projects in Central America, and created author outreach programs for communities. He lives in Walla Walla, Washington with his family.

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Thirteen Days to Midnight 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 84 reviews.
ChelseaW More than 1 year ago
Jacob has a secret. A secret power, to be more specific. Moments before he and Mr. Fielding got into a car accident, his caretaker told him he was indestructible. Nothing can hurt him. He's never told anyone about it. Then the new girl Ophelia comes to town and suddenly he's told both her and his best friend Milo about it. The three of them set out to learn more about Jacob's power and the rules that govern it. But as time goes by, Jacob feels a sinister dark creeping in and Ophelia begins acting very strange. Soon it becomes very clear that Jacob is running out of time to help his friend, and he can't do it alone. The first thing I must say about this book is that is was completely unpredictable. Really. I have not read Patrick Carman's Atherton books (though I will!) so I had no idea what to expect from him. My weakness for super powers brought this book to my attention and it delivered quite the fresh take on a unique power. It was easy reading and emotional without being too heavy handed. The action pulled the story along, leaving out boring lulls. This book is definitely good reading for boys. Give it a try!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book, Thirteen Days to Midnight, was written by Patrick Carman, and was published on March 12, 2010. This book was a suspenseful, romantic, comedic, thriller that starts out with Jacob Fielding and his father getting into a car accident. Jacob's father died, but he didn't. He has been wondering how he did from the time that his father was killed and after Ophelia James shows up then he figures it out, and boy does he have a lot of questions. This book affected me a lot more than I thought possible for a fictional book of this kind. It had me wondering what a loss of that kind would feel like, and how I would I handle it. The thing that was important that really would allow me to recommend this to others is the fact that it was unpredictable, and very intense. The major themes in the story are the idea that his father left him with so much, but his father died unexpectedly and had no time to tell him. One of the situations that reveal this them is when Ophelia James comes and she is in an unexpected accident, but she survives without injury. The themes of this book are very new and original. The idea that this books themes were original is the reason that I enjoyed this book so much. I recommend this book for anyone that is looking for a new type of experience in fictional reading. This book is not what I expected, but in the good way. I am not the one to read a lot of books, but after reading the first chapter of this book, I could not stop reading it till I had to put it down. I could not stop thinking about this book when I wasn't reading it, and when I was reading it I was in my own little world. I loved it!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awsome thats all I can say
La_Femme_Readers More than 1 year ago
La Femme Readers Blog My Rating: 4.5 Thirteen Days to Midnight was a captivating, nail-biting thriller. The mystery throughout the novel was well developed and exciting. Jacob, the male protagonist, questioned what he should do with his new found invincibility. When the power was passed down to him with the simple words, of "you are indestructible," everything was altered. This dark entity rested inside his soul until the day he decided to pass it along to Ophelia. In a desperate need to save the girl he loved from an injury, he lost control over his secret. Now, Milo, Ophelia and Jacob set up a deal to use this power to do good even though they weren't aware of the deadly repercussions. Patrick's writing was easy to follow. His character development was perfect. I seemed to catch on to everyone's personalities rather quickly. I liked Jacob, but he annoyed me at times. He seemed to act like a little punk around Ophelia. But, in his defense, love can make you do stupid things sometimes. Ophelia on the other hand, was quite entertaining yet scary at the same time. Out of the group, she was the one mostly effected by the power. The only character who seemed normal was definitely Milo! His sense of humor and way of calming down a tense situation were qualities I admired. Now, the struggle within Jacob was intriguing, would he save the love of his life from this power or kill her? The decision weighed heavily in my mind as I read since it was such a crucial situation to fix. Overall, the plot and unique characters made this into an enjoyable read. Patrick's mind is very creative and I enjoyed Thirteen Days to Midnight and also his newest release Trackers.
DGoodman More than 1 year ago
"The Grim Reaper doesn't disappear....he catches up." At first glance of the tagline, I can already tell that I am in for a thrilling ride; an epic tale of intrigue, action and the involvement of life versus death, written by a Messiah of modern day writing, American-born author Patrick Carman. But first impressions are never the solid truth. 13 Days to Midnight is far more than what I expected. Quoted as a hybrid of Stephen King's "Carrie", Unbreakable, Flatliners, and Donnie Darko, Patrick Carman has delivered something that is truly spectacular. With 13 Days to Midnight, Patrick Carman has created an unpredictable examination of how far someone is willing to go to save someone they cherish. Like a double-edged sword, it shows the morality between the good and evil in everybody, and a force more powerful than even indestructibility: pure and unconditional love. ******** for the full review, go to http://www.patrickcarman.com/books/13-day-review-daniel-goodman/comment-page-1/#comment-2127
peaceloveandpat More than 1 year ago
Jacob Fielding has a very interesting superpower. All he got to do is say that word and it gets passed to the person he intends to give it to, the most awesome thing too was he can take it back. The downside was, he have this girlfriend, her name is Oh. She's smart, pretty, sexy and funny unfortunately she's also a female version of Johnny Knoxsville and his gang of Jackasses. That's always a positive on my book but there are limitations, and Oh definitely went beyond. As far as good intentions go, she was on the right track only she wen too far... Jacob can use his "gift" to save lives but was it that easy? Didn't Spiderman said that with great power comes great responsibility? They obviously never thought of that And this power; it seems too good to be true, not a good sign! when is the drawback coming in? I love Jacob Fielding, but Milo Coflyn is my favorite, he was a neutral character and the most hilarious of the three plus their family book store is a book addict's dream hang out. LOL. I have listed Thirteen Days to Midnight as one of my favorite reads in 2010. Jacob, Milo and Oh looks like your your typical teenager. They get into trouble in school for stupid stuff, they deal with school jerks, the hang out, they have friends and their fun. That... until Oh got her face planted on the ground, so hard that she could have died or comatose upon impact but no she stood up unscathed, so wth right? And so the adventure has begun... The initial part of their testings and "getting to know the power" stage was entertaining until Oh lost her mind. No she was not institutionalized but she developed a god like and hero like complex, she became obsess with saving people's lives, she even bought a police scanner and practically lives inside cyber space to stay up to date with latest disasters or catastrophes. It was cool at the beginning until the power evolved into something else... I knew that's going to happen you can't play god and not expect any consequences. Fast paced, action packed, with a little bit of romance, a load of mystery, engaging characters, laugh out loud dialogues, and a has a great moral story. A must read for 2010, perfect for the young and adults looking to read adventure-mystery with a touch of the supernatural.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book, me and my freinds checked it out in our school library and read it together and we all thought that it was an easy book to get into and you end up wanting more,i flipped out when my mom told me to stop reading and go to sleep lol!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That was the totally best book ever recomend age 11 and up no 10 and tiny sqeemish people but that was the best book ever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommended specialy for teens
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was incredible I honestly love the book, it's one of the best and interesting books I've read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a really good book wiith good plot and cool characters.... i recomend it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great concept and a solid story, however, whenever the oppoturnity presented itself to expand the story and build depth or more personality in the characters, the moment seemed to pass. Too bad, the potential for another teen franchise is built on stories with the potential this book possessed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lovee all his booka.. thia onw ia great..tottaly recomend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So far from the sample I read this book seems really intested. Looking forward to buying the book and finish what I started.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An absolute amazing thriller. There is never a dull moment. Your heart will literally race from the action in this book. Buy it. Read it. AND enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can you go??
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book i have it in paperback at both my mom and dad's i want to get it on my nook to. It is my all time favorite book. If anyone asked for a book recomendation the first thing out of my mouth would be 13 DAYS TILL MIDNIGHT!!!!!!!!!!! NO BIG ON REREADING BOOKS BUT HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT RE READING THIS ONE <3!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read many books butbthis just blew me away
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is strangly good but not for 10 year olds or younger or for the squeemish
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is litterally one of the best books i have ever read. The plot is just so new and grips your attention at every angle imaginable. A MUST READ.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago