Most of us know Patrick Carman for his Land Of Elyon (fantasy world, talking animals, awesome library) series, or maybe his Atherton trilogy (adventure, awesome illustrations, cool world), but the last thing I expected from him was a young adult novel about superpowers.
Though I don't know if you'd call Thirteen Days To Midnight a superhero novel. No one makes themselves a costume and runs off to fight the forces of evil or anything. But Jacob Fielding definitely has a power, and Ophelia "Oh" James and Milo Coffin think it's a good idea to use it (it's not).
Jacob Fielding was the foster kid of a Catholic priest. That is, until said priest died in a car accident. Seconds before the car crash, he turned to Jacob and said, "You are indestructable." That was when everything started to change.
And everything did change when Jacob finally went back to the (Catholic) school a month after the accident, and met the new girl Oh James. Love at first sight. Sigh.
Through a series of unfortunate events (heh), Oh and Milo (Jacob's best friend), discover that Jacob is now, literally, indestructable, and he has the power to transfer his indestructability to anyone just by saying or thinking, "You are indestructable." Oh comes up with the idea that using this transferable power, they can save people's lives.
But it soon becomes clear that things are getting out of control, and Jacob realizes that he should've done more research before experimenting with his gift. As Oh herself starts to crash, Jacob and Milo are going to have to decide how far they're willing to go to save her and stop what they started.
As regular MLU readers know, Ophelia "Oh" James made number one on my "Most Hated Literary Characters" list a few weeks back *runs off to murder her again*. Er, yeah, I don't like her much. But I kind of understand why she is the way she is, y'know? The book wouldn't quite have worked if she hadn't been so dang...argh. "Irritating" sounds too good for her, but "evil" isn't right either. You'll just have to read it and think of your own adjective.
Despite the presence of Oh, this book is amazing. Patrick Carman's writing is simply phenemonal, and all the dialogue about Hell and faith and how it incorporates into the story is brilliant. For once, the main character is made of awesome (go Jacob!), and his best friend is pretty interesting too (go Milo!). Plus, Harry Houdini. He's been a favorite of mine ever since I did a research paper on him back in sixth grade.
It's kind of hard to write a proper review of Thirteen Days To Midnight without giving away twists in the plot, and those twists are so important to the way the book is laid out. In the beginning, you have absolutely no idea what is going on, and even when you're halfway through the book, you're still finding things out that Jacob (the point of view) has been keeping a secret. And it works! It's not like, "Oh, by the way, such and such told me such and such, so I've got the answer", it's the slow unveiling of Jacob's deep secrets and thoughts. It's amazing.
All that said, I won't be able to read this book again for a very long time, if ever. It was exhausting. Plus it took all my self-control not to hurl the book across the wall because of dang beautiful Ophelia "Oh" James. But she's really the only problem with the book, so I'd definitely recommend it to everyone, though if you scare easily, you might want to stay away. The ending is...intense.