Author: Kristin O'Donnell Tubb
Publication: Feiwel & Friends (January 8, 2013)
Description: What if there was a 13th zodiac sign?
You’re no longer Sagittarius, but Ophiuchus, the healer, the 13th sign.
Your personality has changed. So has your mom’s and your best friend’s.
What about the rest of the world?
What if you were the one who accidentally unlocked the 13th sign, causing this world-altering change, and infuriating the other 12 signs?
Jalen did it, and now she must use every ounce of her strength and cunning to send the signs back where they belong. Lives, including her own, depend upon it.
My Thoughts: THE 13th SIGN was a fast-paced middle grade novel about a young girl who is dealing with the serious illness of her grandmother and still reeling from the disappearance of her father when she was nine and had a serious illness of her own. We start the story with Jalen and her friend Ellie in a French Quarter voodoo store on her thirteenth birthday as she carries on the tradition of having her horoscope read. Her beloved Nina would be with her but is in the hospital and is too ill.
Jalen is a cynic who doesn't really believe in astrology or horoscopes but she is forced to change her mind when she finds an old unusual book with mysterious locks. She and Ellie manage to open the locks but doing so changes things. All of a sudden there is a 13th zodiac sign. Ophiuchus is the snake and a healer. All of the personalities of people have changed because of this addition to the zodiac and the other signs want her gone.
Jalen has to defeat the twelve signs of the zodiac and return them to the heavens. If she does this, she has hope that Ophiuchus can heal her grandmother. Jalen, Ellie and Ellie's brother Brandon set off on a quest to defeat the signs of the zodiac with some unexpected help along the way. They have 24 hours to complete their mission and get across New Orleans to save Nina.
The book is filled with exciting adventures but it also has a message about grief and healing and making tough decisions. Middle graders will read this one for the adventure but come away with some interesting things to think about too.
Was this all true? I had to defeat all twelve signs of the zodiac -- including, apparently, our guide, Gemini -- and find Ophiuchus? Nina always said, "Crazier things have happened!" But this was top-level crazy.I received this ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.