13 Gifts by Wendy Mass 341 pages
This title is a Mark Twain award nominee this year. You will find that a lot of my posts will be Mark Twain and Truman award nominees.
13 Gifts is the third in a very loose series by Wendy Mass. I say it's loose, because while there are cross-over characters, you can read them as stand-alone titles. I read 11 Birthdays (which was very Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray-esque) when it was a nominee and enjoyed it very much. I think that 13 Gifts was a fun read, but not as engaging as 11 Birthdays. A girl gets shipped off to her parents' hometown for the summer after getting into a pickle at her school. A series of misfortunes and bad decisions land her in more hot water once she gets to Willow Falls. Her only way out is to gather up an odd list of items for an even stranger shopkeeper. As one character points out - there are no coincidences in Willow Falls. Finding out how it all links up is really fun. Along the way, she learns quite a bit about herself, her parents and what it takes to make and keep friends. This book is great for 4th through 6th graders.