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13: Thirteen Stories That Capture the Agony and Ecstasy of Being Thirteen
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13: Thirteen Stories That Capture the Agony and Ecstasy of Being Thirteen

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  568 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
"If thirteen is supposed to be an unlucky would think a civilized society could come up with a way for us to skip it."

-- from "What's the Worst That Could Happen?" by Bruce Coville

No one will want to skip any of the twelve short stories and one poem that make up this collection by some of the most celebrated contemporary writers of teen fiction. The big bar
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,434)
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Mar 04, 2012 Jianne rated it really liked it
A total reminiscent of being thirteen years old, which applies to me.

Person Sharing

** Okay, I just feel like I have to do this. But if you don't want to read about me talking about this and just want to move on with the review then please feel free to skip this part. =)

What is being thirteen like for you?

Well, for me being is the time that I felt magic. But it is also the time when that magic died. Being thirteen to many (including myself back then) is just another normal day, in my thirteen
Jabiz Raisdana
What a perfect little middle school book. The stories vary in style as well as content. This collection is filled with tales about relationships, crushes, first kisses, class, family and growing up. Each story is well written enough to act as a mentor text for aspiring young writers, and they are all filled with enough humor and meaning to teach the reader a thing or two about this awkward time in their lives.

I wish we had more copies of this book, so every person who comes into my classroom co
May 31, 2015 ajoshy7 rated it really liked it
This book is a compilation of short stories, so I am going to talk about only one. Fahed, a poor young boy really wants to get these new sneakers that EVERYBODY at his school has because they always bully him about his old, tattered, faded blue shoes that he wears to school everyday, but the problem is that he is too poor to buy these nee shoes. So, he asks his mom and she says never! Then, he asks his new friend and he says yes, but he will have to go with their gang called "The Bullets" and th ...more
Apr 12, 2013 Michelle rated it really liked it
Name: Michelle Muro
Citation: Howe, J. (Ed.). (2003). 13: Thirteen stories that capture the agony and ecstasy of being thirteen. New York, NY: Atheneum Books.
Genre: Short stories
Format: Print
Selection Process: Kirkus Reviews


Becoming a teenager is difficult and many well-known authors such as Meg Cabot, Bruce Coville, Alex Sanchez, Carolyn Mackler, James Howe, and several others, help readers either relive or get through this unique and awkward time. The stories are mixed with both humor an
May 29, 2012 Owen rated it it was ok
It was a good book, I guess, but for some reason I can't bring myself to say I liked it. I had pretty high expectations for this book, and I really don't usually read short story collections, so maybe I was a bit misguided. To me, it seemed like...there was only really one side being shown of being thirteen. The stories really seemed to get repetitive as I read on. The main characters were always nobodies, losers, geeks, etc. and at the end they're still 'unpopular' except now they're okay with ...more
Nelsin Martin-Burnett
Sep 03, 2015 Nelsin Martin-Burnett rated it really liked it
I thought that this was a good book. It was nice being able to finish a few stories every night. Some of the stories were a bit boring but it didn't take long to get through them. I recommend this to people who want to take a break from reading long stories/books and to people who want to learn about being 13.
Aug 23, 2015 Ali rated it liked it
I really liked it. After every story I was left wishing that i could have read more
Feb 28, 2014 Elliot rated it it was amazing
On the Fringe is a book with short stories written by different authors. These stories have different settings and characters. At first I thought that it would be difficult because each story is different and does not connect to each other. However it was actually a good book. Many of these stories relates by the same subject of bullies and outsiders drugs and things like that.

One of my favorite parts of this book was a story called Mrs.Noonan. This story was about a kid who had two bullies who
Mar 02, 2014 Ellee rated it liked it
The book Thirteen edited by James Howe, is a great book for people that just want a free read and something to laugh about. Personally, I thought that this book was okay, but not the best. There are some real stories, ones from the actual authors childhood, and some made up stories, where the author just created a story that has a good moral. Inside this book there are stories that I enjoyed alot because they were so relatable, and stories which I found confusing and uninteresting. Also, there a ...more
Rayce W
Jun 02, 2016 Rayce W rated it liked it
The book 13 is a fun mix of 12 different stories of 13 year olds and one poem. There are 13 different parts of the book all with a different story and moral in them. All of them are well written and make sense to me. The editor, James Howe, does a great job of finding 13 stories of 13 year olds that bind very well together and have a good place in the book. A strength in this book is that all the short stories are well written and interesting. But a weakness in my opinion, is the short stories a ...more
Mar 04, 2014 Chris rated it liked it
The book 13 edited by: James Howe is a book with 13 stories of problems of kids at the age of 13. Every story had a message of how you can take care of problems in life at the age of 13. I’m 13 and some of the stories did not really make sense to me, and some of the stories were too simple with lessons that you can learn when you are 5 years old. I think people who are 13 might like this book, it depends if they need a little advice with what might happen when you get to be a teenager. The book ...more
Mar 02, 2014 Marisa rated it liked it
The book 13, edited by James Howe, was an okay book. This book would not be a book I would just pick off of the shelf in the library. If you like many different stories in one book, then this would be the book for you. This book have all sorts of stories in it, romance, action, and many more. This book is about finding out what being 13 is like. I would recommend this book to young adults or even adults to see if the can relate to some of the things that they might have done when they were 13 ye ...more
Maverick F
This is a great book for mostly teens. If your looking for sums funny, but heartwarming stories this is your book. Each writer goes through there own stories of being 13, some sad and some funny. I remember one that showed a jewish boy that would speak to a homeless man. All the other kid would laugh at hime for having a conversation with "Sam" the homeless guy. In the end a girl at his school ended up talking to Sam like the jewish boy. I think this gives an important life lesson on how it will ...more
Tanvi Singh
I tried to read the book, but it was too boring.
Aug 27, 2014 Max rated it it was ok
I thought that this was a very awkward book. It told me about weird thing that I might do while being 13 and made me feel like 13 was going to be more harsh and bad parts than fun and exciting parts. It also told me about bra sizes and being disliked which made me wonder what it would feel like and if this will happen. This book gave me bad feelings, though what written very good by all of the authors. I'd have to say my favorite story was Tina the Teen Fairy, which was one of the super few semi ...more
Jun 28, 2014 Max rated it it was ok
I thought that this was a very awkward book. It told me about weird thing that I might do while being 13 and made me feel like 13 was going to be more harsh and bad parts than fun and exciting parts. It also told me about bra sizes and being disliked which made me wonder what it would feel like and if this will happen. This book gave me bad feelings, though what written very good by all of the authors. I'd have to say my favorite story was Tina the Teen Fairy, which was one of the super few semi ...more
May 07, 2015 Audrey rated it really liked it
This book was absolutely interesting. There were many different short stories in this book. I'll have to say that every single situation and problem that these teenagers faced were very true. My favorite story would have to be "If You Ever Kiss a Boy". This story depicts how your hormones can get the best of you. It also shows how being bullied because of your sexuality actually happens. James Howe did an excellent job at putting these stories together in one book. Overall the book was amazing .
Mar 13, 2011 Christian rated it liked it
Thirteen, as indicated by the subtitle, is a collection of stories about being thirteen. By and large, it's a rather good collection. It has contributions from Bruce Coville, Meg Cabot, Alex Sanchez, Rachel Vail, James Howe, Lori Aurelia Williams, Stephen Roos, Maureen Ryan Griffin, Ellen Wittlinger, Todd Strasser, Ron Koertge, Carolyn Mackler, and Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin.

I realize the premise is that you should experience a bit of what it's like to be thirteen. Mostly, I experienced the
Aug 27, 2011 Terry rated it it was ok
'13' has a great premise--13 stories about being 13 years old--and a strong lineup of authors--Bruce Coville, Meg Cabot, James Howe, to name a few--but just doesn't deliver. While there are a few strong entries, the collection as a whole doesn't capture the age, or provide teens with any real new insight. The biggest problem is that the stories feel oddly dated--in style, in topic, in voice, in plot construction. To be fair, the collection was published in 2003; but, what a difference between th ...more
Alex Templeton
Mar 14, 2011 Alex Templeton rated it it was ok
Let me precede my review by saying that I am not this book's target audience, now being 16(!!) years away from 13. I was reminded recently that, while I have lots of good suggestions for my middle school students in terms of novels, I am pretty bereft of suggestions of short stories, particularly those to use in the classroom. Therefore, I have decided to peruse various collections of stories in the hope of collecting a few, this being the first.

I have to say that I was disappointed in this coll
Sep 06, 2015 Kimia rated it liked it
Finished 13 I thought it was a good book at first however some of the short stories were not very interesting compared to the others. None of the stories were that relatable to me. I began getting tired of not really having the usual endings of books that finalise the whole story. I'm not sure overall like short stories so I just do not think it was the right book for me. However this should not keep other people from reading this book because it is quite a good book.
Leah Twiggins
Jul 14, 2014 Leah Twiggins rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone coming of age
Recommended to Leah by: it was on a library display!
i first read this book when i was about 6 years old. i skipped some of the boring stories then, but rereading it at 12, i remembered a lot of it- and the nostalgia was really pleasant! i love this book because the stories show diversity, pride, lots of feelings, short musings, and just fun descriptions. the many authors kept my attention
Dec 29, 2008 Terry rated it really liked it
This is a solid collection of stories that most 13 year olds could enjoy. All are contemporary realistic fiction, save the last (see below), and there is one poem. The first story, Bruce Coville's "What's the Worst that Could Happen" is funny and worth the purchase price alone.

There are several stories that deal with teen romance/crushes, but always in appropriate and respectful ways, and there is usually some other theme going on (friendship can be difficult, family isn't always what you want,
Rose McGlew
Oct 05, 2014 Rose McGlew rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-schoolers
I had read some of these stories in other pieces and there was little "new" stuff for me here. This would be a great read for 5th and 6th graders, especially, and maybe a few 7th graders. Friendships, feelings, fitting in...all the stuff I see on a daily basis!
This was a great collection of stories about how it feels to be 13. There were 12 stories and one poem. My favorite one was Noodle Soup for Nincompoops by Ellen Wittlinger. It's about a quiet girl who always stays in the background and is asked by her English teacher to write an advice column for the school newspaper. They don't want a serious advice column though, they want all of the answers to be funny or sarcastic. When the paper comes out and everyone needs to know who the wrote the advice ...more
Feb 02, 2015 Lynda rated it really liked it
This is a funny compilation of stories taken from the author's own lives. Many have been fictionalized. Ranging from hilarious antics on stage with the object of his affection, to first babysitting failures, embarrasing Bar Mitzvah events, lusting after the cool, expensive sneakers, and much more, these authors take the reader on a funny ride!
YouthServices MattesonPublicLibrary
The book was about different stories about being thirteen and how its not the easiest to go through. There are a lot of physical, mental, and spiritual challenges. I liked it a lot because through all of the stories there was something I could relate to.

Kyla, Age 13
Chris Von
Apr 14, 2016 Chris Von rated it really liked it
I liked this book. With me being a thirteen year old, I could relate to some of the stories. I think James Howe and the other authors did a great job making a relatable, but different set of stories.
Jan 21, 2016 Martina rated it it was amazing
13 stories about being 13 years old. Each story is written by a well-known adolescent author, and most are funny. Some are more enjoyable stories than others, but it's a good book.
Aug 09, 2008 jacky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teens
Shelves: ya, 2008
I saw this book a couple of years ago and considered buying it, but decided against it since my students are mostly older than 13. However, this summer I decided that it was a good choice because they were all leaving middle school and had been 13 so they could all understand the problems of that age. I'm also thinking the stories might help them see that even at their age they have good stories in them, not just stories about falling off your four wheeler and breaking your arm.

I really liked mo
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Howe has written more than eighty books in the thirty-plus years he's been writing for young readers. It sometimes confuses people that the author of the humorous Bunnicula series also wrote the dark young adult novel, The Watcher, or such beginning reader series as Pi
More about James Howe...

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