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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

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  690 Ratings  ·  132 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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Jan 03, 2012 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
Broc Sherwood
Apr 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
Thirteen stories that capture the agony and ecstasy of being thirteen by James Howe. Non Fiction. Over all I felt this book was just an average Joe shmoe, the first story Whats the Worst That can Happen by Bruce Coville was probably my favorite story over all. Murphy the main character the this story is in live and he joins the drama play just because his crush Tiffany is in it but Murphy always with bad luck on the performance night he falls of the stage and breaks his leg in the process of the ...more
Apr 12, 2013 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 31, 2015 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
Nelsin Martin-Burnett
Aug 19, 2015 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.
Tanvi Singh
I tried to read the book, but it was too boring.
Aug 23, 2015 rated it liked it
I really liked it. After every story I was left wishing that i could have read more
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: m1
The book Thirteen by James Howe (also includes many guest writers who include their own stories from when they were younger) is a realistic fiction book of short stories that capture the pure essence of being 13. From crush problems to friend problems. First kisses and first dates. Fights and makeups. Being 13 is hard, and each and every short story in this book shows you exactly why.
Throughout the book, you meet different characters for each story. Each character displays a different feeling/
Jan 08, 2018 rated it liked it
There was nothing totally awful about these stories, but none were super extraordinary either. My favorites were Angel and Aly, Jeremy Goldblatt Is So Totally Not Moses, and Squid Girl. I also enjoyed Noodle Soup for Nincompoops, Black Holes and Basketball Sneakers, and What's the Worst That Can Happen? The other 7 stories were unremarkable by my standards. I appreciated that every author took the time to write a personal note and include an image of their 13 year old self. I'm going to pass thi ...more
Judine Brey
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
These stories are as varied as most people's experiences with the age of 13. Most are light and lend humor to balance the more serious pieces that are included. Plus, I have to love a short story with the title "Jeremy Goldblatt is So Not Moses." That may have already made its way into a forensics piece.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: gr-7
Well, some stories were really good and funny. Others, I didn't want to read them, and they were boring. The ending was not good at all (it was called 'Tina the Teen Fairy'). It was a realistic fiction book, but then fantasy at the end. It didn't make sense. If it was realistic fiction with the same message, it would have been better.
Feb 15, 2017 rated it liked it
As a parent of a 13 year-old, I reflect a lot on what that age is all about. These stories are entertaining and useful in reminding us adults what it was like to be 13. Almost as entertaining as the stories were the authors' memories of their own 13 year-old selves. Easy to read and a possible jumping off place for conversations...I recommend this book to other parents of teens and pre-teens.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gr7
I don't know why I took so long to finish this, but I do think I could relate a little. Now I'm not thirteen yet(but I will be next month!) but I don't think it captured the moment perfectly. Some of the stories were a bit boring, but some were nice. The first story was really funny and I loved rereading it(Mrs. McDowell read it to us for Valentine's Day).
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book, I loved the variety of each story and I was sad when it ended. Each story made me look at this in a different way.
Julia Kloss
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I like this book a lot. I liked the concept about writing a book for teens with funny, embarrassing and sweet short stories about teens.
Danielle Clark
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I especially liked the final story about the Teen Land Fairy. It is so true.. if I could tell my younger self to try out different things, I really would have appreciated that.
Kristina Harrison
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: middle graders
Shelves: young-adult
I liked some of the short stories better than others, but I rated it so high because the seventh graders were absolutely crazy about it (and they're the target audience).
Meridith Aronsky
Only read Meg Cabot's story:)
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Aug 27, 2011 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
Ev C.
Perfect book for middle schoolers and really shows how tough life can be!
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: grade-7
I just finished reading, 13: Thirteen Stories That Capture the Agony and Ecstasy of Being Thirteen by James Howe. I was very confused when I was reading this story because there many different stories all in one book. I did NOT like some chapters some of them I found very intriguing but sad such as the one where boys are killed for their shoes. I was not amused by this book. I liked the bengginng it got me hooked and hung on and read it but if you like deep dark stories about the reality of life ...more
Katie Fitzgerald
Aug 11, 2012 marked it as did-not-finish
Read Kate the Great by Meg Cabot on 8/11/12.

There are two things Jenny Greenley wants when she turns thirteen - to have her ears pierced at Claire’s in the mall and to start babysitting for people outside of her family, for money. Though her mother forces her to get her ears pierced at the doctor’s office, against even the doctor’s better judgment, she does decide that Jenny is responsible enough to babysit. Jenny is convinced any potential jobs in the neighborhood will automatically go to her f
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
This is a sweet little anthology about being thirteen that hits all the usual marks: bullying, trying to fit in, friend drama, first crushes. Each story has a distinct voice, but they definitely feel part of a unified whole. I really appreciate all the diversity: there’s a story about a bar-mitzvah, and a story about a boy realizing a group of friends might actually be a real gang, for example. I was really happy to see the bar-mitzvah story in here: looking back, being at the center of a big, i ...more
Alex Templeton
Mar 14, 2011 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
Feb 28, 2014 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
Nov 19, 2007 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
Mar 04, 2014 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
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
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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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