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Journal of Curious Letters

(The 13th Reality #1)

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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  11,065 ratings  ·  1,108 reviews
What if every time you made a choice that had a significant consequence, a new, alternate reality was created — the life that would’ve been had you made the other choice? What if those new realities were in danger? What if it fell to you to save all the realities?

Atticus Higginbottom, a.k.a. Tick, is an average thirteen-year-old boy until the day a strange lett
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Paperback, 398 pages
Published February 8th 2018 by Sweet Cherry (first published March 3rd 2008)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,065 ratings  ·  1,108 reviews


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Jess
Something I really liked about this book, beside the fact that it was very fun and adventurous, was that the main character (who was really smart, not perfect, and completely likable) told his dad about things that were going on when he started getting letters from "Master George." His dad was not handsome, overweight, in fact, and nothing remarkable except he really loved and trusted his young son. And his son really loved him too. And I just loved that! In the Harry Potter and other children's ...more
Kirsten
Feb 13, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My initial reaction to this book -- that some of the ideas were original but that the writing was decidedly sub-par -- was unfortunately accurate. Tick and the other characters never quite ring true as people; Tick is a stereotype of a geeky kid, and the other characters come off as flat. The dialog often struck me as stilted. This is particularly the case with Paul, whose "chill" manner of speaking and awkward slang seems to be Dashner's effort to remind the reader that Paul is from California. ...more
Heather
Oct 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults, Children 8+
Shelves: series, middle-grade
Everything is boring to my 11 year old daughter. "Why don't you read a book?" I say to her. "Reading is boring." So when I picked up The 13th Reality, I was hoping she'd like it. Well, I found myself reading it with her, just as anxious to find out what happened next in the book. The characters are vibrant and endearing. Names like Atticus Higgenbottom, Norbert, Mistress Jane, Mr. Chu, still stand out in my mind. Strange letters, complex riddles, and the new reality were all captivating.

Author
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Voracious Reader for TeensReadToo.com

Can you solve the mystery?

James Dashner's first story in his new THE 13TH REALITY series, THE JOURNAL OF CURIOUS LETTERS, revolves mainly around a young boy named Atticus (or "Tick" as he likes to be called).

Tick's adventure begins when he arrives home to find a cryptic letter giving him riddles on something that is supposedly going to save the lives of people around him. Intrigued, he begins his investigation, and, gaining a few fri
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Heather
Sep 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My sister bought this on a whim and then asked if I wanted to borrow it because she knows I have nothing better to do than stay up late at night reading books. Well, I'm so glad she did. I loved this book.

Most of all I appreciated that Tick comes from a normal, functioning family. So many books portray families as messed up or as single parents. When Tick has a problem he actually TALKS to his dad. Hallelujah!!! I loved the relationship with his family and his father. It was very ref
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Cheyenne
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very disappointing read. It had some good ideas and a lot of potential, but the writing style was distractingly juvenile. I was reminded of my writing style from middle school! I would not have finished this book if a friend hadn't loaned it to me--I felt obligated to finish it, and finally did today, but it felt like a chore! I rarely dislike books this much and maybe it's just because I have recently finished some excellently written books (I just discovered Ursula K. Le Guin!). This book real ...more
Jayda
I finished it last night (after all of my family beat me to it and I started before all of them...) and it was a great book! I feel like it got the best towards the last few chapters, and I can't wait for the next one to come out!

I love the fact that they're short chapters (usually 5-6 pages long) and it makes it seem like I'm reading a whole lot quicker than I actually am. Along with that, I love all of the twists and turns that the book brings in each chapter. Each character is ori
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Jessi ♥️ H. Vojsk
Story ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tick, real name Atticus Higginbottom (reminds me of Longbottom from Harry Potter), is a thirteen year old really smart boy, that one day gets a strange letter. After he doesn't burn the letter he receives 12 clues and gets to see, meet and do crazy things.
It was quiet entertaining and I felt that it was a story I could read with my kids, because this is a story where the parents aren't dead or just ignored, they help and I think to work as a team is so important in a family. So I rea
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Kendra Player
Mar 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Upfront, I have to say that fantasy is not my genre of choice. However, overall, I quite enjoyed this book. The storyline kept my interest and I thought the characters were quite memorable. I especially loved Mothball. As I read, I kept thinking this could be made into an exciting movie. Even though, as a parent, I appreciated Tick's relationship with his dad, I'm not sure it is all that true to life for most 12-13 year old boys. I'm thinking that maybe a lot of middle-schoolers might not identi ...more
Nathaniel Hardman
I picked this up the other day and read it in just a day or two. I thought it was pretty fun, and there were a couple of things I did really like about it. Specifically, I liked it that the kid having this exciting secret adventure decided that he needed to talk to his dad about it. I think too often kids' books portray parents as dull people who squelch fun. So I was happy as the kid's secret adventure turned into the kid's adventure with his dad. That said, the author used too many silly simil ...more
Loralee
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone!
This is one of the best books for young people I've read in a very long time. I love how Tick is proactive, and gets done what he needs to get done. He's not a perfect kid, but he does his best, and that's what makes him so endearing. And another thing, I absolutely adore that he gets along with his dad. So many young adult books portray grown ups, and especially parents as incompetent foolish nincompoops who would sooner grate their fingers off with a cheese grater than help their children thro ...more
thewordlover
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.

I absolutely loved this book. After reading The Maze Runner, I was expecting something just as well-written but not quite as interesting (since I absolutely adore the Maze Runner series, and I never expected something could be even half as good), but my expectations were luckily not met at all.

Being a very committed fan of quantum physics myself, I couldn’t help but absolutely love the world-building, since the idea of multiple realities that make up the “multiverse” really draws me i
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Janeen-san
May 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: should-i-read
Atticus Higginbottom, age 13, has lived a relatively calm life in Deer Park, Washington--that is, until he receives a very odd letter all the way from Alaska, asking for his help with a very special task.
And so Tick's bravery, endurance, trust and logic skills are put to the ultimate test, as he tries to solve 12 clues that the writer of the first letter, M.G, has sent to him in a variety of ways, and by a variety of people.
Will Tick solve the 12 clues in time? Can he even survive, a
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Michelle
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all ages!
This book was fun! I don't really understand how Quantum Physics works, but the author seemed to do a good job of explaining it and integrating a challenging scientific topic into the basis of the story. This book introduces the main character, "Tick" Atticus Higginbottom, and his journey to become a "Realitant" who travels to different realities. I was pleasantly surprised by Tick's close relationship with his father. In many other children's novels, I am frustrated when the main characters do ...more
Jeff Wheeler
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this after my teenage son became absolutely hooked on this series. I gave it a try based on his enthusiasm. The tone was similar to Fablehaven except with a sci-fi twist based on quantum physics instead of magic. The main character Tick was well developed. I loved his dad and how he supported his son instead of disbelieved him. The other side characters were good. The Italian girl Sophia was a hoot. It also reminded me a little of the Mysterious Benedict Society. Pacing and ten ...more
Kristen
More like 2.5 stars. The writing seemed dumbed down, maybe younger readers would like it better. I couldn't stand Sofia, by the end of the book I literally wanted to hurt her, spoiled little girl. The story didn't really take off until the last 100 pages. I hear the next one is better, I'll give it a try. It just seemed like the author tried too hard.
Alyssa
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strange things have been happening to Tick. Mysterious letters filled with riddles leads him on a quest that remakes his entire view of the universe. This book has an interesting plot, but the book itself was not very interesting, and seemed more like a buildup for the next book.
Donna
So I loved The Maze Runner series and couldn't wait to start on this one. I am so glad I did. I loved this book! The letters with the riddles tripped me up at first because they were way confusing and I had to read them several times. By the 3rd letter, I was getting the idea and actually figured out the clue by myself right away. The characters themselves were great. Sophia might actually be my favorite. I love how sassy and tough she is. The plot idea of parallel worlds was interesting and I c ...more
Satsuma
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Trudi
Very enjoyable children's fantasy adventure with all the makings to evolve into something marvelous

I was drawn to this story for several reasons:

1) The author - James Dashner. He recently blew me away with the first two books of his Maze Runner trilogy. While eagerly anticipating Book 3 from that series, I decided to try one of Dashner's earlier books.

2) It had me at "alternate realities" - I'm a sucker for those no matter what shape or form they take: whether it's a hardcore, sophisticated sci-fi way or a sp
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colleen the convivial curmudgeon
As abvious from the rating, I didn't like this one that much. As I said in one of my status updates, if I were the sort to abandon books I probably would've abandoned this one.

It's not a terrible book. It's got a decent enough story and some cool ideas that can be played around with - though none which are particularly original, as this is hardly the first book to deal with alternate realities.

I think my biggest problem was just with the writing - maybe it was just a litt
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Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee
Atticus 'Tick' Higginbottom is a 13 year-old boy who is athletic and extremely smart, and unfortunately the focus of the school bullies. He gets by though and his life seems fairly normal until he receives a letter from a mysterious stranger known as Master George.

M.G. tells him that the lives of many people are at risk and that he might be able to save them, but first he will have to come to grip with the danger that this will involve... AND he will have to solve a series of riddles
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Cary Morton
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a gem! I picked up this book for my 12-year-old daughter and we ended up reading it together. I’m glad to say that I honestly found this to be a joy to read.

The book was exceptionally well written and full of colorful characters. There were funny, heartwarming, action-filled, and even creepy moments throughout the book as Tick worked to solve the mystery of the 13 clues he received from one very odd Master George and his companions, Rutger and Mothball (who was definitely one of
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Mitzi
Oct 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard not to compare every YA book with Harry Potter esp. since a lot of YA books read a lot like Harry Potter. This, too, is about a boy (Atticus, aka Tick) who is awkward and nerdy who finds he is chosen (along with a smart aleck girl and devil-may-care boy) to help save lives by mysterious means. There are flying motorcycles, and a wise English elder (Master George), a giant, an annoying dwarf, and Tingle Wraiths. I suspect that even his birthmark that he covers up with a striped scarf, m ...more
Scott
Jul 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ages 11 and up
Recommended to Scott by: Tamara
This was a fun read suggested by my niece Desiree' (Tamara's daughter). The author is LDS and the book is squeaky clean. It is uplifting and has a happy ending (I hope that isn't too much of a spoiler). The writting is witty and charmingly fun, and the main character is likeable and a good role model (all except the part of him not telling his mother about some important things, and his father colluding with him in the secrecy--I wished they would have included her in it). I'm looking forward to ...more
Noah Herring
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Personal Response: I enjoyed reading The Journal of Curious Letters a lot. I enjoyed reading the clues and trying to solve the mysteries along with the characters. I enjoy reading mystery and science fiction/fantasy books. This book brought the different aspects from those genres and brought them together into one book.

Plot: Atticus Higginbottom is a fairly normal thirteen year old kid who enjoys science and video games. He lives in Deer Park, Washington with his mom, dad, and two sisters.
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Rex Y
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grade-9
This is one of the best books for young people I've read in a very long time. I love how Tick is portrayed as such a curious character and gets done what he needs to get done. Supporting characters sound so nostalgic that I can clearly see how they are portrayed out of the author's personal backgrounds. Tick not a perfect kid, but he does his best, and that's what makes him so endearing. And another thing, I absolutely adore that he gets along with his dad. So many young adult books portray grow ...more
Dee Dee (Dee Reads for Food)
(3.5 stars)


This was a fun middle grade read that could easily be as addictive as the Daniel X series were for me. Quick, adventure driven story told from the perspective a thirteen year old nerd (self-proclaimed) as we try to stop the evil Mistress Jane from destroying reality as we know it.

I would recommend this to any one who likes action with a side of mystery solving.
Steph
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clever. Fun. Interesting.

I really enjoyed all of the riddles in this book! I am definitely nowhere hear as clever as Tick and Sofia! This book definitely kept me interested! I can't wait to read the next one!
LuAnn
Sep 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just finished reading this one again with my 7th Grade English classes. Always a winner!

Looking for a new fantasy series that will make you laugh, while taking you places you never knew were possible? Then The 13th Reality series will be the books for you. Atticus Higginbottom —Tick—just can't get past being a nerd. Of course, wearing a knitted scarf to cover a birthmark doesn't help his image either. But once the mysterious letters from M.G. begin to arrive, Tick's skills at deciphering riddle
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28,333 followers
James is the author of THE MAZE RUNNER trilogy and THE 13TH REALITY series. He also published a series (beginning with A DOOR IN THE WOODS) with a small publisher several years ago. He lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains.

Other books in the series

The 13th Reality (4 books)
  • The Hunt for Dark Infinity (The 13th Reality, #2)
  • The Blade of Shattered Hope (The 13th Reality, #3)
  • The Void of Mist and Thunder  (The 13th Reality #4)
“I'm either really, really brave or really, really stupid.” 75 likes
“He didn't have a single clue what was going on with these two strangers, but every instinct told him Master George equaled good, Mistress Jane equaled bald- he blinked-uh, bad. ” 44 likes
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