13 Gifts

By Zane, Colin, Dominik, Grace, and Sam

About the Author

By Colin Bruce
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Wendy Mass was born on April 22, 1967. She has eighteen New York Times bestselling books, of which have been nominated for 76 state book awards. Those titles include Leap Day, A Mango-Shaped Space(a winner of the Schneider Family book award), 11 Birthdays, Finally, and of course, 13 Gifts. She has recently written more books like The Last Present, Pi in the Sky, and a new early readers series called Space Taxi. Wendy Mass has also written the storyline for the television show Monk, called “Mr. Monk Goes to the Theatre,” aired during the second season of the show. If you would like to learn more, and information on how to buy her books, please visit the site below.

Video Segment

By Dominik Stankowski
I believe this video relates to 13 Gifts because this is kind of what I would imagine Angelina’s store to be like. A bunch of random objects, with no particular theme. It said she had comic books, bike baskets, and old tape recorders. In the book, when Tara looks through the window, this is what the book says, "Only it isn’t empty. The area he cleared off is enough to expose shelves and tables full of various small objects --- books, toys, comics, clocks, sporting goods, dishes, clothes, shoes, and even more that I can’t make out in the gloom of the darkened shop.” (13 Gifts pg. 83 Mass) It is also similar because it’s a shop of randomness, no aisles, just a random selection of whatever is in the shop. It’s random, it’s creepy, they’re like long lost creepy shop cousins. I mean, the video quality isn’t the greatest, but at least it wasn’t filmed on a laptop. It’s still blatantly obvious of the collection of creepy randomness that resides in both Angelina’s shop and Obscura Antiques.
Quick Visit to Obscura Antiques & Oddities


By Grace Kearny

Book Cover Analysis

By Zane Robe
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Wendy Mass (the author of 13 Gifts) most likely chose this cover because Tara must collect thirteen objects for Angelina D’Angelo, and the cover depicts a girl holding thirteen boxes. The thirteen boxes that the person on the cover is carrying are gift boxes which represent the thirteen objects in the story that Tara must get for Angelina. These boxes are most likely gifts because they are wrapped in wrapping paper and ribbons which is how gifts are usually presented. The girl holding the boxes is probably Tara because she is the one who must get all of the items for Angelina, and no body except for Tara ever had all thirteen items at one time during story. To speak of the background, I would have to say that the background is probably Aunt Bethany's and Uncle Roger's house because that is the only house-like setting in which Tara would be with the items. For example, she would not be at home because she did not even have to collect thirteen items during the time period when she was still at home. Furthermore, the background also would not be Bettie’s house because she did not have all thirteen items at the only time that she was in Bettie’s house.

13 Gifts was probably chosen as the title for this book because Tara must collect thirteen items for a lady named Angelina. Gifts was used in the title rather than the word items probably because Tara had to get all thirteen items for Angelina by July 13th which is Tara’s birthday, and typically on one’s birthday when they receive items they are called gifts. The “13” in the title 13 Gifts has multiple meanings that tie into each other. For instance, the thirteen stands for the date that Tara’s birthday is on which is in July, which ties into her turning another year older because July 13th is when she turns thirteen. Also, as I just said, the thirteen shows how old Tara will be on her birthday which is connected to the items because if Tara does not collect the thirteen items by her thirteenth birthday, her soul is doomed to wander the world without her. Lastly, as previously stated, the thirteen also represents the thirteen items that Tara needs to get for Angelina which is connected with July 13th because the 13th of July is when Tara must get the items to Angelina.

Book Review

By Sam Kreeb
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My book review- 13 Gifts by Wendy Mass was an excellent piece of literature exploring the life of Tara, as she discovers who she is and why she is at Willow Falls. Although particularly easy for our grade level, with little to no higher level vocabulary terms, it was an exciting book to follow. You never really know what is going to happen next, always a great quality to find in a book. The author also did an amazing job describing everything Tara was feeling, the places she was going, and the people she saw. This made me feel as though I was Tara myself. My favorite part of the book was the beginning, since I felt she added a lot of mystery, yet humor to the situation Tara was in at the time. Throughout the whole novel in general, there were many laughs and many questions as well, which is why I would definitely recommend this book to others.

5-Stars- I gave this book a four and a half stars out of five. The reason for this was because although it was an amazingly fun book to read, I felt as though it could’ve used some higher vocabulary terms for our grade level. Overall though, in my opinion, four and a half stars is the rating this book deserves.

1st other review- “13 Gifts is very good. The plot is suspenseful and the characters are well developed. Mass’ extremely descriptive writing makes the story even better. It really pulls readers into the story, so they will feel like they’re trying to earn $200 along with Tara, the main character. 13 Gifts also has a unique plot and interesting characters… If you like realistic fiction with some funny elements, this book might is for you.” - Sonia Wiecek, RTbookreviews.com

2nd other review- “A rash decision involving attempted theft of a school mascot sets into motion a series of life-altering events for nearly 13-year-old Tara. Mysteries abound as readers return to Willow Falls in this third installment of the series… Banished to her aunt’s house for the summer, Tara soon finds herself embroiled in another mishap… Mass skillfully resolves mysteries while perpetuating Willow Falls’ mystique. Readers will be eager to discover the outcome of Tara’s quest. In equal parts philosophical and wryly humorous, this magical tale will satisfy both fans and new readers alike.” - Kirkus Reviews, WendyMass.com