This quick read, accented with humor, takes up a vast array of themes while hewing rather closely to the strand of finding oneself. Twelve-year-old Evan Goldman is ripped from the emotional comforts of his New York City home when his parents divorce and his mother takes him to Appleton, Indiana. There, Evan prepares for his bar mitzvah, befriends a no-nonsense sort of girl, falls in with the popular but shallow middle-school crowd, suffers neglect by his old N.Y.C. friends, and alternately sympathizes with and is appalled by the disabled boy who lives across the street. Evan’s social- and self-awareness get a workout as he realizes the moral edges of both his own and others’ behaviors, and the concept of becoming a man is presented through both his actions and efforts to write his bar mitzvah speech. Brown and Elish keep things moving so quickly that critical questions barely have a chance to register, but 13 is ultimately a fine school story with characters that are limned with enough thoroughness to make them real. Grades 5-7. --Francisca Goldsmith
About the Author
Jason Robert Brown is the Tony Award-winning lyricist and composer of Parade, The Last Five Years, and Songs for a New World as well as the musical 13, which he collaborated on with Dan Elish. At his bar mitzvah he sang a song he had written about breaking up with his girlfriend, even though he had not at that time ever had a girlfriend. Jason lives in California with his wife and daughter.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.