Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Thirteen

Thirteen

Tom Hoyle
Fiction
For ages 14 and up
Holiday House, 2014   ISBN: 978-0823432943

At midnight on December 31st 1999, a baby boy came into the world. His name was Adam and his mother was a sixteen-year-old single mother. Soon after Adam was born a man came into the maternity ward and tried to kill the baby, but during a fight with a hospital employee the attacker fell out of a window and later escaped. A few months later the baby and his ill-equipped mother were living in a condemned building. Kylie was at the end of her rope, and in desperation she decided to leave her baby outside a building where, she hoped, good people would take him in and find him a home. Soon after she got home after leaving Adam, a man came to the flat, the same man who came to the hospital. He tried to force Kylie to tell him where she had left the baby, but she refused to tell the man anything and died at his hand.

    It is now 2013 and Adam is living with a couple who adopted him when he was three years old. Apparently when he was an infant he was found by an older woman who grew to love him so much that she did not want to turn him over to the authorities. The only reason he was found when he was three was because she died unexpectedly and people heard little Adam crying.

   Now Adam has a normal life. He goes to school, is falling for his best friend, and nothing much happens to him. What he doesn’t know is that the man who tried to kill him soon after he was born, Coron, is still looking for him. Coron and his disciples have killed twelve London boys who were born at midnight in 1999. Adam is the thirteenth and Coron is sure that he is a threat to everything that Coron is trying to achieve. Coron is the leader of a cult and he believes that once Adam is dead he and his closest followers, guided by Master (their god figure), will take over ruling the world. In his deluded state Coron believes that he must, at all costs, kill Adam before the boy can become a man when he turns fourteen.

   It is the end of October now and Adam and his closest friends are eager to go to Rock Harvest, one of the biggest music events of the year. They travel to the location where the event is taking place, set up their tents, and then start to explore. It isn’t long before they are befriended by four young people who a little older than Adam and his pals. In no time at all they are all the best of friends and having a wonderful time. Then, on the evening of the last day of the festival, everything goes horribly wrong.

   Two of the older teens forcibly take Adam away from the tent area and he is told that is going to be killed so that “Lord Coron” can “cleanse this world.” Andy has no idea what this is all about. One of the teens pulls out a knife and he is about to kill Andy when someone comes to the rescue. The knife goes flying and then somehow, the weapon ends up in Adams hand and from there into the living body of one of the teens. Adam has killed someone.

   Appalled by what he has done, Adam does not tell anyone about what happened until later. After he gets back home Adam tells Megan all about the attack and the killing. He decides that he will tell the police what happened, but before he can do so people enter his house in the dead of night, set it on fire, and try to kill him. Again.

   In this chilling book we see how a charismatic, if insane, leader can make people do unthinkable things because they have been brainwashed. Coron’s terrifying beliefs are deeply disturbing, and the way in which he is able to convince others to follow him is almost worse. Readers will never quite know what is going to happen next as Adam and Megan try to fight against dark forces that want to bring chaos and suffering into their community. 

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