13 to Life Series by Shannon Delany
Published between 2010-2012
First of all, I would just like to say that this is going to be a review only on the books 2-5 simply because I read the first book in this series a million years ago (2010) when it first came out.
This journey throughout this series has been, to say the least, a series of ups and downs. There were times when I was extremely frustrated at the characters and other times when I just wanted to hug them all. The main protagonist – Jessica Gillmansen – is a frustrating character to love. Sometimes I agreed with her wholeheartedly and sometimes, I did not. What I can say though is that she certainly sticks to her principles even through the toughest of times. Any lesser character would have bent and have been swayed by either the circumstances or the pressure of others. She is strong-willed and tough and ultimately, that is why I love her. She cares tremendously about her friends and family and will do whatever she can, whether physically or mentally, to help.
The other main protagonist – Pietr Rusakova – Jessica’s other half, is another story altogether. I get it – he’s hot, he’s gorgeous – I just can’t see it. His attitude, his personality and his overall choices throughout the series leads me to speculate if he really is the right guy for Jessica. This was shown especially in the last two books when he was “cured” and when Marlaena’s pack appeared. The way how he treated Jessica was detestable. Honestly, it wasn’t until towards the end of the last book when I was more convinced that the attraction between Pietr and Marlaena was only a chemical reaction. Throughout that entire book, I was simply thinking “what a douche”. I was honestly convinced that they had fallen in love and Pietr would totally dump Jess. Fortunately, to some degree, that was not the case. I guess this was good news for Jessica. Plus, not to mention, in the beginning, due to circumstances, Pietr had to keep up appearances and date Sarah, Jessica’s supposedly best friend at the time, while actually seeing Jessica and sneaking kisses in dark corners. That is already a huge no-no in my book. He’s basically cheating on his supposed girlfriend. A**hole status right there.
Max, Alexi, Cat and Amy were very well-developed and I loved them all. Max always had his flirtatious attitude that I had come to love and would always come through when you needed him. Alexi was the older and dependable big brother even though he was human and therefore, not blood related. Cat was ferociously awesome with her attitude and personality. Amy was the best friend that I never had. She was supportive and loving.
The writing and the flow were a little strange. I believe the first few books were written solely from Jessica’s point of view and later, the last two books had a mix of point of views. I think it would have been better if the author had stuck to one way of writing rather than changing things up.
The ending, oh goodness, the ending. Of course, everything ended up working well but it felt rushed especially with the perfected cure part and the last chapter where Jessica woke up thinking it was all a dream? Where did that even come from? The ending just seemed off.