Book: 12 Before 13 (2018)
Author: Lisa Greenwald
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Basic Plot: Arianna and Kaylan are best friends. They have a list of 12 items they want to tick off before Arianna’s bat mitzvah in November. However, the first item on the list—Keep our friendship strong—is proving to be one of the tougher challenges. Ari’s always texting her new friends from summer camp, and Kaylan’s drawn to other friends from school. Turning thirteen is not for the weary…
1) The list is a fun way to track the plot of this story about two friends who have their ups and downs. It’s nice to see them work things through. I also love how items on the list are trivial (like #5 Perfect our handstand) and some go much deeper (like #6 Help someone else shine).
2) I really enjoyed seeing Arianna’s journey as she starts to take a serious interest in her Jewish heritage as she preps for her bat mitzvah.
3) I like the subplot involving Ari’s dad. It’s nice (well, not really) how it affects the bat mitzvah plans. And how it corresponds to list item #10 Tell a boy how we really feel.
4) It’s nice how it all comes together at the end. Not super-surprising, but it all led to a satisfactory ending.
WHAT’S NOT COOL…
1) One thing I don’t like in these types of books is when they spend too much time on what they call “the big P”. What interesting, though, is that Arianna seems to share my aversion! Kaylan and the lunch table can’t stop talking about it. (I can understand a book where this is plot-important. In this book, it really isn’t.)
2) I felt some of the dialogue and slang was a little too much. There was a lot of slang. And I do know some current 12 to 13-year-olds. They don’t really talk like this. (Are there kids who do?) Anyhow, I found it a little off-putting. But maybe that’s just me.
3) The models on the cover look older than 12 going on 13. Maybe it’s the lipstick?
My rating is 3 Stars (out of 5) – Overall, this was a cute story about these two friends. Apparently this is a sequel to another book, which I haven’t read, but I didn’t seem to be missing too much. This one definitely works as a stand-alone.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!