Thirteenth Child


135 pages
ISBN 0-00-647943-X
DDC jC813'.54




Reviewed by Lori McLeod

Lori McLeod is a librarian with the Toronto Public Library.


It is said that a 13th child has a gift for storytelling. While not a
13th child herself, 15-year-old Kate Halston loves to write. Kate’s
plotting of fanciful stories serves as a means of escaping her
dysfunctional family. Her father, Steve, retreats to a room over the
garage, where he drinks to erase the pain of his own disillusionment
with life. Sometimes he physically abuses his wife.

Consequently, Kate is often called upon to assume responsibility for
running the family business, a gas station and snack bar. One afternoon
she finds herself in a real-life drama when a young man, Mike Bridges,
enters the snack bar, threatens her with a knife, and demands that she
give him all the money in the cash register. Kate manages to dissuade
him from robbing her. Mike finds a job and settles into the community.
When a series of robberies later takes place, Kate and Mike’s
friendship is challenged by Kate’s suspicions that Mike could be
responsible. The small community is further shaken, and Kate’s
feelings for Mike become more confused, when a local high-school girl is
found murdered.

This book is a solid alternative for fans of Christopher Pike and R.L.
Stine. It is at once a suspenseful page-turning mystery and a poignant
portrayal of a family in crisis. Recommended.


Bradford, Karleen., “Thirteenth Child,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024,