I have a sneak peek at a middle grade novel coming out in Jan 2013 from Feiwel and Friends. The 13th Sign by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb is a fantasy novel involving the zodiac.
Jalen doesn’t believe in horoscopes, but her grandma does. So on her 13th birthday she continues the family tradition of visiting a psychic. Much to her surprise, she finds a very old book about the zodiac resting on the dusty shelves in the shop. Jalen and her best friend Ellie steal the book and take it home to unlock its secrets.
To Jalen’s horror the book is really magic, and by opening it, she releases the thirteenth zodiac sign, Ophiuchus the Healer. Now everyone’s horoscope shifts, and people’s personalities change with it, including her mom and best friend’s. If that weren’t enough, the avatars of the zodiac itself come to battle Jalen, hoping to put things right.
A very creative idea, fresh and fun. I’m not a believer in the zodiac myself, but this book is filled with great info about every sign. The idea that a person’s personality switches due to a switch in their sign is great material for a writer. We get to see the characters in the first several chapters as their true selves, but soon the shift takes place, and the author does a good job recreating the characters and adding new attributes.
I also enjoyed that there is a strong sub plot to this book. Jalen’s grandmother is dying in the hospital. When Jalen unlocks the 13th sign, she is told that if she defeats all the zodiac avatars, then she will have the gift of healing. The problem is that she only has 24 hours to defeat the avatars and heal her grandma before the personality traits in everyone become permanent.
There is also the mystery of Jalen’s father, who disappeared several years ago when Jalen was in the hospital dying. His story is told through Jalen’s own adventure and the ending ties everything nicely together.
I think readers will enjoy this book.