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13 Secrets

Review

13 Secrets

In 13 TREASURES, author Michelle Harrison introduced readers to Tanya, a young English girl who could see fairies.  Unfortunately for Tanya, the fairies were often sly, mean-spirited and sometimes downright cruel. They had tormented her for years, and because she couldn’t tell anyone about it, her own behavior began to seem more and more bizarre. Her mother finally sent her to stay for a while with her cold and rigid grandmother at Elvesden Manor, the family’s old ramshackle estate. Together with her friend, Fabian, Tanya learned difficult truths about both their families and had a dangerous fairy adventure with a homeless teenager who they knew as Red. 

"13 SECRETS is a scary and compelling work of fantasy writing.... Harrison has successfully and confidently concluded her engaging, exciting and lovely trilogy."

Their story continued in 13 CURSES, where Red (whose real name is Rowan) survived a risky journey into the fairy realm. The trilogy is now complete with 13 SECRETS, and Rowan, Tanya, Fabian and everyone at Elvesden Manor must confront the frightening reality that the danger for Rowan is far from over.

Just when Rowan has started to settle in at her new home, she receives an unwelcome message that forces her to confront her past and re-join the group that has worked for hundreds of years to stop the trade of changelings between the fairy and human worlds. The appearance of Suki means that the Coven wants Rowan to help them continue to rescue humans who have been switched with fairies unbeknownst to their families. But as Rowan’s enemy gets ever closer to her, the other 12 members of the Coven realize they are being threatened as well. When they are murdered or injured, the survivors join with the residents of Elvesden to protect themselves.    

Tanya and Fabian are drawn into the Coven’s work and first must help to save a local family from a changeling mother obsessed with a little girl. But even after the family is safe again, they are unable to walk away. As they figure out the 13 secrets of the group and continue to come to terms with what they have recently learned about their families and themselves (in the previous books), they move toward a final showdown with not one, but two enemies who wish to harm Rowan and her cohorts. 

13 SECRETS is a scary and compelling work of fantasy writing. Harrison turns the fairy story on its head with a world in which fairies are everywhere, but only a few humans --- those with “second sight” --- can see them. Relationships between the fairy and the human are often tense and even violent, and those who are aware of both worlds often find themselves in danger from one side or the other. This novel, like the other two installments, is well-written with rich, complex and interesting characters. Harrison’s original imagining of the world of magic and fairies is darker than most found in children’s or YA literature, but that darkness seems drawn from traditional fairy or folk tales, making 13 SECRETS feel at once new and classic. Mixed with the fantasy is plenty of adventure, moral dilemmas, and themes of family and friendship.

Harrison has successfully and confidently concluded her engaging, exciting and lovely trilogy.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on August 25, 2012

13 Secrets
by Michelle Harrison

  • Publication Date: June 18, 2013
  • Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult 10+
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0316185620
  • ISBN-13: 9780316185622