The 13th Sign, by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb (signed copy giveaway!)

The 13th Sign, by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb (Feiwel & Friends, January 2013, upper middle grade)

When Jalen unlocks an old book (The Keypers of the Zodiac) picked up at Madame Beausoleil's strange little store in New Oreleans (one stop shopping for all your astrological needs), the world changes.  The opening of the book has let a thirteenth sign of the Zodiac into the world--Ophiuchus, the serpent healer.   And now that there are thirteen signs, instead of twelve, Jalen  is now no longer a Sagittarius, but a child of Ophiucus...and a shift has occurred in the lives and personalities of all those now born under a different sign.  

But the return of Ophiucus to the Zodiac is not welcome to the other 12 signs.  Not only will chaos follow the shift in personalities, but if a human gains control of Ophiucus' powers, they will have power over death.  So Gemini knocks on Jalen's door with a warning--she must find Ophiuchus and cast her back into the heavens.  But the incarnations of the 12 signs, themselves now present in New Orleans, see Jalen as an enemy, and she must somehow defeat each one, and cast them back as well.

So Jalen, her best friend, and her best friends brother set off on a wild journey across the city, encountering the challenges posed by each of the signs of the Zodiac.

It's a fun, wild story, and reminded me of Percy Jackson in its set up--mortal kids becoming players in a deadly game with celestial beings, and having to face them down in the real world, leaving chaos in their wake.  It's high on action and adventure; character development is a tad problematic, because the reader is asked early on to assume that the characters of the protagonists have changed profoundly, making it hard to feel one knows them.   I also had to work just a tad too hard to accept that birth date actually does affect personality--I am not a believer in astrology.  Still, many fantasy books demand that the reader accept even stranger things...and it is a neat idea, nicely executed!

In short--the fascinating premise and the series of dramatic encounters with the Signs of the Zodiac move the reader along briskly, and romance is not a plot point, making this an excellent one to offer the 11 or 12 year old not yet interested in full on YA fantasy/paranormal romance.  That being said, there's enough zing to the story to keep the interest of an older reader too.

Note:  astronomers have been talking about this 13th sign for centuries....but I am a proud Capricorn, and I'm sticking to it.

Courtesy of the author, I have a signed hardcover copy to giveaway--just leave a comment by midnight next Monday, July 29th.

disclaimer: signed hardcover of my own happily received from the author, and read with great enjoyment.

I have another giveaway going on right now--win a copy of Sylo (plus t-shirt and baseball cap) at this post!


  1. Ooh, it does sound interesting!

    How profound are the personality shifts supposed to be? Are the people affected adn their relatives etc. aware of the shift?

  2. Wow. This one sounds good. It will be interesting to see what's done with the zodiac.

  3. This sounds AWESOME! Other than Fruits Basket, I've never read anything dealing with the Zodiac and Fruits Basket is more reflective than action packed. I'm definitely keeping an eye out for this!

  4. I too am a proud Capricorn!

    Kristin on a listserv that I subscribe too!

    Looking forward to reading her book.


  5. I've seen this around and thought it looked great! I love the idea of the plot, and I really think my middle schoolers would get into it!

  6. This is the first I've heard of this book, but it's on my list now! It sounds interesting!

  7. Ohhhh!
    I really wanted to read this book when it first came out. It was pretty popular with the MMGM participants.
    Somehow it fell off my radar. Thanks for the reminder. :)


  8. Thanks for the giveaway!

    -Sandra L (sandra26lam@gmail.com)

  9. Excited to read this book! Thanks for the chance to win!
    saltsnmore at yahoo dot com

  10. I really enjoyed this book :D Thanks for the amazing giveaway!

    iliveforreading AT hotmail DOT com

  11. I would love to read this. I find the zodiac interesting


  12. Haven't heard of this book but it sounds very interesting!!

    thanks to you and the author for the giveaway!

    jmluker at vhtmail dot net

  13. This book sounds so unique! Thanks for the giveaway. :)


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