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Saturday, January 14, 2012

13 Hangman - Art Corriveau

Released April 2012

Art Corriveau
Amulet Books

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

If you like time travel or mysteries, 13 Hangmen is going to really appeal to you. The story is in modern day for the most part, but the hero is determined to solve a mystery that spans almost two centuries and in doing so time travel, of sorts, is critical. Some of the story is based on fact and other parts are fictional, but the impact of the story is solid and certain to appeal to the kids who are ready to chapter books.

Tony DiMarco finds it unusual when an uncle he barely knows leaves him a ramshackle house in Boston. Tony's only 13, so why an elderly man would leave him a house with odd stipulations is a little hard to digest. Tony's father thinks this is the opportunity they need since their housing provided by his current job is about to come to an end. Uprooting the family, they move a few states away to start a new life.

Soon, Tony's father has been accused of murdering his uncle by a neighbor who is insistent that the uncle meant to leave him the house. Tony discovers a portal-like device in the attic bedroom he's required to stay in as part of the agreement. This device makes it possible to connect to past generations of 13 year olds who have all lived in the house. Together, the boys try to solve the reason why the Hagmann family has been desperate to get their hands on the house.

13 Hangmen really is a fun story. Details of Boston past and present are clear and sports enthusiasts, specifically Red Sox fans, will enjoy the details into Ted Williams. I admit I learned a few things along the way. The author spins a plot that keeps you engrossed until the final page and then sums up with a look at the facts he included in the book and where he fictionalized history a little to make the plot work. What I really like is that history is included without being boring. I was a student easily bored by history, so I wish more teachers would skip the textbooks and use novels as teaching aids.

If you or your child enjoys time travel and solving mysteries, 13 Hangmen is a great choice.

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