Honorable Mention Winner in the 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards
FOREVER THIRTEEN, sequel to A Symphony of Cicadas
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***Rated PG: Has teen issues of bullying and death, with one scene of violence.
Judge’s Commentary, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards:
From the very first line to the very last page, I was captured by this well-penned story of love, loss, and friendship. What an amazing idea—a story about a young boy who died as he was on the precipice of coming of age—and he still gets to experience this and much more from beyond. I love this concept and while it is poignant yet heartbreaking, the author does a wonderful job throughout.
Another thing worth mentioning here is that this book is a continuation of a prior book or a subsequent book in a series. The author does a fantastic job of designing this story to be read as a standalone even if you haven’t read the prior novel. This is sometimes a tough thing to achieve and the author has done a great job here.
On the production side, this novel is beautifully crafted and well-designed. From the melancholy cover to the top-notch formatting and editing—this book scores big. Nice pacing with an even flow of both narrative and dialogue throughout. The author’s voice is spot on for the genre and intended audience.
Nice opening hooks which keep the reader engaged all the way through to the tear jerker of an epilogue. This book has it all. Well done.
Joey died when he was thirteen.
This is where the story begins – a boy on the other side of life, stuck at the awkward age of thirteen, mourning the loss of everything he never got to be. Instead, he’s just a short, chubby, geeky boy…forever. And he’s certain that there’s no worse fate. But when Joey takes a peek at those he left behind, he becomes aware of just how bad his best friend, Cameron, is taking his death.
Joey watches as his friend plummets deeper into depression and self-destruction, with no one around him noticing how bad things are getting. He realizes that if he doesn’t step in, Cameron is going to do something he can never take back. But there is only so much a spirit can do in the world of the living. Still, Joey is determined. Enlisting the help of a few new friends in the afterlife, Joey sets forth on a journey to bridge the gap between the living and the dead, and save his grief-stricken friend from going under. In so doing, Joey learns more about who he was in life, and he learns that growth is still possible in a world where aging isn’t an option.
Forever Thirteen tells the tale of a boy who lived his life in fear of other people’s opinions of him, dying before he understood that he was the one holding himself back. In his death, Joey discovers that it’s never too late to make things better, and he learns just how strong the bonds of friendship really can be.