13 Books in 13 Days

By Averi Halbert

I’d like to believe I’m a fast reader, the issue I have with reading doesn’t lie in speed, but rather in motivation and more importantly: availability. The pure inexistence of free time becomes brutally apparent when I try to read, meaning the only time I am free to read is during the summer. But then it’s summer (I mean come on) and I don’t want to read during the only break I have from school out of free will. So why would I spend my valuable time reading? Because of a bet. I made a bet in May of 2023 with my Dad and sister, Marina Halbert, saying I would read 15 books (mostly ones of their choice) before the new (current) school year started. Not a huge number, but also not super small. Then, of course, comes the necessary appearance of every student’s biggest enemy: procrastination. Which brings me to July. Zero books read. Zero books started. Lots of panic.

You see, I didn’t want to lose this bet; especially due to Marina´s doubts of my reading abilitiy. One thing about my sister is she is undoubtedly the most infuriating person to read around. So when she left for the Dominican Republic for 14 days. Why not read them all during that time span? And so I did. I wasn’t smart about it either, not starting until well past 5, right before I had to take a break for a few hours due to soccer practice, then picking it right back up until I finished the book in the wee hours of the morning. In the end, I read 13 books in 13 of the days Marina was gone. I finished 2 more right before the year started, the last one finished on the last day of summer. The takeaway here is, you can do anything if you want to prove your family wrong.

Here are the 15 books I read and their ratings/notes (by me):

#1 – In Other Rooms Other Wonders – 3/10

Super boring, no correlation to each other (horrible for essays), gross age gaps, terrible read.

#2 – The House in the Cerulean Sea – 9/10

Cute read, entertaining but had some boring moments, did not make me want to keep reading but still wasn’t forced.

#3 – The Perks of Being a Wallflower – 7/10

Was not super interesting to me, sad book, short read, not striking

#4 – The Martian – 10/10

Loved it, technical terms used a lot, good plot, kept me invested, was repetitive towards the end.

#5 – The Fault in Our Stars – 10/10

Cute and so sad, sobbed, quick and interesting read.

#6 – The Anomaly – 10/10

Beginning was super slow, boring, loved the plot and the different reactions of everyone involved, very similar to Manifest.

#7 – They Both Die at the End – 10/10

Good plots and character development, made me sob, plot twists

#8 – And Then There Were None – 10/10

Good plot, i’ve seen the movie before so plot twists were not as good, super fast read.

#9 – We Were Liars – 7/10

Kinda boring with a predictable plot, like the writing style and the suspense.

#10 – A History of the World in 6 Glasses – 4/10

Boring-so boring, hard to get through, long read, had some interesting points, good for people who like history.

#11 – Bel Canto – 8/10

Good plot, longer than it should’ve been, interesting theme, horrible and disappointing ending.

#12 – Attachments – 10/10

Adorable romance, fast read and wasn’t boring, liked the chapter variation

#13 – Heartstopper – 10/10

Cute book, gay, fast read.

#14 – Project Hail Mary – 10/10

Super interesting, was never bored, good plot and character developments, very sci-fi.

#15 – Calculated Risk – 2/10

So boring, didn’t understand half of it, unnecessary parts, felt like someone took an essay and made it into a book, might be interesting for some people, good points to know in general.