13 Secret Cities Review: "I actually felt for Clara"

"A well-written and thrilling piece of literature"

Here's a recent review about 13SC as seen on Amazon.com.

My overall opinion of 13 Secret Cities is that it is an amazing story that is represented in a very well-written piece of literature. Torres does a great job evoking empathy from his audience through diction, imagery and simile. Torres uses descriptive language that makes the reader feel as if they are in Clara’s shoes and experiencing the horrible suffering that she had to go through. Some parts of this book made me chuckle, some made me cringe, and some even made me cry. The imagery that Torres uses really got me involved in the text and made me feel a certain way that many other readings don’t. I actually FELT for Clara, her family, and for every other person that was remotely involved in the events at Millennium Park that day. While reading I could actually feel, smell, and taste the suffering that Clara went through that day in Chicago. Some good examples of simile that stood out to me while reading include:
“They wore gas masks lowered over their face and their Kevlar gear protected them like scarab shells” (6).
“If I craned my head toward the sky, I could see his or her head bobbing, like a black bowling ball” (10).
“The redness of her cheeks invaded the skin, and the matted hair, wrapped in blood around her cranium like a cocoon” (12).

Some examples of descriptive language and imagery include:
…the pointed spikes of sailboats in the marina, and the silvery reflections on the waters of Lake Michigan… (6).
…cool darkness underneath the hard concrete structure… (7).
I liked how Clara’s experiences were all interconnected. She was able to look back at how her 19th birthday connected to the massacre and how the feeling she felt in that moment lying on the lawn beneath the Pritzker Pavilion was connected to the book that her brother had given her to read. There was also a connection between the protests in Mexico that Clara’s father attended to the protest that she participated in. I also like how the author gives such good detail about what happened that day in Millennium Park, and then explains how in the big picture it was just a tiny moment that has come and passed. The author states, “[t]hat four-minute moment became one of the stars in the firmament of my life” (7). This book really does show how one single incident can change your life forever and how you should be happy for the moments you have alive and for the lessons learned through your experiences. It also demonstrates the importance of family and the relationships you build as a young person. I strongly recommend reading this book if you want to follow a thrilling and exciting journey of a young adult, never knowing what is going to happen next.