Meet Jack, The Main Character

I’d like to introduce you to Jack, the teenager and main character of the YA novel THIRTEEN.

DemographicsScreen Shot 2015-08-06 at 5.32.22 PM

Age: 13
City: Surrey, BC
Grade: 8
Parents: Jason & Sydney


Jack is rebellious and a budding antiestablishmentarian who has trouble following the rules. He has just gone from the confines of Elementary school to the freedom of high school and is taking full advantage of is new freedoms. He is smart, which makes school work too easy and socializing too much fun. He is able to figure things out for himself and find ways to get what he wants, which gets him into trouble with his over protective single mom.

He idolizes his father who has left the family to live in downtown Vancouver with his new younger girlfriend and only takes the time to see Jack once or maybe twice a month. Jack is angry at his mom for his dad’s abandonment of the family home and like his father, blames his mom for the divorce.

At the same time he loves his mom and has taken on the man of the house role, which is why he gets so angry at her because she treats him like a child when he sees himself as a man. He is still very much a little boy needing his mom’s protection but wants to be the protector and provider like his dad was.


Jack’s parents are divorced. He lives with his single mom close to the Canada / US border in the Suburb of South Surrey, an affluent mid sized retirement town where nothing exciting happens.

He is close with his mom and loves her, however he’d rather live with his dad because his mom treats him like a child still, whereas his dad lets him do whatever he wants. He doesn’t see his dad much and doesn’t like his dad’s new girlfriend Bonnie, who doesn’t like him.

Likes / Dislikes

Jack loves screamo and punk music. He wears mostly all black and is trying out the Emo look now that he’s in high school. His new high school friends are his world and get him into all sorts of trouble both at school and at home.

He started collecting old WWII and Cold War propaganda posters by going with his Grandmother to antique stores. He used to snowboard all the time when his dad lived with them but now his mom says there’s not enough money. There is never enough money for anything he likes to do, so he hangs out with his new friends.

The Plot

Jack has gotten himself into trouble yet again by sneaking out in the middle of the night to set off fireworks and firecrackers with his friends, Rog and Aiden. The noise attracts the cops and Nick takes him home to a surprised and rather flabbergasted Sydney, Jack’s mom. 

The next morning his mom runs into his room, waking him up because she has heard machine gunfire. Foreign soldiers have invaded the Lower Mainland of BC and from their limited point of view they have no idea what is going on.

Now that the soldiers have taken over, cut off the power supply, shut down communications, and put up check points restricting travel Jack has no idea if his dad is alive. The stories they’ve been hearing from others are scary and all Jack wants to do is go and find out if his dad is alright. Thing is his mom won’t try to go find him and the soldiers keep getting in his way.

Jack gathers his friends together to try to come up with ways to help keep the community safe. Along with his friends he tries to find out who these soldiers are, why they are here, and how to survive without the modern conveniences they are used to, like running water and flushing toilets.


Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PM

Shannon Peel is the author of THIRTEEN a story about a boy, his single mom, her cop boyfriend, a missing dad, and an invading foreign army. She explores North American life in an occupied zone with no power, no communication, and no freedoms. For more information check out her website: