The Thirteenth Home of Noah Bradley by Amber Lee Dodd

Written by Amber Lee Dodd
Published by Scholastic, April 2020

An incredible surprise awaits the reader of this brilliance! I was expecting a story about a family unable to settle in one place, and the trials that befall them. What I was given, was so much more. The reason for their lack of settlement is superb and really engages the reader.

We meet the Bradley family as they arrive at their new home in the middle of the night, clearly running from something- but we know little of the family yet. There is a story, a curse, that follows the Bradley family wherever they go. Leftover from their ancestors who became a bit greedy with magical items gifted to protect them, the curse follows all Bradley families as they try to find a home.

The story of the curse is passed from generation to generation and Noah, brother Billy and their parents can recite it word for word. It states that “Until, United again with their true strength, they could bring the curse to a close”. This statement will become a journey and an adventure for Noah, Billy and friend Neena.

This current home, 18 Verity Close, and school for Noah are the best, he has fit in, made friends and is set to win a history prize for great work. This home has to be their final one- he is willing to break the curse in order to save his family. With plenty of warnings, the family ignore the signs that let them know when it is time to move on, black cats, strange weather, and most importantly, the black birds from the North.

With Dad away working in Singapore and strange, dangerous events happening in and around Verity Close, Noah must find a way to protect his family and bring the curse to an end. After a strange weather event, Noah’s Mum ends up in hospital and a strange man is asking questions and hunting for something in the wreckage of the house. Now is the time for Noah to figure things out. Luckily, new best friend Neena and brother Billy are there to help.

They must find all magical items from the legend of the curse and bring them together- but how to find them and what will happen to the Bradley family? Reading some old letters and finding Mum’s hidden item, clues are there for the trio to use.

I loved this book and could empathise with Noah for wanting to fit in, be accepted and put down roots. Moving twelve times in as many years is heartbreaking and hard for the family. As you delve into the mystery and adventure, characters who at first glance, were judged one way, prove themselves to be the opposite! There are twists and turns throughout the story and it was a thoroughly enjoyable read.

I highly recommend this story- it would make an excellent class book!

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