Book Review || Finally

Rory Swenson has been waiting forever to turn twelve years old. Literally, all her life. And finally, the day has (almost) come. Luckily, Rory is prepared— she has a to-do list.

Big Things

1. Get a cell phone.

2. Stay home alone.

3. Get my own screen name so I can IM.

4. Shave my legs.

5. Go to the mall with Annabelle and no parents.

6. Wear makeup.

7. Get a pet.

8. Babysit.

9. Get my ears pierced.

10. Get contact lenses.

11. Attend Natalie Karp’s boy-girl birthday party.

Smaller (But Still Very Important and Worthwhile) Stuff

1. Get my own house key.

2. Go to bed at 9:30 pm.

3. Drink coffee.

4. Watch Friday the 13th Part IX.

5. Sit in the front seat of the car.

6. Do my homework without anyone checking it.

7. Pick out my own clothes.

8. Use electrical appliances without permission or supervision.

9. Walk home from school.

10. Buy lunch in the cafeteria.

11. Ride an upside-down roller coaster.

So how does Rory’s birthday go? Well, not exactly the best. She drinks coffee for the first time, and— oops— caffeine overload! But then her parents allow her to get a phone (albeit “the lamest cell phone in the history of cell phones”)! In less than fifteen minutes, Rory manages to lose it. Thank goodness her father forced her to buy insurance policy. When she gets her second phone, she receives quite a few calls— but not from the people she expected. All of that, however, is minor compared to the fact that she’s 12! In no time, Rory starts her quest: completing her list. However, things do not turn out exactly as planned. Turns out she’s allergic to make-up… and earrings… and eye-contacts are more dangerous than they seem. Her bunny, Kyle, tries to murder her. She stars as an extra in a movie being taken in her very own hometown (!) but keeps on showing up either hurt or swollen up. She gets a locker slammed in her face by a famous movie star. And maybe boy-girl parties aren’t what they’re all cracked up to be. But Rory makes quite a few friends— including the eccentric Amanda and Leo, a clever ten-year-old, a ballerina, and a wise old woman with a duck-shaped birthmark, and sees that the road to your goal is not as rewarding as helping those you meet on the way.

Yup, this is the sort-of sequel to 11 Birthdays. Wendy Mass is at it again, writing touching but funny stories about growing up. Rory is an awesome character: she’s sweet and down-to-earth but really, really clumsy. She’s just trying to make the best of her newly-gained independence and her crazy mistakes. Her parents are also pretty cool, I must say. They may be overprotective but they are understanding and actually have a sense of humour. The ending is absolutely amazing, I won’t spoil it but I think it’s my favourite part of the book. To quote Angelina, who is the duck-shaped birthmark woman by the way, “You won’t get what you want until you see what you need.”

-Yasimone

Book Review || 11 Birthdays

Author: Wendy Mass

Amanda Ellerby is about to turn eleven. She’s stuck having a costume party she doesn’t really want, and wearing a very uncomfortable costume. But most of all, it’s the first year she isn’t having her birthday with Leo. Leo is her best friend ex-best friend. They were even born on the same day. But one year ago, on their 10th birthday, Leo said something terrible, and Amanda hasn’t talked to him since. After an okay-ish day at school (she has a pop-quiz!), her birthday celebrations are not going well: half the guests haven’t even shown up, and the other half are slowly leaving her party to go to Leo’s huge birthday bash. 😐 *sheds tear* Amanda is extremely relieved when, finally, the day is over. Blissfully, she goes to sleep. But the next morning, everything happens exactly the way they do yesterday! At first Amanda thinks it’s a twisted trick. But when the same thing happens the next day, Amanda understands that something else is at work. But what? Before long, Leo and Amanda realize that, for some strange reason, they are in it together: they need to forgive each other and find out what exactly is causing their 11th birthday repeat over and over. Along the way, they meet a mysterious kind elderly woman with a duck-shaped birthmark who knows quite a bit about their ancestors and in the end, see that friendship is important in ways they never imagined.

Wendy Mass is, I must say, also one of my absolute favourite writers. She combines the real world and magic one seamlessly. Amanda and Leo are ordinary kids who act just their age and are true-to-life. The writing keeps you interested and turning pages eagerly. This is a heartwarming book that shows that friendship can be broken, but much more easily fixed.

-Yasimone