Friday, October 08, 2010
11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass
Amanda has a pretty bad birthday the first time she turns 11. She doesn't make the gymnastics team, her mom gets fired, and her birthday party is a bust. The worst part is that she's been in a year-long fight with her former best friend Leo, and they are having separate birthday parties for the first time in their lives. She wakes up the next day only to discover that it is her birthday again and nothing has changed. On her third 11th birthday she makes a few changes and on a subsequent birthday she finds out that Leo is in the same boat she is in. They both are trapped in their 11th birthdays. They end their feud and start to work together to figure out how to make time move forward for them again. It's a fantastic premise for a book—kids love to imagine these kind of impossible scenarios. It's also fun to track the changes they make and the ideas they have for getting out of their predicament. At times these two kids speak with an emotional maturity far beyond their years, but they were otherwise believable characters. This is a sure winner for 10 and 11 year old readers.