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Saturday, April 03, 2010

11 Birthdays: It's Been Done and Re-Done and Done Again

Amanda Ellerby and Leo Fitzpatrick were born in the same year, on the same day, in the same small town. Through a fortuitous twist of fate (or was it something a little more magical?), the two have celebrated each one of their birthdays together since then. Over the years, they've not only blown out candles together, but also become the best of friends. Amanda can't imagine not hanging out with Leo, not throwing a joint birthday bash, not even being friends - but that's exactly what's happening this year. After a stunning betrayal by her best friend, Amanda's about to celebrate her 11th birthday without Leo by her side. As if going it solo isn't bad enough, Leo's having the bash to end all bashes - will anyone even come to her piddling little party?

Amanda fears that nothing could be worse than suffering through her 11th birthday. Turns out, she's wrong. It's even worse the second time. And the third time. Apparently, she's been plopped into some weird balloon-filled version of Groundhog's Day, because she can't stop reliving the day over and over and over. Can she figure out how to make it stop? Or is she doomed to keep repeating the worst 24 hours of her life day after day after day?

11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass is one of those friendship stories that's as sweet as it is predictable. From the beginning, you know exactly where the plot's heading and exactly where it's going to end up. No surprises. This is a story that's been done and re-done and done again. Even Amanda and Leo don't bring anything new to the table - like the book itself, they're likeable, but not unique in any way. It's a nice story, don't get me wrong, I just wanted something a little more dazzling out of my first Wendy Mass book. Oh well. I'll take a page from Amanda's book and try again until I get it right. Every Soul A Star, perhaps?

(Readalikes: 12 Finally by Wendy Mass)

Grade: B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated: G

To the FTC, with love: I received this book from the generous folks at Scholastic. Thanks!


  1. My daughter and I just read this one (I haven't had a chance to review it yet.) She absolutely loved it and couldn't stop talking about it. I thought it was cute, but she had built it up so much.

  2. I think this is a book that probably appeals very well to the demographic it is written for. I felt the same as you and gave it a 3 out of 5. Cute, but nothing very special. However, Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass is WONDERFUL for all ages.

  3. I'll agree with Tricia: I liked this one -- my 10 year old daughter LOVED it -- but Every Soul a Star was absolutely wonderful.

  4. Absolutely agree with you - likeable, but nothing super special/original. My 8 yo hasn't read it yet - she would probably adore 11 BIRTHDAYS.

    I'm definitely going to check out EVERY SOUL A STAR.


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