If you've been a reader of this blog for any time you already know I'm a huge fan of Wendy Mass. Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life is on my top 10 favs of all time list (and that was a hard list to create... how do you pick just 10???) So, when I saw that her new book 11 Birthdays was out, I couldn't wait to pick it up.
I read this with my 7-year-old son (which meant we only got through a couple of chapters a night) and this was torture because I could have read this straight through in one sitting. It's the story of two kids, Amanda and Leo, who were born on the same day, in the same hospital, and who have celebrated their birthdays together every year... up until their 11th. That's because something happened on their 10th birthday that caused a rift in their friendship, and they haven't spoken since.
It's been a rough year on Amanda, and it's all she can do to get through this 11th birthday -- her whole day is a flop, including her party. She can't wait to have the whole day behind her. Unfortunately, when she wakes up the next morning, it's still her birthday. And the day keeps repeating over and over, day after day.
Grownups will remember the Bill Murray movie "Groundhog Day" which had a similar premise of a repeating day, but with 11 Birthdays, this story isn't just about getting the day right, but the background story of why it started happening in the first place.
Amanda and Leo are both likable characters, wonderfully drawn in Mass' engaging voice. As with all her books, the story tugs on the heartstrings and demonstrates the true importance (and magic) of a truly special friendship.
My sons laughed out loud more than a few times, and we looked forward to the time spent together within the page of this story.
Mass says there's a companion book to this somewhere in the future and I look forward to seeing where the story goes. 4 1/2 bookmarks -- put this one on your shelf.