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Thursday, November 26, 2009

"11 Birthdays" by Wendy Mass (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)




Introduction: Sometimes there's just that story that while marketed as a children's book, can reach across the age gap and warm even an adults heart. 11 Birthdays is one of those titles that is a charming, sweet, and memorable book.

Summary: Amanda and Leo are born on the same exact day in a small city. Ever since their first birthday they have spent every birthday together, even hosting joint birthday parties together. They are unsure why they have always felt the need to celebrate together but that's just the way things have always been done.

Before their 11th birthday, Leo and Amanda have had a falling out. Neither one will look at the other and for the first time in their lives they are celebrating their birthdays separately.

When the time comes for their 11th birthday, the day seems just like any other birthday except that the two former friends aren't sharing it together. But when Amanda falls asleep that evening after a terrible party, she awakens the next day only to find out that she is reliving her 11th birthday all over again.

Amanda must figure out why she keeps reliving this one specific day and what she can do to release herself from this magic spell of sorts.

It's like the movie Groundhog Day but with 11 year olds dealing with their birthdays.

Analysis: 11 Birthdays is one of those books that although I've read it a while ago, every little detail is still fresh in my mind. Not only is every detail fresh in my mind but also I would readily pick up the book again and read it with just as much excitement as the first time I read it.

Of course this book contains problems that any adult might find trivial, such as Amanda does not want to try out for gymnastics but does so because she feels "forced" by her best friend, or that her best friend sat with someone else on the bus. But I firmly believe that this story goes way beyond that, and really has a charming effect on adults.

From the stand point of a child (or adult) reading this book, it has everything that a good story could want. The characters of Amanda and Leo are very developed and realistic. No character is out performing the other and they are facing real problems that an 11 year old would be facing. However, these problems are not the focus of the book and more like "sub"plots, so those readers that don't feel they can relate to an 11 year old's problem won't have to worry to much about this aspect of the book.

While the plot line of reliving a certain day could become tedious and boring, Wendy Mass does an excellent job of making sure that every "11th birthday" day is celebrated just a little bit differently. Events are changed slightly and no time is wasted explaining events that the reader already knew.

As stated in the introduction, this is a children's book, but Wendy Mass goes beyond that with her writing. There is no writing that is talking down to a child or adult, instead it almost feels as though Mass puts in effort to make sure that the children who read this book will be challenged slightly while reading, and adults will find this a smooth yet easy read.

One of the major things that I loved about this book is that it's timeless. With the exception of a Spongebob reference this book could easily be read 20 years from now with the same impact and impression being left on readers.

11 Birthdays was one of those books that walking in I wasn't sure what to expect, but walking out I was left in awe. Not only would I readily read this book again, I'd recommend it to anyone that is looking for a fun, charming and warm story. While I can't reveal the ending of the book as it would take away from the suspense and magic of it, I can say this book was great til the very last page.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

i like it thank you i have read the book too and it is AMAZING!!! i have the "sequel" 12 finally its pretty good so far!!! and i needed a summary to refresh my mind since were having a test on friday december 10 2010 well any ways thanks

P.S. again GREAT SUMMARY!!! your a life saver BD

Anonymous said...

i had to read this book for school. i loved it, you had the summary dead on.! im in love with this book ive read it 3 times and it gets better everytime i read it this is a awesome book okkaye thats all bye:)

Anonymous said...

okkkk..so i read this book b4 but i needed to read it again cuz my book report was due a week ago..this site really helped!!!!thnx....:ssssssS

Cindy said...

Glad I could help you all! :)

Anonymous said...

i'm reading this book for the second time. can you tell me some of the character traits of the characters? :S ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Can you please list some books that are similar to 11 Birthdays because I am doing a book report on this book which I loved and I just need a book that is similar to it if you know any thank you!

Anonymous said...

i really really really REALLY loved this book! its sequel, finally, is great too, but i prefer 11 birthdays as it seems a bit more "magical". 13 gifts is awesome too, but a bit harder to get stuck into in my personal opinion. the trio are cleverly fitted together, wendy mass knows her stuuff!

Anonymous said...

I Have Read The Book Sooooo Many Times And It Makes More Sense Everytime I Read It ( It Makes Sense Anyway) I Amd Starting To Read 12 Finally Is It About AMANDA & LEO??

Anonymous said...

it's not cheer leading it's gymnastics.

Anonymous said...

She is coming to my school so i am very excited!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

whats the ending plz tell me its for a book club

Anonymous said...

No it's about rory

Anonymous said...

omg my book report is due 2marow and i 4got my book at school!!!! this is really helping! ur a lifesaver! thxxxxxxx<3

Anonymous said...

I have a book report due in 2 weeks this site is a life saver thank youuuuuuuuuuu!!! er mah gerd XD

Anonymous said...

Help please! When Leo and Amanda thought they need to help others to stop the birthday repeating, Amanda helped her father mother sister and the boy with the periodic table. My question is what did Leo do to help someone?

Anonymous said...

Is There Any Quotes In This Book? I Have A Project To Do And I Don't Remember Any Quotes From The Book D:

Anonymous said...

This book was GREAT!!! It had things that I would never imagine in a book!!! I would highly recommend it!!! :):):)

Anonymous said...

I am in Battle of the Books and it is one of the books!!! It is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :)

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