Birthdays! Some people love them, some people hate them, and some people consider them just another regular day. For Amanda, birthdays were always her favorite days because she got to share them with her best friend, Leo. But then she turned 10 and had the worst birthday of her life. Will her 11th be any better?
That’s what Amanda faces in the intriguing and funny 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass. The book starts out with a mysterious chapter set on the day Amanda and Leo were born, when a stranger with a cryptic message tells their parents that the two must always celebrate their birthdays together. And after an “accidental” mix-up on their first birthday, they do, and they become the best of friends!
But then Amanda overhears something she shouldn’t during their joint 10th birthday party, and the friendship ends. As Amanda faces new pressures from her friends at school and problems with her family at home, plus a competing birthday party with Leo on the same night, her 11th birthday ends up being miserable.
But at least it’s over, and that thought makes Amanda very relieved. Except . . . apparently no one else got the memo. Each day, Amanda wakes up to find it’s STILL her 11th birthday! No one else seems to notice that time is repeating itself – no one except for Leo.
11 Birthdays kept me hooked as I eagerly read on to find out what different decisions Amanda would make in order to try and stop her 11th birthday from repeating. Ultimately, she and Leo find out why time has stopped (I won’t give away the secret!) and what they need to do to set things right.
As a reader, I was worried the book would become repetitive — but it wasn’t at all, because each day Amanda thought up new plans to try and break the cycle she and Leo were in, resulting in new adventures. It was fun reading about all the birthday rituals the two had enjoyed, and I identified with the idea that, no matter how much you plan, there are some things you just can’t control. Amanda learned that lesson too.
11 Birthdays is out in stores, and I highly recommend it, whether you like birthdays or not!
— Morgan, Scholastic Staffer