Mass revisits Willow Falls (the setting of 11 Birthdays) for this entertaining treatment of the weeks following Rory Swenson's eagerly anticipated 12th birthday. Upon turning 12, Rory begins working through a list of fervent wishes she's been compiling since she was seven: owning a cellphone, going to the mall without parents, and getting her ears pierced, to name a few. Each wish's fulfillment, however, is predictably accompanied by a minor disaster (an allergic reaction to a gold stud, an unusually aggressive pet bunny). The plot is bolstered by the filming of a movie at Rory's school, starring the "coolest, hottest fourteen-year-old boy in this or any other universe," with students playing extras. Angelina, the wizened, ageless seer of 11 Birthdays, appears to Rory early on with a prophetic warning, "You won't get what you want... until you see what you need," but Rory's wishes are trivial enough to make the final scene of self-discovery fall flat. Though long on page count, the book feels slight, but Rory's chatty, friendly voice and relentless optimism in the face of her many mishaps are heartwarming. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)[Page 47]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
Gr 4-7--Rory Swenson just can't catch a break. She's been waiting for what seems like forever for her 12th birthday. According to her parents' rules, that is the magical age when she'll finally be able to partake in many formerly forbidden activities such as wearing contact lenses, getting a pet, owning a cell phone, piercing her ears, and staying home alone. Now that the day has finally come, she finds that growing up isn't as satisfying as she imagined. She's completely unprepared for the minor disasters that result: her new pet bunny seems homicidal; staying home alone is scarier than she thought; and her attempt at having her ears pierced reveals an allergy to gold. The only silver lining is her growing friendship with movie-star Jake Harrison, who is filming at her school. There's a nice twist at the end, when the many good deeds Rory has done without thinking of herself pay off, and she realizes that her misfortunes are minor. This novel pairs well with Mass's 11 Birthdays (Scholastic, 2009), but it stands on its own. Children will relate to this warm, funny story of a heroine who can't wait to grow up.--Madigan McGillicuddy, Los Angeles Public Library[Page 93]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.