11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a cute book marred by unrealistic characterization and an ending that really comes out of nowhere.
It's reminiscent of Groundhog Day, but with 11-year-olds and middle school instead of a middle-aged weatherman. There's a curse, a mysterious old woman, and school drama to deal with.
Unfortunately the fun of repeating the day is somewhat limited by the age of the characters. Whereas Phil Connors could do a lot of crazy stuff once he embraced the concept of the day repeating, the kids can't - they have to deal with questioning adults, a lack of immediate funds and the inability to drive or, well, do anything fun. That makes each repeating day just something to slog through.
The kids also act well beyond their years. I kept thinking the two main characters were more like 15 or 16. This is probably because when I was 11, I wasn't dealing with the same social crap that they were. I was definitely more a kid than a teenager.
That being said, the book is really very cute. It offers up a sweet look at two 11-year-olds who learn to trust and rely on each other; I just wish there was more fun and less middle school drama.
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