by Wendy Mass
First sentence: “I’m a big wisher.”
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Rory has a problem (and it’s not her name, though she gets “isn’t it a boy’s name?” all that time): she wants to be grown up. She’s been wishing for this for a long time — at least since she was six years old, and started writing down everything she’d get to do (finally!), when she turned 12.
The day before her birthday, she meets an eccentric old lady who tells her that she won’t get what she wants until she sees what she needs. Rory doesn’t pay it any attention… until things start going horribly wrong.
Things go so wrong, in fact, that I was beginning to wonder what else bad could happen. It seems like there’s a catch with everything on Rory’s list: from getting a cell phone (lost the first one; ends up with the same number as a pizza restaurant), to shaving her legs (the most hilarious, pathetic, horrid one), to getting her ears pierced (it would never happen, or so I tell C, who was a bit freaked out by that one), it all goes horribly, horribly wrong. Of course there’s a happily ever after (of sorts), especially after Rory learns what the woman meant, which isn’t really until the very, very end. There’s no real big fireworks, not really any big life-changing moments. Just a series of events that lead Rory to realize that growing up isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
It’s a Wendy Mass book, and so (almost by default), of course I liked it. But… it wasn’t as good as the last couple of her books I’ve read. It’s a sequel of sorts to 11 Birthdays — it took me forever to realize who Leo and Amanda were! — but without all the fancy magic loops and such. It’s more subtle (are the incidents “real” or are they a set up? It could go either way…) and much more realistic than the first book. And, as a result,the book wasn’t quite really, really good. More like just plain good.
It doesn’t help that I wanted to throttle Rory’s parents from nearly page one. (It wasn’t just me: I overheard C saying that she just wanted to strangle the parents.) They give overprotective a bad name. Hovering, helicoptering, annoying… you name it. No wonder Rory wants to grow up so badly; her parents haven’t given her any room to maneuver at all! (*sigh* I guess you don’t want a lecture on my parenting opinions right now.) It made the juxtaposition between what Rory wants to do and her accidents all that more heart-breaking. I just wanted one thing, one little thing, to go right for the poor girl.
Which, I suppose, it does, in the end. It was a fun little book, but nothing grand. Which is a little disappointing, but not too terribly much. It is Wendy Mass, after all.