Title: 11 Birthdays
Author: Wendy Mass
ISBN: 9780545052405
Pages: 267 pages
Publisher/Date: Scholastic Inc., c2009.

Maybe I dreamed the last two days and today is really my birthday? Trembling, I reach down to feel the backs of my ankles. Band-Aids on both. I sit down on my bed and begin to cry. This is no dream or deja vu. I never had psychic powers. I can finally accept that now.
Ten seconds later, my alarm beeps. I want to throw it across the room. I can’t do this over again. I just can’t. I crawl back into bed and throw the covers over my head. Why is every day my eleventh birthday? And why doesn’t anyone else realize it? Why is this hapening to me, of all people? I’m not special in any way. Well, I can touch my nose with my tongue, but that’s pretty much it. (72)

Amanda Ellerby and Leo Fitzpatrick have celebrated their birthdays together ever since they were born on the same day. But during their tenth birthday party, Leo and Amanda get into an argument and they refuse to speak to each other. When their eleventh birthday comes along, their feud is infamous amongst the school, causing kids to take sides as to whose birthday party their going to; Leo’s with the hypnotist and professional football player, or Amanda’s Hollywood themed costume party. When Amanda and Leo wake up the next morning, they realize they’re reliving their birthday over and over again. At first, they are freaked out, and then they think it’s cool to live life without any consequences. But just how many times can you take the same pop quiz in history before you started wishing for something different to happen? Can Amanda and Leo fix what’s happening to them?

Wendy Mass writes about friendship mixed with a little bit of magic in 11 Birthdays. It’s a heartwarming story, and a fast read. Their attitude will probably ring familiar with a lot of students, taking advantage of the opportunity to skip school and do things they wouldn’t normally do, knowing that there won’t be any consequences to suffer afterward. But they learn some valuable lessons along the way, such as that even when no one knows you’ve done something wrong, you still feel guilty about it, and that helping someone out can make you feel good, even if you don’t have to help them. Amanda and Leo both gain confidence in their own abilities, and are able to stand up for themselves by the end of the novel.

This book was one of the selections for book parade 2010 at my library. Book Parade is a six week reading incentive program held in conjunction with the area schools. Kids in 4-5th grades read as many books from a pre-selected list as possible and answer questions on the book to judge their reading comprehension.