Wendy Mass has done it again.

Amanda has been a fan of Wendy Mass for a while. She read Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life when it was nominated for our state book award. After that she zipped through most of her other books, reading 11 Birthdays as soon as it came out and begging me to do the same. I have now read three Mass books, and enjoy the clever, imperfect quirky, tweens who are usually involved in some sort of fun adventure.

They are great books for kids ten and up who are looking to make that transition from “kids’ books” to Young Adult fare. They deal with typical middle school issues, yet in a completely age-appropriate way — either for those who are that age, or for those who will be soon.

In Finally, Rory is finally turning 12, which means she will finally be able to do all those things that her overprotective parents have been promising her that she could do when she turned 12, including get a cell phone, shave her legs, stay home alone, get a pet and more. She knows — she’s been keeping track. The novel deals with her response to dealing with all of these new areas of responsibility and privilege. I’ll give you a tip off to say that all of these things do not go off without a hitch.

Amanda (11 1/2) enjoys these books because they are funny and relatable, or simply because “Wendy Mass is awesome.” I enjoyed this book (and the others I’ve read) because it made me remember what it was like to be 12. I’m far from 12, but Amanda is quickly approaching that age, and exploring tween angst is much easier via literature than the school of hard knocks!

I also like the way parents are portrayed in her novels. They might be over-protective, or under-involved, a little kooky, and embarrassing, but they aren’t buffoons. They are parents, as viewed through the eyes of their kids. But for example, in Finally, they lived up to their promises, and we saw a little glimpse of their side of and letting go a little to give their daughter a chance to grow up.

I have two hardcover copies of Finally to give away (U.S. and Canada shipping addresses). Leave a comment to enter. We’ll announce the winners on May 12. This giveaway is closed.

This book is probably best for girls, but another thing I love about the other two books mentioned above, is that they appeal to boys and girls. And don’t forget that I can highly recommend this book to anyone who once was 12, regardless of how old she is now.

Jennifer Donovan relives her own life as she watches her kids grow up. She shares random observations at her blog Snapshot.


  1. says

    Please pick me! I have an almost 11 year old who absolutely loves Wendy Mass. She hasn’t read this one yet!! We just read 11 Birthdays together and discussed it! She says 11 Birthdays is her favorite book. It’s just too funny because my daughter had the exact same reaction as yours. Mom, pleeeease read this!


  2. says

    Loved this review, sounds like a good book that I could read along with my daughter who will be 12 in June and could bring up some good discussions about what comes with “growing up” and “responsibility”–it goes both ways for parents and children and all with a humerous tone. Would love to win, thanks for the chance


  3. enyl says

    This sounds perfect for my classroom library. We’ll have a chance to explore teen responsibility and how to handle it.

  4. says

    Well my daughter just turned 13, which allowed her to join facebook, wear a little makeup, and get dangly earrings. (Still no cell and we are holding out on the leg shaving…mostly because I think that’s a rite of passage to put off as long as possible) But I still think she would love and relate to this book!

  5. Katie Schroeder says

    I have never read Wendy Mass, but this book sounds perfect for my 11 1/2 year old triplet cousins who are about to go to middle school! I think this would be a great fit for where they are now.

  6. says

    I would love to win a copy of this book. I had originally thought that it was a follow-up to 11 Birthdays, but judging by your review (and that the protagonist is Rory), I’m guessing not.


  7. Karyn Hostetter says

    This would be great for my 11 yo girl–She loves to read almost non stop! Would love to try a new series for her!

  8. chris A says

    I have a 12 year old daughter who loves to read. This sounds like one she would really enjoy. Thanks for the chance to win.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge