Friday, January 22, 2010

Gem of the Week: Wendy Mass does it again

FINALLY by Wendy Mass (Scholastic, pub date March 1, 2010, for ages 8 to 12).

I've finally figured out the secret of Wendy Mass (author of 11 Birthdays, Every Soul a Star, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life and other novels).

It's simple. Really.

Wendy Mass is a time traveler.

See, the way I figure it, she must travel back in time to her own childhood, scribble a bunch of notes, and then whoosh back to the present and write her novels. How else would she remember in such hilarious detail what it's like to be finally turning 12?

Rory Swenson has a long list of things her overprotective parents will let her do when she turns 12. But when the big day dawns and she starts checking off goals on her list, something manages to go wrong each time, with riotously funny results. She finally gets her first cell phone -- and loses it in 15 minutes. She finally gets to wear make-up -- and has an allergic reaction. She finally gets to stay home alone -- and scary noises drive her into the bathroom, where she locks the door and takes a bath with her headphones on. When her parents return and she doesn't respond to their frantic knocking, Dad kicks a hole in the door to "rescue" her.

At school, Rory's always been forgettable, the type of mousy girl who blends right in. This actually works to her advantage when a movie crew arrives to film a teen heart-throb movie right there at Rory's school. She gets hired as an extra and tries to blend in to the background, but her "accidents" keep happening. The scene where Rory shaves her legs for the first time will have you hooting with laughter (and maybe wincing a little, too).

Keep on the lookout for this book. It's light. It's funny. It's terrific.

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