For the last few years, whenever Rory would ask for something like a cell phone, to go to a girl-boy party, or to get a pet, her parents' response would always be the same. When you're 12. Now that she's a few days from her birthday, Rory has a list of things she can finally do. Will being 12 be all she expects it to be?
This book is one of the many reasons I point my 4th and 5th grade library students to Wendy Mass's books when they don't know what to read. The character is realistic, the parents are typical, the experiences are funny, and there's a hint of unexpected magic.
Preteen girls will identify with Rory, who dreams of finally doing all the things her parents won't let her do. However, when she gets to do them, unfortunate events happen. She maims her legs the first time she tries to shave, she discovers she's allergic to gold when she goes to get her ears pierced, and her parents want her to get a cell phone with two buttons.
Rory's parents are fantastic. Many books and even TV shows portray the parents as clueless or uninvolved. Rory's parents are more realistic in their overprotectiveness and love for their girl.
A final, somewhat magical twist in the end (think 11 Birthdays), shows Rory what really counts about being 12.
This is a great book for a mom and daughter to read and to discuss together. Both will enjoy it and walk away either remembering being 12 or looking forward to turning 12.