Finally by Wendy Mass

FInally twelve years old! Rory Swenson is finally twelve, and she can’t wait to do all the things her over-protective parents have been promising to let her do when she turns twelve. In fact, Rory’s been keeping a list of those promised privileges and experiences since she was seven years old.

“A pet is a huge responsibility. You can get one when you’re twelve.”

Rory’s heard promises like that one for years, and now that’s she’s finally twelve, she’s ready to grow up, put away childhood, and do and have everything on her “Finally” list.

Finally is a sort of, kind of follow-up to last year’s 11 Birthdays by the same author. Amanda and Leo from that book show up as minor characters in this one. 11 Birthdays was one of Besty-Bee’s favorites from earlier this year, so she’s now busily engaged in reading Finally. I’ll try to remember to let you know what she thinks.

I think Finally is a fantastic story of growing up and how it’s not always what it’s cracked up to be. Rory is a great character, equal parts spunk and immaturity, and she faces all of the trials and tribulations of getting what she thinks she wants but not always what she really wants with grace and spirit.

The things that go wrong with Rory’s wish fulfillment birthday sometimes read like a sitcom, perhaps I Love Lucy or some other such madcap adventure. By the end of the book, Rory’s been bumped, bruised, nearly smothered to death, and embarrassed numerous times and in numerous situations. But she learns that her real wishes have to do with encouraging others, and her real gift is that of seeing needs and ways to help that other people miss.

Twelve year old girls and almost-twelves will see themselves in the story and enjoy comparing their own mental list with Rory’s. I predict that my almost-twelve is going to like Finally.

Wendy Mass says in this interview there’s a 13 year old companion book to 11 Birthdays and Finally coming up maybe next year. Yeah!

Other takes:
Stacked: “Finally is a fast-paced, hilarious novel that will take readers back to one of the most exciting ages in their lives, and it will resonate with middle schoolers who are themselves struggling with the challenges of never being old enough or mature enough to do some of the things that their friends do.”

Peaceful Reader: “My favorite part was the ending, which was filled with warm feelings and great resolution but the middle made me a little overwhelmed. Kids will love it though-especially the murderous bunny!”

Reading Junky’s Reading Roost: “FINALLY will have readers laughing, nodding in agreement, and sighing in sympathy as they follow Rory’s tale of reaching 12.”

Finally has been nominated for the 2010 Cybils Awards in the Middle Grade Fiction category.

2 thoughts on “Finally by Wendy Mass

  1. Thanks for the link love. This is a lovely review and I’m glad it’s been nominated.

  2. Grace

    My daughter has read this book 11 times and counting, including 11 Birthdays and 13 Gifts! Thank you Wendy Mass! She’s hoping for another!

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