11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass, paperback novel, 267 pages, published by Scholastic Inc. in 2009.
Amanda and Leo were born on the same day in the same hospital and were to become best friends, and celebrate their birthdays together every year. That is until their tenth birthday when they have a falling out, and then don’t speak to each other for an entire year. Amanda is miserable on the day of her eleventh birthday, and she is glad when the day finally ends and she goes to sleep. But when she wakes up in the morning she discovers that her birthday is happening again, and she seems to be the only one that realises it. Why is her birthday repeating and how does she make it end?
I enjoyed this story, it reminded me of the movie Groundhog Day, which I have always loved. The possibility of getting a “do-over” could be enticing, with no consequences, you could do anything you’ve always wanted to, but never been game to. Though, it could also be depressing when nothing you do actually matters, as each day resets and no one else remembers your actions. I think that the emotions that Amanda displays in the book when she discovers her birthday is repeating, mirror how I think I would react in the same situation. The characters were well written and felt real. The storyline was interesting and engaging, and I hope my kids will like it too. This book is probably best for middle to upper primary school students, though I didn’t think it had themes that would preclude a younger child from enjoying the story.