11 Birthdays is told from the perspective of Amanda who is, as the title implies, about to turn 11 years old. But for Amanda this year is different. For the first time she will not be spending her birthday with her friend Leo due to a hurtful rift in their friendship that began a year previously. Amanda manages to survive her birthday only to wake up the next morning and have everything repeat itself–except she is the only person aware that the entire day has already happened.
Eventually Amanda and Leo realuize they are both re-living their eleventh birthday. Together, they attempt to find both the cause and the cure for the strange phenomenon.
I like the idea of this story more than I actually like the book. The story is just okay. Amanda and Leo definitely speak and act as eleven-year-olds, but they don’t seem to grow or gain any real insight over the course of the story.
The addition of the mysterious woman Angelina–who is ultimately responsible for the enchantment which has caused the time loop–is necessary to make the plot work. As a stand-alone character, however, she doesn’t add anything to the story.
I read this as a bedtime story selection with my 3rd & 4th Grader and they both liked the book. I was not thrilled with it. I like each book I read to leave its imprint on my life–even if it’s the two minutes I laughed out loud while I was reading it. There’s nothing really wrong with the book but I won’t go out of my way to recommend it to anyone.