Saturday, January 01, 2011

Finally, by Wendy Mass

From the first time that her parents told her that she had to wait until she was twelve, Rory has been working on a list of great and small things that she'll be able to do when she turns twelve. So, when that birthday finally rolls around, she can't wait to get started.

Things don't go quite as well as planned. For one thing, Rory seems to be awfully accident-prone. She gets her first cell phone, only to lose it within fifteen minutes. She tries coffee for the first time, without realizing how strong it is and spends the next couple of hours on a hyperactive caffeine buzz (she appears to be a bit ADD as is). Just about every thing with which she comes into contact (make-up, earrings, etc.) sets off an allergic reaction. Despite these mishaps, she has a kind heart and a great deal of intuition that have her helping out people right and left, so she's a very winning heroine who will endear herself to readers.

Wendy Mass has written a number of lovely, funny, and often touching books, which mix magic with middle grade sensibilities. This one, however, seemed much less fun, more preachy, and less cohesive than her other books. Young readers might enjoy Rory's mishaps, but I found their sheer randomness distracting. The point of the story seemed to be that you should be careful what you wish for, since almost every one of her wishes backfired, but there wasn't much of an alternative presented. The ending, which sought to tie it all together through a mixture of the supernatural and a string of amazing coincidences worthy of a Bollywood movie, came off as a cheap wrap-up. In comparison to the book I finished before this (You Wish), this one seemed like a very pale imitation of what you can do with a little magic and a lot of message.

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