2010 SUMMER BOOK CLUB
In 'Finally,' a tween heroine can't wait to grow up
"Finally," by Wendy Mass
Published by Scholastic Press
Recommended for age 9 and older
Rory Swensen has a very important list: things she wants to do once she turns 12. And by the way, she has been waiting her whole life to turn 12, so there's a lot riding on this particular birthday. After marking her first dozen years of life, for example, she will be able to get a cellphone, go to the mall without her parents, get her ears pierced and ride in the front seat in the car.
The problem is (and you probably know this), things don't always work out the way you planned, especially when you really get your expectations up. And that's pretty much what happens throughout this funny book, starting off with Rory getting stuck in a drainpipe. Over and over, it just seems like Rory can't get one of her grand plans to work out the way she imagined it. But rather than being a sad tale of disappointment, it's nice to read about a likable, realistic character who experiences the kinds of normal disappointments we all do and still keeps her perspective. Life isn't a fairy tale, but that's what makes it fun and interesting.
And even if things don't go as planned for Rory's big year, things work out in a "big picture" kind of way, which is comforting. Sometimes it takes not getting something that you really wanted to realize that you didn't really want it after all. Right?
-- Margaret Webb Pressler