Synopsis (from Goodreads):
A humorous look at what it means to FINALLY turn twelve years old.
You can pierce your ears when you're twelve. You can go to the mall with your friends when you're twelve. You can babysit little Timmy next door when you're twelve. You can get a cell phone when you're twelve. Hey, you can even ride in the front passenger-side seat when you're twelve.When you're twelve, when you're twelve, when you're twelve . . .
My name is Rory Swenson, and I've been waiting to turn twelve my whole life. In exactly 18 hours, 36 minutes, and 52 seconds, it will finally happen.
My life will officially begin.
Hopefully you will have read my review of 11 Birthdays, the first book in the Willow Falls series, before reading this review. I am reviewing all four of the books in the series because I started rereading all of them when I was recovering from wrist surgery (side note: physical therapy is going well!). While I love the first book, I haven't actually purchased it yet. I don't really know why, but I've always just thought that if I wanted to read it I could get it from the library. I do, however, own this one. I bought it with a gift card almost 2 years ago, and have reread it countless times. It is arguably better than the first book, and was the book that truly cemented my love for the series.
The book follows Rory as she ticks off a birthday bucket list of sorts: she has been waiting her whole life to turn 12, which is when her parents will finally let her do "grown-up" things like drinking coffee and going to boy-girl parties and staying home alone. The first time I read this book, I had done practically nothing on Rory's list. Several years later, I have done most of the things on her list (still waiting for the coffee, though!). Rereading it now is like a step back in time to my first experiences with things like getting my ears pierced, babysitting, and getting contact lenses. Rory's experiences as a sheltered girl trying out grown up activities for the first time mirrors my life in more than one way, and out of all the characters I believe I share the most in common (both in life experiences and personality) with Rory. Though I have to say, my mishaps were never near the scale of hers.
You don't have to read these books in order. Well, at least you don't have to read the first two in order. The third one is much more enjoyable if you've read the first two, because the characters from the first two books are featured heavily in the third one. The fourth book is definitely much more meaningful and less confusing if you've read the other books 1st. But for the first two books, you can read them in either order. They are both built to be standalones, and are perfectly wonderful under their own power. I read them in order, but it wouldn't have mattered if I'd read Finally first. In fact, if the plot of the first book doesn't appeal to you, just read this one. They are very different books, but both are excellent reads.
Stay tuned for my review of 13 Gifts!