11 Birthdays is Groundhog Day for tweens.
Amanda and Leo have known each other forever. No, really. Their parents met in the Willow Falls Birthing Center the day that their kids were born. Exactly one year later, they all happened to be at the same place for their birthday parties. Leo offered Amanda his stuffed bear, and the two babies became friends. They celebrated their birthday together every year since. Then, during their tenth birthday party, Amanda overheard Leo say something that really hurt her, and they pretty much stopped speaking to each other.
Amanda's eleventh birthday isn't horrible, but the day doesn't exactly go according to plan, either. She gets talked into trying out for the school gymnastics team by her friend, then freezes up when she's supposed to do a back handspring. Her dad has a terrible cold. Her older sister Kylie seems preoccupied. In honor of her movie-themed birthday party, her mom got Amanda a Dorothy costume that's uncomfortable. With Leo having his own party at the same time, only half of the kids that were invited come to Amanda's house, and some leave early to go to Leo's place. Wearing an itchy dress and shoes that hurt her feet, Amanda's pretty miserable, but she doesn't really complain. As she crawls into bed that night, she's thankful for what she has - her family, her health, the upcoming weekend - and is grateful that the day is over.
Then she wakes up the next day - or what she thinks is the next day - only to discover it's Friday again! At first, she thinks her family is teasing her, but her sister's wearing the same outfit and her parents are insisting that she goes to school, so she goes with it. Almost everything that happened the previous day at school happens again, and the same things happen that night at her birthday party. Amanda's puzzled, to say the least, but sure that everything will go back to normal the next day.
Then the next day ends up being the same day again - and the next day - and the next! As she tries to figure out what's going on, she makes important discoveries and allies. Thanks in part to a mysterious and kind elderly woman with a duck-shaped birthmark, Amanda might finally get through the day and mend her broken friendship with Leo.
Once again, Wendy Mass captures a precious age without pretension, without making her characters too precocious. It's very nice to see a boy and a girl be just friends, without any romance involved or assumed. Throughout the story, Leo and Amanda act their age: they are stubborn, truthful to a fault, impulsive, even silly at times. This is a totally cute story that both kids and their parents will enjoy.