FINALLY by Wendy Mass

So I want to tell you how much I loved this book.  

But first I need to tell you a story.

I didn’t have any author obligations at ALA Midwinter last month, so I took my kids, both avid readers, to ogle the upcoming books in the exhibit hall.  My eight-year-old daughter knows enough about the publishing industry to know that one can sometimes snag advance reader copies of books by one’s favorite authors at such events.  She also knows that ARCs have a job to do, that they actually cost more to produce than final books, and she understands that she shouldn’t take an ARC unless she is quite sure that she will read it, like it, talk about it to her friends, and maybe even write a little review for me to share on my blog.

Which brings me to the Scholastic booth at ALA Midwinter, where E was hoping beyond hope that she might find an ARC of FINALLY by Wendy Mass.  It’s a follow-up to ELEVEN BIRTHDAYS, which is one of my daughter’s all-time favorites.  We found the book on display, but they were out of ARCs. The very nice Scholastic rep really wanted E to leave with a book, though, so she offered her two others that were there.  Here’s what happens when very-kind-publisher-lady clashes with author’s-child-who-does-not-want-ARCs-to-go-to-waste…

Nice Scholastic Lady:  Here, you can take both of these.

E:  *looks at books*  Oh, that’s okay. Thank you, though.

Nice Scholastic Lady:  Really, you can have them. They’re free.

E:  Thanks, but these aren’t really my cup of tea.

Nice Scholastic Lady: That’s okay. If you don’t like them, you can give them to your friend.

E: *looks at books again*  I don’t think they would be her cup of tea either.

Nice Scholastic Lady: It’s really okay. You can take them.

E: No thank you.

I eventually jumped in to end the standoff by explaining our ARC discussion and why my daughter was so steadfastly refusing this poor woman’s efforts to be kind. She understood, and then took a little notepad and asked for our address.  A few weeks later, E got a package in the mail.  She squealed and went running to her favorite reading chair.

Thank you, Nice Scholastic Lady!

After I managed to pry FINALLY out of her hands, I got to read it, too.  And really?  It was worth the wait and then some.   The main character, Rory Swenson, has been waiting forever to turn twelve. That’s when she’ll finally be able to do everything she’s been waiting for. Buy a cell phone…get her ears pierced…go to a boy-girl party. She’s about to have everything she’s ever wanted.

Except that everything she’s ever wanted manages to go horribly, horribly wrong in the funniest ways possible. FINALLY had me laughing out loud over and over again.  It’s written in that fantastic, trademark Mass voice — the one that would make you swear she’s really twelve years old herself — and the characters are real and wonderful.

FINALLY is set in the same world as ELEVEN BIRTHDAYS and has a touch of that same magical realism, but above all else, this is a warm, incredibly funny book about wanting to grow up and learning that it’s also okay to be a kid. Loved, loved, loved it.  Every girl who’s ever been impatient to be a little older will love it, too.  FINALLY is due out from Scholastic on March 1, 2010.

28 Replies on “FINALLY by Wendy Mass

  1. And in a beautiful twist of irony, the supposed 12-year-old on the cover looks about 18…

    It sounds like a delightful book, though, and I’ve enjoyed a couple of other Wendy Mass novels, so perhaps I’ll check it out!

  2. thanks

    Hi Kate! I just wanted to pop in and let you know that Fatty Legs (now a chapter book) is coming out in the fall with Annick Press. I just sent off my acknowledgements and was sure to mention you. Thank you for all of your help!!!!

    Christy Jordan-Fenton

  3. Re: thanks

    Oh yay!! I’m so happy to hear that your great story found a home (and a good one, too! I’ve heard great things about Annick Press). Congratulations! And thanks for stopping by to let me know.

  4. I love kids who behave so sweetly and such an understanding of the bookish world.
    The book sounds great! Will have a look at it for my own daughter’s sake as well :). Even though she’s got a great pile yet to read.

  5. True story: Once when I was in my local children’s bookstore, a girl saw me browsing the shelves. She asked what I was looking for, and we talked a little about books. She grabbed 11 BIRTHDAYS and told me all about it, saying, “This is so good.” It was her top recommendation in the MG section!

  6. Your daughter is so great. I think I had a few such conversations with some overeager reps. It really is awkward when some try too hard to put books in your hand while you’re saying the not-my-cup-of-tea line or some such. I love the happy ending.

  7. What a good girl she is! So glad she got to read a new book before publication. Wish you could have picked up my ARC, too! (Just showed off cover art the past two days on my blog. . . SO DANG excited!!!)

  8. Oh, she was trying so hard to be nice, especially when she wasn’t able to offer up that first book. It’s just that her niceness ended up in direct conflict to the conversation we’d just had about ARCs… I loved the happy ending, too.

  9. Love Wendy Mass

    Thanks for the heads up about this–I love all of Wendy Mass’ books. It’s amazing how each character is so completely different from book to book. She is such a gifted writer!

  10. think of movie

    i really loooove this book i think you should make a movie i would like it even better you rock!!!

  11. Eleven Birthdays

    OK, so I read Eleven Birthdays and Finally when I found out on page:105 and I quote “But Leo has a smile for everyone. I know before I even look that Amanda Ellerby is standing next to him.The two of them are practically inseparable, but not in a dating sort of way, at least I don’t think so.They got into a huge fight a couple of years ago and weren’t talking for like a year, but they both have the same birthday something happened that brought them back together.” I’m pretty sure thats what happened in Eleven Birthdays!!!!!!!!!!!!!