Review: Finally by Wendy Mass

Middle Grade Madness

Finally by Wendy Mass

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.

Title: Finally (Willow Falls #2)
Author: Wendy Mass
Source: Purchased
Publication date: March 1, 2010

Rory’s parents have been telling her for years that she can do this or that when she’s twelve. Now, Rory is finally turning twelve — and she’s been keeping a list. It includes both big things (“Get a cell phone.”) and small (“Buy lunch in the cafeteria.”) All kids think they’re the last one to be allowed to do certain things at one time or another, but in Rory’s case it seems to be true. Rory’s parents are overprotective because they married young and had her soon after, and they remember what it was like to be a teenager (or a twelve-year-old) and do stupid things.

Rory’s relationship with her parents is pretty good, though, and they aren’t completely controlling. They actually stick their promises and allow her to do or get everything on the list. That’s probably ill-advised because Rory’s a bit irresponsible. I mean, the book opens with her falling backwards into a drainpipe and getting stuck. That is not normal. Reading Finally from an adult perspective, Rory is clearly not ready to be responsible for a pet or a small child (“Babysit.”). Part of the blame can probably be laid right on the shoulders of Rory’s parents, who, after all, haven’t even let the kid do her homework without checking it up until now. If you want your child to grow into an adult who’s self-sufficient, you do have to give her some freedom to do things on her own and even make mistakes, and twelve is a bit late to be starting on the small stuff.

Of course something has to go wrong every time Rory tries something on her list and after awhile, I felt really bad for her. The girl has the worst luck ever. Nothing she wants is as good as she thought it would be. Some of it is a direct result of her own choices, but some things (like allergic reactions) are unavoidable. Rory just keeps at it, though, working her way through the list and it’s fun to watch her try new things that seem so important when you’re young.

There are two side characters that were the main characters in the first book in the Willow Falls series, which I haven’t read. Amanda and Leo don’t have much impact in this book. It’s more that Rory keeps seeing them around even though she’s not friends with them. It didn’t appeal to me as much so I skipped over it, but their presence wish I had read the first book so I would know their backstory. I’m going to go back and do that before I read any more books in the series.

4 stars



  1. This sounds like a fun book, although her parents sound a bit controlling, I do like the sound that she can actually do all the things on her list. And indeed I think it’s important for parents to let go of their kids someties and let them experience things themselves. My mother also was one fo those over protective parents and it got annoying sometimes. Although I did get my ears pierced when I was pretty young and then cried a lot as it hurt, lol.
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