Friday Morning Visits: June 16
The Four-Story Mistake: Elizabeth Enright

12 Again: Sue Corbett

Ever since I read Free Baseball, by Sue Corbett, I've been wanting to back and read her first book, 12 Again. Therefore, I decided that 12 Again would be my first book for MotherReader's 48 Hour Book Challenge. Here's a brief review.

12 Again is the story of 7th grader Patrick, and his mother Bernadette (or Detta). Patrick chafes against his responsibilities as the oldest of three son, with two working parents. This causes friction with his mother, right up until his mother disappears on Labor Day. Detta has gone to sleep in her mother's house, and wakes up as a 12-year-old herself. For the rest of the book, the viewpoint shifts between Patrick and the now 12-year-old Detta, as Patrick tries to find her mother, and Detta tries to find her way back to her family.

I enjoyed this book because of the wish fulfillment aspect. How cool would it be to wake up in your 12-year-old body, but with all of you adult knowledge? You could get straight A's in school easily. You'd have a better idea of how to make friends, perhaps. It's something I think about sometimes, in idle moments. If I could go back to my 12-year-old self, with the knowledge that I have today, what would I do differently? Could I stop September 11th? Could I prevent the tragedy that happened to one of my friends? Would I major in something to do with books in college? It's endlessly fascinating to think about.

But back to the book. I thought that the mechanics of Detta's time travel were a little bit confusing, and I saw a few loopholes (Why didn't Detta go the library and get a Hotmail account - why did she need to email from her own computer?). But I liked the family dynamics between Patrick and his brothers. And I liked Patrick a lot. He's a kid who tries to hide from his friends the fact that he likes to do well in school, but can break the rules when he needs to. I empathized with his struggles as the oldest child, constantly having to nag and/or care for his younger brothers (I was the oldest of four, myself). There's also a wonderful school librarian who plays a small part in the story. She's fleshed out much more than she needs to be for her role in the story - I suspect that she's based on a real person. She adds warmth to the story.

All in all, 12 Again is fun escapist reading, with a few more serious things to say about family dynamics, putting too much pressure on the oldest child, and telling people you love them when you have the chance. I recommend it.

Book: 12 Again
Author: Sue Corbett
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
Pages: 227
Age Range: 9-12
Time Spent Reading: 2 hours

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.