Margarita's Reviews > Leap Day

Leap Day by Wendy Mass
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Jan 08, 12

Read from July 09 to 10, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: at least 10

This book starts and ends on Leap Day, February 29th. I read it in one sitting, and like many other of Wendy Mass's books, made me laugh out loud without thinking (Some advice: Don't read A Mango Shaped Space on an airplane).

The main character, Josie, was born on Leap Day. Every four years she gets a proper birthday, and--finally--it's her 16th. It's told in alternating perspectives: Chapter 1A is narrated by Josie, and Chapter 1B gives a bird's-eye view of family, friends, and random strangers that she interacts with. We follow Josie through many people's heads as she barely passes her driving test, collides with her long-time crush in the hallway at school, drives her friends all over Orlando for the school scavenger hunt, and gets an unanticipated birthday surprise from her best friends at her 16th-birthday initiation ceremony.

Josie is an ordinary, easy-to-relate-to character. Her thoughts--which we have complete access to--are things many readers will identify with, although Josie's interpretations can be slightly more hilarious than the average person's.

There is (un-parent-condoned, of course) smoking and drinking in this book. Before you freak out, the cigarettes are immediately discarded after being lit, as the girls choke on smoke and remember countless commercials about smoke ruining your skin and lungs. The drinking is treated in a similar way; after a few sips of blackberry brandy with chocolate in it, Josie and her friends toss the alcohol and move on to Truth or Dare.

I'd recommend this book for a thirteen- or fourteen-year-old. The content is appropriate for ages 10 and up, but slightly older readers will probably enjoy the book more, being closer to Josie's age and therefore a more similar mindset.

Other things I liked about this book:
Not only is the book told from multiple perspectives, we also get glimpses into the future of many characters. When one of Josie's classmates gives her baby up for adoption, we learn that "In 18 years [the baby] will have the right to contact her birth parents. But she won't."
The look into the world of Leapers (people born on Leap Day). From the "Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies" to Josie's new shirt that reads "The Few, The Proud, The Leapers", we are part of an atypical birthday celebration.
Not everything turns out the way it's "supposed to", but Josie takes it (almost) all in stride, giving a fresh feeling to the plot.
The funny parts in the book are written in a way that you can't see them coming. You'll be reading along in Wendy Mass's gentle-but-interesting prose and all of a sudden something so hilarious will happen that you'll have to put the book down so you don't lose your place.


You might also like: A Mango Shaped Space, also by Wendy Mass; The Princess and the Pauper, by Kate Brian; and Thirteen, by Lauren Myricle.
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