*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Friday, September 14, 2018

"The Last Present" by Wendy Mass

Amanda and Leo have a history with birthdays. Now their friend's little sister, Grace, has fallen into a strange frozen state on her birthday, and Amanda and Leo must travel in time in order to fix whatever's wrong. As they journey back to each of Grace's birthdays, they start seeing all sorts of patterns . . . which raise all sorts of questions.

Amanda and Leo are going to have to unravel the threads of the past and present - and travel much further than they ever imagined - if they're going to save Grace. Luckily, a little birthday magic always helps in the charming and funny Willow Falls series by Wendy Mass, where everything is possible and there are no coincidences.

*Note, don't read this book if you haven't read 11 Birthday, Finally, and 13 Gifts.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51xU9pHpacL._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThings are never what you'd expect in Willow Falls, especially when it comes to Angelina and birthdays. We find out in this book, that Angelina has been the one keeping each of Willow Falls' children from getting horribly sick. But she was interrupted when she tried to protect Grace, and even though she tried to fix it each year, something foiled her every time. Now, Grace is horribly ill, no doctor can figure out what is wrong and it is up to Amanda and Leo to put things right. Angelina gives them the ability to travel back in time to each of Grace's birthdays. They have to fix three parties in order to save Grace. It seems daunting, but if anyone can do it, it's a kid from Willow Falls.

I felt that out of all the books in the series, The Last Present was (so far) the most compelling. The first three were interesting and often fun, but this time around, there was really something at stake- Grace's health. I was almost desperate to find out if she was going to be okay. I also enjoyed getting to spend time with Leo and Amanda again. I had assumed that each book in the series would be from yet another character's point of view, so it was nice to once again be with some old friends. This book picked up where 13 Gifts left off, so it was nice to listen to them back to back (I highly recommend the audio version, by the way). There were plenty of laugh out loud moments, especially with Amanda and Leo disappearances and reappearances through time. I also felt that this plot handled time travel well, which is no easy feat. I'm anxious to read the next book by Wendy Mass, Graceful, to find out what happens next!

Anyone who has started the series is going to enjoy this book. I love that it touches upon magic, but even so, that isn't the focus of the story (I'm personally not the biggest fan of fantasy and magic stories). The kids in these books work so hard and they work together, which I think are great values to instill in young readers.  I also love that even though the covers present the novels as somewhat girly, I think that this is a set of books that can be enjoyed by either boys or girls. I could see this being a series that would be very agreeable to listen to on trips in the car- there's something for every member of the family.

Happy Reading!

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