12 Again

12 Again

4.1 8
by Sue Corbett

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In this captivating novel, wife and mother of three Bernadette McBride makes a wish she never expects to have granted—to be young again. When she awakens—transformed into a twelveyear- old—on what should be the morning of her fortieth birthday, she is at first jubilant, and then quickly realizes how complex life has suddenly become. She enrolls in

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In this captivating novel, wife and mother of three Bernadette McBride makes a wish she never expects to have granted—to be young again. When she awakens—transformed into a twelveyear- old—on what should be the morning of her fortieth birthday, she is at first jubilant, and then quickly realizes how complex life has suddenly become. She enrolls in her son’s seventh-grade computer class in hopes of enlisting his help, but it’s not that easy. . . . Patrick, Bernadette’s oldest son, has no idea what happened to his mother, but he refuses to give up hope. Unless he can get her back, he faces a life of waiting on his brothers. Can Patrick do the impossible? Can he rescue his mother . . . and return his family’s life to normal?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A riveting first novel. (School Library Journal)
Publishers Weekly
Irish folklore supplies the ingredients for debut author Corbett's creative contemporary fantasy, set in Long Island, N.Y. When stressed-out mom and Newsday reporter Bernadette McBride unwittingly drinks a potion just before making a toast "to youth," she wakes up and finds herself age 12 again, living in her childhood home with her Irish-born mother (who died in Bernadette's adulthood). Eventually, she discovers fairy magic is at work; while it's modern times outside the house, inside it's 1972. The story alternates between her perspective and that of Patrick, the oldest of her three sons, and readers get a strong sense of their emotions. Bernadette is thrilled to see her mother again but misses her family fiercely, feeling especially guilty for heaping too much responsibility on Patrick; he regrets thinking of her as a "burr on his shoelace." Bernadette, enrolled at school as "Detta," shares a class with Patrick, but doesn't want anyone, not even Patrick, to know about her transformation. In addition to the colorful folk traditions, Corbett supplies funny details as Bernadette adjusts to middle school (she bests a bully and is stumped when classmates ask her if she likes the Backstreet Boys). Though many of Bernadette's sentiments may make more sense to adults (particularly her ardent desire to please her mother) and some of the premise is fuzzy (Bernadette delays contacting Patrick for flimsy reasons), overall, this is a well-orchestrated and heartwarming read. Ages 10-14. (July) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
This is a variation on the theme of the Hanks film Big, in which an adult becomes a 12-year-old. Bernadette McBride, the adult in 12 Again, is a mother of three sons, the oldest of whom is 12 years old himself, Patrick McBride. The family live in the suburbs, but Bernadette's mother, who has recently died, was an Irish immigrant who knew the ways of the faerie folk. When Bernadette goes to her mother's empty home, she inadvertently gets herself under the spell of the faerie and becomes 12 years old again, but knowing who she is. Her subterfuge is amusing, as she manages to get herself enrolled in her son Patrick's very own school, and ends up in one of his classes. Computers are a means of communication available to her, and become the means of getting the help from Patrick she needs to return to her old life as an adult. Patrick is a terrific kid: responsible, fun loving, intelligent. He always has helped out in the busy household, since the father is a doctor on call often and the mother a reporter. Now, however, without the mother at home, Patrick's responsibility for the household and his younger brothers becomes enormous. The father does the best he can, and hires a tutor and housekeeper as the weeks go by and Bernadette doesn't return, but still Patrick has to manage quite a lot for a 12-year-old. All these logistics make for an interesting plot, as does the delving into magic that will allow Bernadette to return home. We see home life and school life through various eyes, perhaps the most interesting being Bernadette's experiences at school, being 12 again. Every character is likeable and the fantasy intriguing. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high schoolstudents. 2002, Penguin Putnam, Dutton, 227p.,
— Claire Rosser
Corbett's writing takes you completely into the world of her characters, Patrick and Bernadette McBride. Her fairy story really appeals to me, a mythology and fantasy lover, but it will appeal to many other kinds of readers too, especially those who can clearly picture their seventh-grade year. The ending might have been more complete, but the book can't have been written much better. I loved it, and I give it a 5Q/4P. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2002, Dutton, 160p,
— Jenny Knatz, Teen Reviewer
Children's Literature
What happened to Patrick McBride's mother? One day she is a stressed-out reporter and mom of three boys, the next—completely gone. The police and Patrick's dad are mystified; one brother is convinced she is dead; the littlest one cries a lot. Only Patrick feels his mom is okay and, strangely enough, somewhere near. Who is that quiet girl in his seventh grade computer class? This girl has the same last name as his recently deceased grandmother, who treasured her Irish heritage, made soda bread and herbal remedies and knew how to ward off trouble-making fairies. Sue Corbett's first novel, 12 Again, will keep middle graders reading nonstop to solve the mystery. Through alternating chapters, Patrick and his mother, now a 12-year-old girl named Bernadette, are able to piece together separate pieces of the puzzle. In an idle moment, Mrs. McBride had wished to be young again and living with her own mother—and the fairies had complied. Their powerful magic can be countered only by an antidote composed of materials difficult to find in contemporary America. Corbett has a wonderful ability to capture the way 12 year olds think and feel and speak. Patrick's observations as he helps his father cook and clean for his rambunctious brothers are spot on. Especially poignant and humorous, though, is Bernadette's perspective on present life in a body from her past. At one point, she "desperately want[s] to be forty years old and drinking coffee again." 2002, Dutton, Ages 9 to 13.
—Mary Quattlebaum
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7 A riveting first novel. Overwhelmed with her life as a mother, wife, and newspaper journalist, Bernadette McBride decides to spend the night at her late Irish mother's house. Helping herself to some mysterious liquid in the pantry, Bernadette ruefully wishes to be young again. When she awakens, she has been transformed into a 12-year-old on what should be her 40th birthday. She hears her mother calling her down for breakfast and is at first jubilant, but then realizes how complex her life has become. She enrolls in her oldest son's school and tries to figure out how to undo her wish and get back to her husband and three boys. As weeks go by, her family assumes the worst but her son Patrick is certain that his mother will try to contact him, and he never gives up hope. When he receives her mysterious and untraceable e-mail sending him off on a dangerous errand, he realizes that her rescue is completely in his hands, and the results measure up to a satisfying conclusion. Corbett's story, told from the alternating points of view of 12-year-old Patrick and Bernadette, is an extraordinary alchemy of elements that makes for an engaging read. The dialogue is natural and believable, and the emotions expressed by the characters are genuine. A great mix of fairy charms, Irish folklore, humor, mystery, and familial love. -Janet Gillen, Great Neck Public Library, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this odd, cross-genre pairing, a boy tries to solve the mystery of his mother's disappearance, not knowing that she has turned into a child herself and is now his classmate. Told from two points of view, this part mystery, part supernatural hybrid goes back and forth between Patrick, a 12-year-old boy whose mother has vanished, and Bernadette, his mother. Though discombobulated by the experience of being 12 again, Bernadette enjoys her second go-round in middle school and her reunion with her own mother, a superstitious, unassimilated Irish immigrant who is dead in the present. Seemingly less out of affection and more because he's stuck doing chores and caring for his younger brothers, Patrick repeatedly e-mails his mother and tries to piece together clues to her whereabouts. Meanwhile, Bernadette learns from her research into Irish folklore that her problems are the work of magical and malicious fairies. To rid herself of the fairies and return to her adult self, Bernadette takes her mother's advice and asks Patrick for help, which brings the duel story lines together, focuses the action and causes grandmother and mother and mother and son to value each other in more profound ways. After a crackerjack opening, the story stumbles a bit-Bernadette's middle-school experiences seem off point and her quest to return to her adult life initially lacks urgency-before regaining its footing in the unexpected territory of Irish fairy lore. Still: original, unusual, and imaginative. (Fiction. 10-14)

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.50(d)
800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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From the Publisher
A riveting first novel. (School Library Journal)

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12 Again 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is only one word to describe this book. That word is Awesome! I can't stop reading this book. It is a book with all diffrent emotions. I think the proper ages to read this book is 12-adult.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was one the best I've ever read! For the adults, it takes you back to your childhood! Many funny moments and magical ones. It's a book you'll never forget!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good book. When 39-year-old Bernadette makes a wish to be young again, it comes true. Then her 12-year-old son, Patrick, has to rescue her. It took me a while to figure out what the deal was with the black rabbit but I liked that. This book is so good I give it five stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book "12 Again" was a fun mystery story. It was very interesting and exciting. Patrick's mom magically turns twelve before her fortieth birthday. No one knows what has happened. Only Patrick can save her and return his family back to normal. When Patrick's mother disappeared, his family feared the worst but Patrick refused to give up. He also helped his family out like taking care of his younger brother Neil. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading mystery books. I enjoyed reading this book because it had a exciting plot and characters i can relate to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bibi1 More than 1 year ago
I won't recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
12 Again is a story similiar to the popular movie Big in which a character has a chance to live their life at a different age then they are at now. I enjoyed Big so I enjoyed the plot of this story. Corbett incorporated Irish folklore into her story and I was interested in hearing about concoctions that the grandmother makes and about the Irish fairies. I think that the novel was very well written. Corbett uses a creative way to use the internet and emails into her novel. This was the first novel I have read that has incorporated this technology as part of its text. Although I think the ending was a bit incomplete, I think Corbett's novel has potential.