Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Mary Penney
Macy’s life is far from simple. She is starting middle school and changing friend groups, and her father is on a special military assignment and has been absent from her life during the recent years. Macy clings to her father’s promise that he will return to her on her twelfth birthday, so she determines to “stay” eleven until his return. One day, Macy and her best friend Twee help a forgetful older lady find her missing dog. This small adventure is a catalyst for an even bigger one as Macy decides to track down her absent father at his “new military assignment.” Their journey to find Macy’s father is also a journey of discovery and truth, as Macy unveils clues about the real reason for her father’s absence in her life.
Author Mary Penney does a fantastic job of portraying the innocence of youth while also showing just how complicated life can be, even for an eleven year old. She is able to do this by taking seemingly insignificant life events, like trying to earn reward money for a lost dog, and twists the perspective in order to pull her audience into the shoes of the young and immature character named Macy. However, the pace of the story is somewhat slow. There is never a part of the story that truly captures the attention of the reader. Having a slow and monotone pace also makes it very difficult to build to an exciting climax, which this book lacks. Consequently, Eleven and Holding has a great plot, but it isn’t a very exciting story.