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Winnie knows that change isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when it means her best friend, Amanda, might be dropping her for someone else. Throw in a grumpy teenage sister, a cat who gets trapped in the wall, and a crush who has pinkeye, and you’ve got one big mess—one that Winnie’s not going to clean up! Winnie’s decided that she’s going to remain exactly the same, no matter what the rest of the world does. But every month brings crazy adventures. A lot can change in a year . . .maybe even Winnie.

224 pages, Paperback

First published February 9, 2004

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About the author

Lauren Myracle

87 books1,974 followers
Lauren Myracle is the author of numerous young adult novels. She was born in 1969 in North Carolina. Lauren Myracle holds an MA in English from Colorado State University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. she has written many novels, including the famous IM books, ttyl, ttfn, and l8r, g8r.

Her first novel, Kissing Kate, was selected as one of ALA's "Best Books for Young Adults" for the year 2004. It was named by Booklist as one of the "Top Ten Youth Romances" of the year, as well as one of the "Top Ten Books by New Writers." Her middle-grade novel, Eleven, came out 2004, followed by its YA sequels (Twelve, Thirteen, Thirteen Plus One) .

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5 stars
2,142 (35%)
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1,807 (30%)
3 stars
1,406 (23%)
2 stars
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1 star
162 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 520 reviews
9 reviews
May 25, 2011
This book is the voice of any tween girl. Winnie is like any other girl - she's growing up, she has family, friends, enemies, and crushes. Most importantly, she has Amanda, her BFF who is pretty, sweet, and popular. As sixth grade approaches, she finds Amanda being taken away by a rich and snooty girl, Gail. While trying to cope over the loose of Amanda, she befriend DInah, and clumsy, not so popular girl who is looking for a friend. You'll watch over the months as Winnie grows and changes as a person, experiencing new troubles, fears, ideas, and friendships. It's a touching book, full of comedy and realistic fiction. The three other sequels are amazing as well, as Winnie advances toward her high school years and sees the world around her change.
Profile Image for Kallie Polk.
3 reviews8 followers
February 2, 2009
Book 1:This book is about an 11 year old girl named Winnie who is not like other girls. She doesnt care about the way she looks or how she acts unlike most girls do. When summer comes and sixth grade is inching closer Winnie finds that her relationship with her best friend,Amanda, is gradually fading. Amanda is now getting caught up in boys and fashion. When Winnie and Amanda go to the beach together in the summer,Amanda is wearing a colorful bikini while Winnie finds herself wearing a tattered red one-piece. This is just the start of their friendship fading. The school year starts and everything is going fine until Amanda finds a new best friend,Gail. Gail doesnt like Winnie so Amanda and her arent as close as before.Throughout the school year, Winnie meets her match,has to deal with a mean sister,a crush with a pink eye, and a new best friend.

I liked this book because of its plot.It tells things that could really happen to an eleven year old girl. I would reccomend it to girls who are ages 11 and up.Thanks for reading my review and read "Eleven" by Lauren Myracle.
35 reviews2 followers
October 2, 2015
What I thought about this book while I was reading it was that I liked it a lot because it had many details about what she did every day for one year until she turned twelve years old.I will recomend this book to girls in my class.
Profile Image for Janessa.
42 reviews
August 29, 2020
After cleaning out my bookshelf, I stumbled upon The Winnie Years series. I'm 21 years old but when I was in middle school, these books were my favourite. I figured Eleven would be a fun, quick read, and that it'd maybe offer some nostalgia. After finishing this book in 2 days, all I can say is wow!! I remember exactly why I loved these books so much when I was younger. They are so incredibly relatable and some of the themes really hit close to home. This is one of few MG books that I find to be very realistic.

I can relate to Winnie a lot. I did when I was 11, and still do at age 21. Her struggles, and storyline quite eerily match mine. This book, and this series will always have a place in my heart.

(Can we please petition for Lauren Myracle to continue this series and make YA books that follow Winnie in her older teens/ early twenties? lol )
Profile Image for Heather.
183 reviews19 followers
February 10, 2010
Title(s): Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen
Rating: A+

Review: I decided to review all of these books together because, well, I read them all together. I read the first one on a whim, a decision to develop myself "professionally" (because I dream that, when I'm finished with my MLS program, that I'll be a kick-butt YA and children's services librarian in a public library who will help reluctant readers find the book that will help them turn the corner and develop a lifelong love of reading). I read plenty of YA and had recently started to dip my toes into MG (at the urging of my nephew), but needed a broader scope. I didn't intend to like these books because I'm not in their target audience.

But you know the crazy thing?

Even though I was reading them with, "I wonder what fifth- or sixth-grade girl I can recommend these to," in my mind, I loved them. Not for someone else, but for myself. They were really funny. I laughed out loud. And the lessons learned were poignant and spot-on for what girls that age struggle with (some of which are things that girls of all ages--even those of us who are well beyond the middle grades--struggle with). The voice of Winnie is so honest; she tries to be good, but she isn't always successful. She's just real.

And that tends to be the way that Myracle writes all of her characters in all of her books. She's just really good at creating interesting characters. You might not absolutely love every single character in all of her books (I didn't love all the characters in this series), but you can always find someone you connect with. And that's what reading is all about--watching somebody else make life's mistakes in one way or another and learning from them.

I have recommended this book to a very nice young sixth grader who I interact with in a volunteering role that I have and, after I explained the conflict of the first book, she was hooked. She can't wait for me to check with her mom to make sure it's okay for her to read these. And that's what's so great about Myracle: she writes books that you want to read.

So, in summary, Myracle's positive qualities are:
1. She writes characters that you can connect with.
2. She writes books that you want to read.
3. She's funny (which I might not have explicitly said, but is still true).

Let me leave you with this snippet from a scene where Winnie (age 13) has gone to ask her older sister, Sandra (17), and her sister's boyfriend, Bo (also 17), for advice on kissing (page 55):
"I was hoping we could discuss kissing," [I said:].
"Oh, good God," Sandra said. "Winnie."
I blushed, but the thing about Sandra and Bo (unless Sandra was in one of her moods) was that I could blush around them and still keep going.
"I just don't understand what you do with your tongues," I said.
"How many tongues do you have?" Bo asked.
"Ha ha," I said. "One that belongs to me, one that belongs to someone else."
And, since we're on the topic of funny (and a little bit sweet) things that happen in the book, let me share this, which isn't truly a spoiler (page 63):
Lars looked at me. His face was right there, inches from mine, and I knew this was it: the moment of the first kiss.
He leaned in. I giggled and drew back. My breathing grew shallow, and my heart drummed against my ribs, more out of nervousness than anticipation. Extreme, horrible, freak-out nervousness, the kind I occasionally experienced before having to give an oral presentation or introduce myself to a crowd of strangers.
Lars tried again. I turned my head from his. I didn't mean to--I so didn't mean to--but it was too much, being in the actual moment and thinking, Oh, god, lips. His. Mine. Touching!
An anxious laugh made a very strange sound coming out of me. I could feel my smile go rubbery.
He learned in. I pulled back. He leaned in further. I did a bob and a duck maneuver. It was bad. Bad, bad, bad. And the worst part of it all was the doubt creeping into his eyes. He thought I didn't want him to kiss me, but I did!
"Winnie?" he said.
"Yes?" I squeaked. My cheeks burned.
You'll have to read the books to see how "the kiss" turns out.

So, to make this long post a little bit longer, I only intended to read the first book, but whizzed right through it and promptly went back out and picked up the next two and buzzed right through them. I was actually quite disappointed to find out this was only a trilogy. I want more Winnie Perry.

Recommendation: I recommend that you read absolutely everything by Lauren Myracle. Young Adult, Middle Grade, doesn't matter, just read it. (And add E. Lockhart while you're at it for good measure.)
Profile Image for The Rusty Key.
96 reviews25 followers
October 26, 2010
Reviewed by Rusty Key Writer: Becca Worthington

Recommended for: Girls age 10 and up.

One Word Summary: Charming

This is an entirely wholesome and heartfelt book that perfectly captures the joy, awkwardness, delight and heartbreak (and for adult readers, the nostalgia) of fifth grade. Lauren Myracle has a powerful way of fully immersing herself in Winnie’s world. As the primary theme, the pain and loss of growing apart from your best friend is fully and honestly explored, and the book is a remarkably sensitive portrayal of pre-pubescent growth and change. Winnie is an entertaining protagonist, and it is a pleasure to be inside of her head for 200 incredibly well-written pages.

Winnie’s eleventh birthday starts off perfectly. She has a sleepover with her closest friends. They make pizzas and giggle into the night, and her life-long best friend Amanda gives her a kitten named Sweetie-Pie. It looks like eleven will be the best year of her life.

But as the year goes on, Amanda starts finding Winnie’s games—dressing up, using silly accents, playing make-believe—childish, and Winnie is confused and embarrassed. On top of that, her teenage sister Sandra is acting moody and annoyed, and their little brother Ty won’t leave Winnie alone.

When sixth grade starts and Amanda is suddenly shaving her legs, wearing makeup and hanging out with the sophisticated Gail, Winnie can’t help but feel left behind. What do you do when your best friend is growing up faster than you are? Throw in a complicated crush on a boy that draws awesome spaceships, an icky non-crush on a boy that pick his nose, and the sweet but clueless Dinah following Winnie around like a puppy, and eleven may be a challenging year after all.

Perhaps the loveliest thing about Eleven (which is carried throughout the series in Twelve, Thirteen and Thirteen Plus One) is its celebration of positive values. The book has strong messages of kindness, loyalty, honesty, imagination, patience, and above all, family. In this day and age, a loving and honest portrayal of a non-broken home is rarely depicted, let alone with such warmth and tenderness. Sure, they squabble and annoy each other, in a very real and sometimes painful way, but there is deep love between them. The parents, while undeniably dorky in a way that only parents can be, are kind and genuine. And Winnie’s affection for her younger brother is as palpable as her exposed yearning to be close to her older sister.

Overall, in an age where vampires and promiscuity have become a staple of young adult fiction, this book bravely represents positive and wholesome values—a fact as refreshing as the Cola-flavored Slurpees I guzzled while roller-skating around my cul-de-sac when I was, oh, I don’t know, eleven.

For more reviews from The Rusty Key, visit us at www.therustykey.com

January 19, 2015
We listened to the audiobook in the car. I don't know if it's because we listened to the audiobook, but I thought this was horrible. Most of the characters were extremely unlikeable. The narrator sounded like a 6 year old instead of an 11 year old. The men's voices made them all sound like idiots. We had to stop listening because it put us all in bad moods. My 9 year old actually got nervous while reading this that this is what she'll have to look forward to. It would've been much better if there was a message delivered that your appearance isn't everything, and that you should seek an adult's assistance when dealing with tricky issues especially bullies. Very disappointed. We will not be reading any others in the series.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,312 reviews52 followers
December 10, 2012
I knew it that this will be a perfect tween book for me since when I read this book, I was 9, a tween. I absolutely loved it! I love how it expresses that in the next few coming years when you're a tween/teen, there will be some rough times, with your friends or boys, but you need to live your life and leave those bad times behind and live the present, not the past. Myracle takes the perfect role of an eleven year old girl, who is just the perfect touch to make the book great.
Profile Image for Julianna.
35 reviews
September 15, 2011
81 reviews
March 28, 2023
ISBN – 9 78 142 403464 Author - Lauren Myracle
This book is part of a series of books about a young girl named Winnie. She turns eleven years old in the book. The book is organized by months and the chapters loosely revolve around the school and summer seasons for Winnie. I read this book because my neighbor's daughter (who is very intelligent and sweet) was reading them with great interest. I got interested on what was holding her attention. After I read 20 pages in the car I had to see what was going to happen with Winnie (the protagonist in the book).
It turns out that some of the challenges in life never change. However, the book is really about change and how to find ones’ way in the world. I had forgotten how it was to be 11 years old and some of the things I used to worry about.
The story starts with Winnie having her 11th birthday party. All of her friends arrive (best friend Amanda also) and the gifts and fun feel real to the reader. Winnie gets many gifts and ultimately she gets a kitty (Sweetie-Pie). The girls do little plays where they actually play act certain things. They have quite an imagination. I know a young girl that “play acts” having a “JOB” with her cousin and the antics in the book reminded me of that. The girls in the book have a vivid imagination pretending to be many things and people and it is entertaining. They pretend to run from an orphanage and are chased by wild cats. The girls are also great kidders and make fun of each other. The problem is that they are sometimes very hurt by this and they dwell on these events a lot. It made me remember just how it felt when I was this age. I felt that one of the great things about adulthood is that these things do not bother you so much or for at least as long as they once did. Winnie goes to the dentist and even talks to and seems to like boys. She seems taken with her sister’s coworkers “Arm” which was overdeveloped scooping ice cream t Baskin Robbins. Winnie is a good soul. She really has a conscience and feels bad about running from an old lady when she was startled by her. She ponders whether the old lady has any friends and seems sorry for her. The assistant principle asks Winnie to skate with a boy to make him feel better. At first she is hesitant and shy but she eventually does it because she feels for the boy (Alex). It turns out that the good deed is embarrassing to her because he acts like a jerk (he is not particularly likable).
All of this leads up to the main story of the book which is the changing relationship between her and her very best friend Amanda (Winnie ranks her friends #1, #2 etc. Very cute!). Winnie spends some time with Amanda in the summer between 5th and 6th grade and they really have a good time. When school starts in the fall Amanda is finding herself somewhat drawn to a new pal named Gail. There was no event or problem between Winnie and Amanda, things just turn in this direction. Winnie initially does not cope well and then she spends some time (unsuccessfully) trying to convince herself that it does not matter. Ultimately Winnie finds herself talking to another young girl named Dinah. They seem to get along well and they have some adventures in the mall trying on clothes and talking. They describe what they wear and how things match all through the book. Winnie says that when she tries to accessorize it looks like an “oil spill.” It was a funny characterization. They also talk about how pretty other girls are. We find that Dinah lost her mother shortly after birth and they handle the issue well (Winnie is a sensitive little girl). Winnie later has a Halloween Party (October chapter) and invites Dinah after fantasizing about all other types of scenarios on dressing in costume. She reflects to her days with Amanda where they pricked fingers and mingled blood in some sort of sisterhood. Before the party Winnie has to rescue Sweetie-Pie from danger in the attic with help from her dad. We learn that Dinah’s Dad is Winnie’s Dad’s boss. Dinah gives Winnie a friendship bracelet and it seems they are buddies. Later in the school year they get sent home for snow and they have a jump rope contest that comes down to Gail and Dinah. This puts Amanda and Winnie on different sides. Increasingly, Gail becomes more bully-like and even Amanda seems to recognize Gail is a bit pushy. All through the story Winnie seems to get bolder in her defiance of Gail’s attitude and more defensive of Dinah even though she really wants her old friendship with Amanda to be as it was. Ultimately the awkward Valentines’ day celebration comes around and Gail is more of a problem than ever. Winnie struggles but finds a nice boy. Dinah is a great supporter. Gail positively becomes a witch by the end of the story. Amanda simply fades away. At the end Winnie finally has a big blow-up with Gail (it is a funny scene).
The book makes the point best in the September chapter, “Change sucks” for kids. I agree, it seems that most people get better dealing with change as they age. The book was a blast to the past for me, it reinforced the idea that living is changing. Very cute….. I might just have to read 12. I can see the attraction for teen and preteens.

Mark D
3 reviews
November 1, 2009
6 reviews
May 29, 2011
I LOVE this book!!!!!!!!!!!! Lauren Myracle did a great job opening The Winnie Years series, even though I am not eleven it would probably be easily relate able to an eleven year old. You should definitely get your hands on this book if you haven't yet read it.
Profile Image for Krithi.
30 reviews2 followers
December 6, 2012
This book is really good. it tells you what its like to be an 11 year old. Winnie is is having a hard time with sociallife, but then she meets Diana, but she the newest and weirdest girl in her class, but then she realizes that they have a lot in common.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Becca.
6 reviews
July 13, 2008
this whole series is good. the author does a really good job making the story realistic to an eleven year olds life
Profile Image for Allison.
22 reviews
October 16, 2008
I really liked this book so i read the sequel, Tweleve and I hope to read he one after that, Thirteen soon!
35 reviews
October 4, 2017
This was a good read. I miss Amanda and Winnie as besties. Dinah is a very good and nice friend.
Profile Image for Regina.
166 reviews
June 15, 2018
Another fabulous and entertaining book in this series. It takes you right back to 5th grade! Girls in upper elementary school are sure to love the Winnie series.
Profile Image for Madeline Worcester.
234 reviews2 followers
July 19, 2023
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about growing up and enduring the changes life has to offer. I made the decision in February to leave the classroom, and everything since then has been a whirlwind of anxiety and insanity. Even though I have no regrets about leaving my last job and profession due to immense toxicity, I am also at a stage of life presently where I ruminate daily on what my life could have been.

All of these conversations and contemplations have made me think considerably about this book from my youth. I read Eleven for the first time when I was nearly ten myself. It's a bit of a jolt to the system to consider that this series has been part of my life for over thirteen years. I have read my physical copy and listened to the audiobook so many times that I have chunks of the narrative memorized. With the book being on the lower MG spectrum, though, it's been many years since I flipped through these pages - until today. I had a massive headache and needed an audiobook to lay down with for a few hours. I had actually been considering rereading this throughout the past few weeks, but seeing that the classic audiobook was, in fact, on Hoopla pushed me over the edge.

Eleven tells the story of how much a person's life can change in a year. In hindsight, it makes a lot of sense that I would later become obsessed with RENT given the subject at hand. Our protagonist, Winnie Perry, starts off with what she deems a successful friend group and a fairly happy life. But with her transition into sixth grade, a new girl moves to town who wreaks havoc on every relationship currently existing in the school, including the one between Winnie and her best friend. Winnie has to discover how to cope with growing apart from the people you love, especially when it's not your fault and you can't necessarily get closure.

Of my childhood books, this is one of the ones that has held up the absolute best. I have been burned by rereads so many times before, but this deserves all the praise of my childhood. It is raw and reflective and just beautiful in a pure way. It was also very creepily closer to my own experiences in the fourth/fifth grade era; I went through a lot of similar bullying to both Winnie and Dinah for being too emotive, too naive, too physically large, etc. I was tricked and turned away and left out. And this book doesn't try to shy away from that, but it still has a pretty happy ending.

I think the only complaint I can think of is that there were one or two comments that felt a little bit too juvenile or too early 2000s. The pacing could also be a tiny bit weird at times due to the structure of the book. But that's all I have to pick apart. I love this book, and I lowkey want to reread the rest of the series now as well.
2 reviews
December 20, 2016
This book gives a good message that growing up is hard. I liked the first book in this series more than this one: there were mulitple things and characters I disliked. Winnie's sister had her worst moments, and I hated whom she chose as her boyfriend. I was disgusted by the behavior of Alex Plotkin, and I hated how selfish Toby and his brother had been when Winnie was trying to ask Toby out. Most of all, I hated that sweet Amanda was being forced to hang out with demanding Gail, leaving poor Winnie with immature Dinah Devine. At the end, I knew Amanda wanted to talk to Winnie, but Gail clutched her shoulder and made her walk the other way. And yet Winnie made an effort to be considered the friend of a child who she was forced to invite to her birthday? For these reasons I give the book one star.
Profile Image for Laura P.
31 reviews6 followers
November 23, 2017
This book is great! I unfortunately read this without realizing it was a series and missed the book before it, "10." But it was still easy to understand the protagonist's (Winnie Perry, funny enough) personality and her friendships and how she acts. I definitely recommend this book, because the characters are funny and relatable! The plot is exciting in it's own way, and makes an almost ordinary girl like Winnie extend her life into a story I can't stop reading! (Also, FYI, this books just so happens to be exactly 201 pages, making it a perfect candidate for earning 2 books for the 40 book challenge, without reading literally one more page than you absolutely have to. This isn't why I chose the book of course- but just saying.)
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