Monday, April 20, 2015

The Swap by Megan Shull

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Publication date: 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 382
My rating: 2.5 stars
Ages: 12+

Ellie is just starting seventh grade, but it seems that everyone is changing, including her previous best friend. Jack is going into eighth grade as one of the most popular boys in school, but gets into a fight the first day. In the nurse's office with his dad's reaction hanging over Jack's head, and Ellie without any friends, they say that it would be better if they could just switch lives. Then suddenly, they have! For two days they must navigate all the intricacies of the other person's life, not knowing how they will get back into their own bodies.

It was an interesting idea and the book certainly had it's moments, but I found myself from the start wishing that Ellie and Jack were older, perhaps just starting high school. As it was, I felt that they acted older than 12 and 13--especially Jack.

And, maybe I'm just really out of the loop when it comes to how teens talk, but the dialogue felt a little stilted to me. It was filled with all kinds of slang and wording that broke up the dialogue. In my (albeit limited) interaction with teens, it is completely possible to understand them and speak with them in a natural way. Jack and his friends especially were difficult to understand, and their conversational topics seemed forced.

The end seemed to be rushed, with no reason for them to so quickly have changed back. It was also a little predictable. What I can say is that the awkwardness of having a girl and boy change bodies was mostly smoothed over. With the age of the main characters, I'd say that it is marketed towards 12 year olds, which is what I said, but the length of the book and some of the situations I think would make it better for someone a little older.

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