Publisher: Scholastic Press
How I Got It: Received Advanced Copy from Scholastic
(Feb. 25th 2014)
About This Book:
What if your birthday wish turned you into someone else?
Lavender and Scarlet are nothing alike. Scarlet is tall, pretty, and popular — the star of the soccer team and the queen of the school. Lavender is . . . well, none of these things. Her friends aren’t considered cool, her hair is considered less than uncool, and her performance at the recent talent show is something nobody will ever forget — even though she really, really wants it to be forgotten.
There’s only one thing Lavender and Scarlet know for sure they have in common: the same birthday.
They’ve never had parties together. They’ve never swapped presents. But this year, because of two wishes that turned all too true, they are about to swap something much bigger than presents. Because the morning after their birthdays, Lavender is going to wake up in Scarlet’s body . . . and Scarlet is going to make up in Lavender’s. But in order to change back, they’re going to have to figure out how to be someone completely opposite of who they ordinarily are . . .
I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I received this book. It is thin: is it a chapter book? The blurb sounds like a older novel: is it a tween book? As it turns out, this book is a middle grade novel and a good one at that with a good plot and interesting characters.
I really liked the two protagonists: Scarlett and Lavender. They are relatable to kids who are both popular or not. In most middle grade “school” stories, the reader can only see the protagonist’s school from one point of view. The main character’s social status–whether he or she is a popular kid, a reject or in the grey zone–affects the way that their school is represented to the reader. I liked being able to see Scarlet and Lavender’s school from the point of view of a Queen Bee and from the POV of an outcast.
This novel does involve switching bodies and it is written in 2 POVs. It was sometimes difficult to differentiate between Scarlet and Lavender’s voices but I liked how the font of Lavender’s chapter was different from the font that Scarlet’s chapter is written in. Still, it was occasionally confusing when Lavender was in Scarlet’s body and when people spoke to her, they addressed Lavender as Scarlet. “Huh?” I though. Then I remembered that the 2 girls had switched bodies and lives magically.
Although this is a categorized as a fantasy novel, it *gasp* does not involve dragons, castles or spell casting. That didn’t matter to me because I was never under the impression that Switched At Birthday would contain any of those things. This is a sweet middle grade novel with a fantasy thread and I enjoyed reading it.
This book is very similar to the novel “11 Birthdays” (Wendy Mass) in terms of both writing style and the idea of switching bodies. Therefore, I recommend this book to fans of not just 11 Birthdays, but also of Wendy Mass novels in general. This is an excellent book and I rate it 4 stars/5 stars.
About The Author:
Natalie Standiford, author of “How to Say Goodbye in Robot,” “Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters,” and the popular “Space Dog” and “Dating Game” series, has written picture books, nonfiction, chapter books, teen novels, and even horror novels for young adults. Standiford also plays bass in the rock band Tiger Beat, with fellow YA authors Libba Bray, Daniel Ehrenhaft, and Barnabas Miller.
Find out more at her web site, http://www.nataliestandiford.com.