Saturday, April 26, 2014

Switched at Birthday, by Natalie Standiford

Lavender is a gawky nerd, comfortable in her skin, but still a magnet for abuse from her classmates.  She's the complete opposite of Scarlett -- popular and graceful, but cautiously walking a social high wire.  They share a longing for change and also a birthday.  And on the evening of their birthday, they each make a wish.

In the morning, they awake to find that they have somehow swapped bodies!  Now, Lavender (who has never before cared about appearances) must learn how to navigate Scarlett's complex social world.  Scarlett, meanwhile, who has built her life around being popular, finds herself an outcast and is stuck in the everyday humiliations of Lavender's life.

The initial process of adjustment provides by entertainment and education. But once they move beyond the process of working through the contrasts in their lives, the two girls realize that they can both benefit from the new perspective that their differences bring.  While they search for a way to reverse the process and return to their own bodies, they still manage to help the other make changes to improve eachother's lives.

It's cute and predictable, with an entirely too happy and sweet ending, but satisfying life lessons are learned and tweens will enjoy the story.  Some gentle and unobtrusive life lessons about dealing with bullies will appeal to parents and teachers.  So, the overall result is useful and entertaining, but not particularly unique.

[Disclosure:  I received a free copy of the book from the publisher for consideration and this review, and will be donating the copy to my local public library after I finish with it.  No other compensation was received.]

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