Good girl, honour-roll lifer, Berkeley-bound, mildly neurotic, high strung twelfth grader Andrea Birch just wants a bit of privacy. Oh, and perhaps a bit more of a social life. Or just a life in general. But when your mom and dad are foster parents who can’t turn away a child, trying to carve out a little space for yourself while tending to the needs of everyone from twin toddlers to angst-ridden adolescents is nearly impossible. And then Joules Adams, daughter of internationally famous rock star Nigel Adams, jumps into Andrea’s car, setting off an improbable car chase and ending in detention.
For Andrea, it’s the last straw. Why is it that Joules, breaker of all rules, living a life of luxury, gets off so easy? Why does she have everything, including a cool famous dad, and Andrea has nothing, not even her parents’ full attention?
In a modern, hip take on the classic Freaky Friday story, Tish Cohen delivers a fresh look at wishing your life was someone else’s.
So I’ve read a couple of Tish’s adult books and loved them, so it wasn’t a HUGE leap to think that’d I’d love her YA offerings, too. And I did. While Switch did have a message to it (the grass is always greener on the other side kinda deal) it was also a light, fun and intelligent read, something I’ve come to expect from Tish.
Who doesn’t, ever once in a while, wish that they had someone else’s life? You know, a celebrity, favorite author, popular girl or guy that you know. Someone who just seems to have a better, easier, cooler life than yours. When I was in junior school it was Debbie Gibson. (and did I ever just age myself). In high school I thought that the popular girls had it soooo easy. I had that weird combination of hate and admiration for them. Just like Andrea had for Joules. And that’s why I think that pretty much anyone who reads Switch will be able to identify with Andrea. That whole “I hate you but I wanna be you” thing that I think most teens (and let’s face it, most adults) deal with from time to time.
The only thing that didn’t ring 100% true to me was that Andrea does SO MUCH complaining about her life and all the responsibility she has that I thought when she switched with Joules she’d go hog wild crazy, even if just for a bit. But she doesn’t. She worries about her foster brothers and sisters and even worries about Joules. While she does learn an important lesson (her life doesn’t suck near as much as she thought) it would have been fun to see her cut loose for a while.
The book wraps up kinda neat and tidy, but it totally fit with the rest of the story so it didn’t seem forced or like an after school special or anything. There was also a nice, little twist at the end that made me go “Awwwww”, but not in a bad way.
Switch made me smile. A lot. And you know what? That’s NEVER a bad thing.