Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: Switch by Tish Cohen

Click here for the book description.

Available from Chapter Indigo, Amazon, Book Depository (note: Switch is available in Canada now, but releases elsewhere in August 2011)

Likened to the movie Freaky Friday, Switch has two girls switching lives based on a wish (with an imaginative conduit, I might add). Having seen both versions of the movie, I had a good idea what I was in for.

Immediately, I felt that Tish Cohen seemed on the money, giving the main character, Andrea, the right type of "voice" for a teenage girl. The vernacular was not too old for someone in high school, nor was it too young. What irked me though was her (Andrea's) constant wallowing in self pity. But this actually turned out to be an important factor in why I ended up really liking the book.

I think we can all appreciate the desire to live life in someone else's shoes; we've probably made a passing wish ourselves at some point in our lives. Of course, fiction always comes around to prove that the grass is indeed greener on the other side. It was the real life situations that initially made Andrea make her wish, but it's the other girl, Joules', reality that really opens her eyes. Joules was also the biggest mystery for me; what were her motivations, how would her part of the story end?

Again, it all comes down Cohen's portrayal of the girls. Andrea is on that precipice between the still selfish teen years and becoming an independent adult. In the end, the character growth in both girls was what really struck a chord for me. But there are also these moments, these scenes, where you think finally Joules gets it, only to lose it again. You can easily imagine throwing your arms out in the rain and spinning. I was completely frustrated each time Joules reversed any progress, and really the same could be said about Andrea, though this was just a further part of the growing process.

There are other moments, I'll call them background moments, that Andrea recalls a former foster child that are heart wrenching. I think Cohen does a fantastic job of blending the elements of real teen situations and real life heartaches, all the while maintaining a fairly light tone, that made this book a total page turner for me. Though, initially irritated by the main character's neediness, I ended up loving what she stood for and where her live was headed.


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