Saturday, December 26, 2020

A Love Story About Family

I missed The Swap by Megan Shull when it published six years ago, even though it was a big enough noise to inspire a Disney Channel movie. It's an entertaining read and about something a little different.

Ellie and Jack, both middle school athletes with single parents, barely know each other, though Ellie certainly knows about Jack who is quite highly regarded. They end up swapping bodies and having to spend the weekend with each other's friends and families and dealing with each other's problems. The book switches from one point of view to the other, which I'm not usually of, but it works well here. Yes, humorous situations all over the place. 

Some things I particularly like about this book:

  • First and foremost, though there's lots of talk of preteen romance in this story, Ellie and Jack's love interests are familial. It's the other character's family that is their love object. 
  • This isn't a "walk-a-mile-in-my-shoes-and-learn-something" story. Instead, Ellie and Jack each find something in the other person's life that they need. In fact, they're each able to do something for the other while they're stuck in the wrong bodies. 
  • I loved Jack's siblings, though I found their sports culture somewhat over the top. However, I've never done team sports and know nothing about that world, so I'm willing to accept them.
  • I also liked that Jack, his hockey-playing brothers, and his team mates are all portrayed in positive ways. There are no stereotypical evil kid athletes here.
  • While I also found the mean girl over the top, I liked that so many of the other kids, while not willing to try to take her down, certainly knew what she was. It reminded me of something a neighbor girl told me about the popular kids at our local high school. "The popular kids are people nobody really likes."

So this was a good find, a good end-of-the-year read.

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