Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Switched at Birthday by Natalie Standiford
231 p. Scholastic Press, February 25, 2014. 9780545346504. (Review from arc obtained at ALAMW)
Lavender and Scarlet go to the same school and share the same birth date, but that is where the similarities end. Scarlet, rich, blond and popular cruises at the top of the social food chain. Lavender, short, clumsy and a bit hairy is the prey. Her various nicknames include Lav, as in bathroom, and Yeti. She seems impervious to these daily assaults. Indeed, she's quite snarky. Unfortunately, she's also brutally snarky to her few friends.
Both Lavender and Scarlet intend on trying out for the lead in the school musical. Scarlet has the looks for the lead, but not the vocal ability. Lavender has an amazing singing voice. The music teacher directing the production gives the auditioning students a verse to recite to help them win the part. Scarlet and Lavender each recite the verse as they blow out their birthday candles. The next morning, they wake up in each other's bodies.
I will admit that I picked this up off the table at the Scholastic booth at ALAMW purely for its cover and seeming middle grade appeal. When I read the synopsis, I wasn't expecting all that much as these "freaky Friday" type plots generally don't hold much appeal for me. I was utterly sucked in and won over. The girls are complex, flawed characters. The dialogue and social situations were realistically drawn. There was a message, lightly delivered with humor. There were endearing secondary characters and the ending was just right.
I have a cadre of sixth grade girls who have been passing around my aged copy of Freaky Friday this year. I can't wait to suggest this one to them.