When I started to read this book, I was nervous because I wanted to like it…but also nervous that I’d like it too much and would have to wait for the sequels. I did like it and I can’t wait for the sequels. Like “The Wonder Years” television show, the ongoing commentary from Ethan/Drew has many references to older and newer pop culture which relates to readers of all ages. This is also where a lot of the humour in the book comes from e.g. When right-handed Ethan becomes left-handed (or “Goofy footed”) Drew and can no longer ride his/her skateboard. Additionally, the gender-bending in this book is handled in a delicate but often funny matter as the once-boy gets used to being a girl.
This book/series carries an idea that there are individuals who change into fundamentally different people each year of high school – but the inside person remains aware so he or she can eventually choose what person he or she wants to be when they graduate from school. It’s a difficult topic that could be very confusing, but Cooper and Glock-Cooper work through this problem with surprising clarity in the minefield that is high school life.
High school survival is a riddle in a mystery wrapped in an enigma – and this book continues to add to that confusion in a coherent fashion. Ethan Miller turns into Drew Bohner overnight and his/her parents tell her that she is a “Changer” and so is her father and grandmother. Drew’s mom is a “Static” – a person who doesn’t change. From the start of the book I was concerned for Drew and ticked off at the parents. This combination of emotions made me an ideal reader for this unfolding high school storyline. Added to the high school portion of this tale is a whole bureaucracy of the Changer’s Council – a governmental body Ethan learns about directly after changing into Drew. There is a cult-like vibe to this organization that has regimented rules and their own bible that Drew is required to read. There is also a device imbedded into her neck so she can record her thoughts about being a changer. These facts alone drew me into the story and compelled me to keep reading.
I believe that this book was made for students as well as anyone who struggled growing up. In other words, anyone can read and enjoy this book.
Reviewed by Melissa Knive