Balzer + Bray
June 14, 2016
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Rose has changed. She still lives in the same neighborhood with her stepmother and goes to the same high school with the same group of kids, but when she woke up today, something was just a little different than it was before. The dogs who live upstairs are no longer a terror. Her hair and her clothes all feel brand-new. She wants to throw a party—this from a girl who hardly ever spoke to her classmates before. There is no more sadness in her life; she is bursting with happiness.
But something still feels wrong to Rose. Because, until very recently, Rose was an entirely different person—a person who is still there inside her, just beneath the thinnest layer of skin.
Something about Change Places with Me had the feeling of a fairy tale or a fable. No, there weren't the usual, typical elements: no talking animals, no princesses or fairy godmothers, not even any witches. (Maybe it was closer to a parable then?) But the storytelling itself, the sort of simple, but still direct and also thoughtful way brought them to mind.
I like that the book is told in the order it is. We being with Rose, happy, kind of odd, Rose. It's clear to readers even before it is noticed by Rose that something is not quite right. From the way others react to her, even how she herself is acting, it's not quite normal. Seemingly ignoring that fact, though, really works for the narrative. We get to now Rose, we find out ways she's different, who notices, what, if anything, it seems to mean to her.
Then we get a few answers.
How the book ended did feel predictable, but I still liked it. Something about the way the story's told, Rose and what we (and she) learn about her and the near future setting but with some timeless emotions, questions, feelings works.
This is a short book, it is different and has a unique voice and you may not like (or dislike, either) Rose, but it is absolutely something that kept me reading. (The book description is necessarily quite vague so I want to avoid giving anything away.)
(Oh, one scene does have spoilers for Rebecca - both the book and movie versions)
received for review, via Edelweiss, from publisher