Friday, March 11, 2011

Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald [Book Inspection] [Giveaway]

Plot Sketch:  Natasha needs to escape the fall out from "The Hot Tub Incident," and Emily needs to experience America and get away after breaking up with jerkwad Sebastian, so these two enter a college exchange program.  Tasha gets sent to Emily's PoliSci curriculum in Oxfrod and Emily to Tasha's Film studies at UCSB.  The plot follows a path of self-discovery for both of the girls, with half of the book remarking on the differences in culture between California and Britain, and of course there are cute boys, and the self-discovery takes place in a feminist context, but does not force feminism by any means.

Verdict:  Here's the deal.  I already read and reviewed Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots.  Abby wrote Sophomore Switch first.  You can tell.  The writing in BBaaSPoHB is superior to that in SS.  The fault I find with Sophomore Switch is that I felt like all of the characters filled archetypal roles and were not true characters.  Convenience seemed to dictate plot rather than character development, and that felt fake and very predictable.  BUT, I liked the tone of the book, which I'll add is not a feminist tone, but rather one of girl power, which you guys know I'm totally pro-.  (If you want to discuss feminism vs. girl power, just ask in the comments)  I loved that the girls were put into contexts where they were allowed to grow and discover things outside of their paradigm and that they were open-minded enough in the end to let their experiences have a true effect in their lives.  Would I recommend this book to an older teen?  Absolutely.  To an adult?  Maybe not.  I think that adults will look at this and see the unreality in the characters and their decisions more than the message those decisions portray because we have a more realistic view on the world and have *usually* had vastly more experience and know who we are already.  I think that this book could benefit teens who are struggling to find out who they are, with a couple of parental advisories: Emily decides that she's just going to become a lip whore to loosen up her uptightness with boys, and both me and my book group thought that form of self-discovery was both dangerous and impractical and didn't think that it should be encouraged in a positive light.  We felt it was forced with Emily and completely out of character for her, which was sort of the point of the book, but was also *insert your synonym for unrealistic here*.  Also, these are sophomores in college, not high school, so the hot tub incident does involve nudity, but is not explicitly written.

Location: London and Santa Barbara
Favorite Character: This was tough.  I didn't really like either of the main characters.  But I did like Will.  UNTIL he pulled a 180.  So, I think my favorite character was Ryan.  He seemed to be the most consistent of the bunch.
Would Change: The first half of the book needed more plot/action and less dissection of the differences between America and the UK.
Favorite Line:  "Totes."  Thanks Abby, I started talking like Tasha for like a week straight. :op
Good for Monster? This is YA chick lit I'm afraid.  Not gonna be a good fit for my Monster, or yours more than likely.
People Who Will Like This: Britney Spears, Bella Swan, people who own a pair of pink leopard pajamas,  college advisors
People Who Won't Like This: Elmer Fudd, the uber-outdoorsy girl, ultra-feminists, most boys
Chapters:  They're not numbered, and I ALWAYS count wrong. The length was good.  And the narrator switched chapter to chapter from Tasha to Emily, so that was an interesting and probably difficult thing.  I liked the sections where the two characters interacted, a lot.
Author's Website:
Acquire It:   Amazon    Book Depository    Changing Hands

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Candlewick
Publish Date: March 10, 2009
ISBN-10: 0763639362

The It's Not What You Read It's Where You Read It Challenge: (no. it's not too late to join.)
Twist Your House / Place of Commerce / Move / Nature / You Don't Call Home / Probably Shouldn't / In Pairs
I finished the Place of Commerce category while reading Sophomore Switch because I read it for 2½ hours at the Vampires.  Yeah, I call the Blood Draw Lab a bunch of vampires 'cause they suck out your blood.  But thanks to an incredibly, outrageously long wait, I finished up a category.  Though I'm sure it could do double duty, I can only count it as one.  So.  I'm done with three categories.  How are you coming along?

OH!  And I have an extra copy of the hardcover.  Fill out this form to enter to win it.  Open worldwide.  Ends 4.24.11, 11:59PM Arizona time.  


Aleetha said...

Thank you for the chance to win

I have never seen this book but in your blog.
I wonder how the story inside

Karla Vollkopf said...

Thanks for making it international, the story sounds lovely! It's even more interesting because I am now a college student(and am getting tired of YA with high-schoolers) and can understand the characters better. :)

Anonymous said...

The story sound lovely! Kind-of reminds me of The Holiday, the film with Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz etc?? I am a new follower! Thanks for making it international! :)

Nancye said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

Here's my Tweet Link!/NancyeDavis/status/62336855479296000

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Maria Barrios said...
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