Parent Swap

Terence Blacker, Author . FSG $16 (233p) ISBN 978-0-374-35752-8

In Blacker's Boy 2 Girl , an American lad living in Britain temporarily swaps sexes by dressing like a lass. In this novel, which requires a broader suspension of disbelief, a guy has the chance to swap parents. Thirteen-year-old Jay Daniel Bellingham (who refers to himself as Danny Bell) is intrigued by a flyer he finds in his backpack, which advertises ParentSwap, a company that offers "an entirely new set of parents" to disgruntled teens. Unhappy with his own dysfunctional parents (a mother who has moved out and a down-and-out father suffering from agoraphobia), Danny decides to contact the agency, not knowing that ParentSwap is really a front for a Candid Camera –type TV show. Shortly after Danny agrees to be placed with a too-normal-to-be-believed family, he figures out that his experience is being filmed. He decides to return home, but is whisked off to another richer, higher profile set of parents instead. There, in the lap of luxury, Danny decides that, having been used as a "guinea pig" in a reality TV show, he will plot his revenge. The author includes some priceless moments (as when Danny's first pair of surrogate parents impersonate his real parents at a parent conference), but after the hero recognizes he is being duped, suspense quickly diminishes. The climax (in which Danny meets and discusses family relationships with the Queen of England) unfortunately seems as forced as the resolution. Ages 12-up. (Aug)

Reviewed on: 08/07/2006
Release date: 08/01/2006
Analog Audio Cassette - 6 pages - 978-1-4056-5150-9
Compact Disc - 6 pages - 978-1-4056-5532-3
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