Sophomore Switch

Abby McDonald, Author . Candlewick $17.99 (297p) ISBN 978-0-7636-3936-5

First-time novelist McDonald skewers college life in this comic novel that has an uptight Oxford student switching places with a University of California party girl. Both are eager to flee their home campuses: Tasha is trying to dodge publicity surrounding her hot-tub antics with a TV star (aka “Tubgate”), and Emily has just been dumped (“As much as I—and my liberated, post-third-wave feminist self—hate to admit it.... This is all because of Sebastian”). A global exchange program seems the perfect escape, but creates more problems than it solves. While Emily has trouble loosening up in Santa Barbara (she had intended to spend the semester at Harvard), Tasha struggles to convince her peers and professor that she has a functional brain. McDonald plays with stereotypical images of Americans and Brits, painting both in broad strokes, but also challenges standard definitions of feminism. Though the protagonists' traumas, romantic interests and growing self-awareness are perhaps too neatly paralleled, the characters' strong personalities and the book's easy sense of humor will keep readers entertained. Ages 14–up. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/16/2009
Release date: 03/01/2009
Genre: Children's
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4418-8974-4
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Paperback - 297 pages - 978-0-7636-4774-2
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