Frannie has horrifically condescending parents who decide that they need to spend three days on a vacation by themselves without Frannie or her older brother and sister... during Christmas. Frannie is disappointed, and feels that 7th grade is not too old to want to celebrate the holiday with her family. She knows that her older sister, Carmen, is just about as negative as her mother, and her older brother Teddy is too busy with his own life to pay attention to her. Sure enough, the two throw a huge party and are upset with Frannie when she shows her face. She wishes that she had a different life... and the next morning she wakes up as another person! As Dakota, she gets to spend Christmas in a cozy cabin with an adorable little sister, delicious food, and horses! At the end of the day, though, she is transported into another body, this time the pop singing sensation Jasmine, whose mother is (if it's possible) even worse than Frannie's own. At least as Jasmine, she can spend Christmas being adored by fans as well as chill assistant Dani. Her next stop is on a houseboat traveling around the world with a cuddly father and younger brother Max. It's an idyllic existence, especially when cute Liam is around. When she turns into Graciella Fabiani, she is plunged into a family tragedy, and realizes that her own life doesn't have quite the level of sadness in it that some people's lives do. This is also true when she returns to her own neighborhood as a girl she knows, Josie. Teddy and Carmen let the party gets out of hand, and hire Josie's mother to help them clean the house. Josie and her mother are living in a decrepit hotel and trying to survive, so they are glad of the work. Josie is sick, and Carmen is actually nice to her, telling her to take a nice long shower, giving her clothes, and making sure she has food. Teddy even gives her all of the housekeeping money, which is enough for her and her mother to move into an apartment. Frannie returns to her life knowing that it's not perfect, but it is the one she has to live.
Frannie is a bit of a whiny character at first, mainly because her mother is incredibly unsupportive. While her mother doesn't change, Frannie does, and this will hopefully make her able to survive some very unpleasant high school years. The other families are mostly diverse and interesting, and middle school readers will enjoy viewing the lives of a variety of characters briefly. There is a lot of information in Graciella's story about living through a funeral that will be of particular interest.
Readers of Margolis' If I Were You, Rodgers' Freaky Friday, and Standiford's Switched at Birthday will enjoy this fantastical tale of putting yourself in someone else's shoes... or cowboy boots!