Switched at Birthday

 
4.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
1527 0
Switched_cover_final-330.jpg
Age Range
8+
Release Date
February 25, 2014
ISBN
9780545346504
Buy This Book
      
What if your birthday wish turned you into someone else? Lavender and Scarlet are nothing alike. Scarlet is tall, pretty, and popular -- the star of the soccer team and the queen of the school. Lavender is . . . well, none of these things. Her friends aren't considered cool, her hair is considered less than uncool, and her performance at the recent talent show is something nobody will ever forget -- even though she really, really wants it to be forgotten. There's only one thing Lavender and Scarlet know for sure they have in common: the same birthday. They've never had parties together. They've never swapped presents. But this year, because of two wishes that turned all too true, they are about to swap something much bigger than presents. Because the morning after their birthdays, Lavender is going to wake up in Scarlet's body . . . and Scarlet is going to wake up in Lavender's. But in order to change back, they're going to have to figure out how to be someone completely opposite of who they ordinarily are...

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Life is What You Make of It
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
'Switched at Birthday' by Natalie Standiford is a cute fantasy story about the power of empathy. Main characters Lavender and Scarlet are polar opposites. While Lavender tries very hard to stay on the sidelines and live life according to no one's rules but her own, Scarlet is Little Miss Popular, navigating the treacherous hallways of middle school with unabashed ease. The only thing the two girls have in common is the day they were born. Even though they are aware of each other's existence, they both are more than content in their daily lives and don't wish to see anything change. However, when they find themselves each thinking, even if just for a moment, what life would be like in someone else's shoes, they find themselves transported, unwittingly and unwillingly, into each other's bodies. Even though they look different, their minds are still their own, and their confusion upon learning of the unintentional switch sparks a host of dilemmas that the girls have to find ways to conquer together.

Aside from the back and forth conversations between the girls that were sometimes hard to follow in terms of who was talking, since their voices tended to mesh together at times, the lessons learned as a result of the body switch are quite telling. There is certainly the most common idea of learning to literally walk in someone else's shoes and empathize with her on a level that one would never even think possible. Yet, there is also the concept of finding out that what you thought you knew about someone is really quite different, like how the way someone projects their life at school can be very different than the life she actually has at home.

The story is somewhat cliche, but sweet, and it provides a nice look into how it is worth getting to know someone at more than face value to determine how one really might feel about him or her. Friends aren't always what they're cracked up to be, enemies might not be quite so bad, and acquaintances might turn out to be your strongest allies. 'Switched at Birthday' does a fine job in capturing how terrifying and exciting middle school can be, no matter what end of the popularity spectrum one falls on, and prepares readers for the muddied waters that go along with pretending to be someone you're not, even if you don't have any control over what's happening in your life at any given moment.
Good Points
'Switched at Birthday' does a fine job in capturing how terrifying and exciting middle school can be, no matter what end of the popularity spectrum one falls on, and prepares readers for the muddied waters that go along with pretending to be someone you're not, even if you don't have any control over what's happening in your life at any given moment.
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Another Book that Inspires Empathy
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
I had the privilege of reading and reviewing The Secret Tree a couple of years ago, and so I was excited to dig into Switched at Birthday, which turned out to be another great book by Natalie Standiford. In it, we get the classic combination of the popular, pretty girl juxtaposed with the nerdy, not-very-pretty girl. Scarlet and Lavender both turn 13 on the same day, and they inadvertently wish to be another person, and based off the title of the book I'm sure you can guess what happens next.

At times, this book can be difficult to follow, since each chapter switches between the two girls, who are inhabiting one another's body. However, I found it to be much less so than expected, and the most important aspect of this story, which is learning how to see beyond the exterior of someone's life and appreciating what is inside, is not lost at all. Lavender learns to appreciate things that us girls who are not "the pretty ones" tend to make fun of, like having great hygiene and dressing well (things I definitely used to shrug off but now want to teach my girls--with care, of course), and Scarlet learns even deeper things; namely, that being popular should not come at the sacrifice of others' character or reputation. Just as The Secret Tree used the power of a great story to show children and tweens to look for the bigger picture, and in doing so, teaches them how to empathize with others and show compassion, Switched at Birthday does the same, yet in a rather hilarious manner. This is a great book I am going to share with the tweens in my life!
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