Book Reviews

[review] Switched – Amanda Hocking

Release Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 293
Format: Paperback
Source: ARC received from publisher

When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn’t until eleven years later that Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed – a world both beautiful and frightening, and Wendy’s not sure she wants to be a part of it.

Discovery: I was given an ARC of this book to review and I originally thought that it was about a faery changeling, which would have been awesome.

+    Interesting premise. Kudos to Hocking–she wrote a shocking prologue that would draw even the most reluctant reader into the story. I liked that she didn’t shy away from the violence and that Wendy’s confusion was palpable as she related what had happened on her sixth birthday. The cover copy might not have hooked me, but I definitely wanted to know more about Wendy and why her mother would risk going to jail to kill her own daughter.

–     Flat characters. With the way Switched opened, I was expecting a fast-paced plot and vibrant, witty characters. Unfortunately, I got neither. Wendy talked the talk, sure, but I never really got a sense of her personality or saw anything unique in her perspective. For someone who is touted as “special” and “one of a kind,” she’s very dull and indecisive. She wants to know what’s going on, but she doesn’t actually try to find out. She is content to let Finn or Rhys or Elora tell her what to do, and in the few instances that she isn’t content, she just lets it all go anyway. I don’t see any reason to cheer for her, because it doesn’t seem like she knows what she really wants.

My main reaction to the other characters was “…so?” Again, the way that they’re written makes them seem hollow. Elora makes proclamations and condescending remarks, but they have no real sting behind them. The reader is told, not shown, that Finn “loves” Wendy. How? How did they fall in love? What real bonding experiences have they had? The dialogue seems forced, all smoke and mirrors.

–     Uncompelling plot. I’ve noticed a trend in YA paranormals where the boy has to steal the girl away to keep her and/or her family safe. This trope doesn’t convince me of anything, much less that they belong together. And let’s be realistic, characters in YA are teenagers. They are legally restricted from doing a lot of things, and if they go missing, authorities are informed. That’s why I can’t suspend my disbelief over the events in Switched. Wendy’s mother tries to kill her and is sent to a hospital–that’s all well and good. But Wendy runs away from home and her older brother and aunt–who claim to love her dearly–don’t tear up the city trying to find her? They’re okay with a sixteen-year-old girl’s declaration that she “has to leave?” It’s baffling.

I also didn’t find much of the Trylle world to be interesting. Frankly, it seems the label “troll” was just tacked on after writers had run the gamut of paranormal creatures. Other than the Trylle’s fascination with jewels, I found nothing to suggest that they were really trolls. It takes more than a paranormal creature to make a book worthy of the term “urban fantasy,” which I believe Switched might have fallen under had it been written well.

The final say: As an intended successor to the tiers of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, Switched falls far from the mark with lackluster characters and a shallow plot.

Rating: Poor.

You can visit Amanda Hocking at her website and follow her on Twitter @amanda_hocking.

You can check out Switched on Goodreads and order it over on The Book Depository.


3 replies »

  1. It’s a gorgeous cover! And sounds really good… too bad you didn’t like it. Great review – you saved me from reading what sounds like a boring book.

  2. I completely understand what you’re saying. She’s hanging this amazing promise in front of us and she, at the very least, doesn’t seem to follow through.
    I also miss the specialness of Wendy. As a human I get that she’s odd and off, but I also didn’t get much of her fitting in when she got together with the other Trylls. She still feels like an outsider, whereas it sort of should have been a kind of coming home. She goes from one hating mom to the next. Great improvement (sarcasm). I missed the Finn-Wendy connection as well. I thought it more logical that she got together with Rhys or Tove(I’m definitely feeling more for Tove).
    But Amanda does manage to write it in a compelling way. I finished the book in 2 goes, one late at night and the other the next morning. It’s easy to read.
    I at least give it a 6, points for storytelling.
    I’m hoping that she’s going to follow through on her promise in books 2 and 3.
    Are you going to read those? If not I could perhaps tell you if they’ve improved or not.

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