Switched by Amanda Hocking
2010; CreateSpace - Soon to be St. Martin's Press
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 finds out her mother might've been telling the truth. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - and it's one she's not sure if she wants to be a part of. (courtesy of Goodreads)
Amanda Hocking is who every self-published author aspires to be - incredibly successful and soon to be published. I downloaded the first book for the Trylle Trilogy after reading about her publishing deal in the New York Times.
Switched was a delightful book. Wendy has never fit in. Life began badly with her mother trying to kill her on her sixth birthday. Since then the only people she trusts are her older brother and aunt. Enter Finn, a mysterious boy who steals her away from her family and introduces her to her "true family." Wendy is a changeling - a troll changeling, not a fairy as most stories use changelings. What's more, she's a princess. Wendy now has to deal with a less than motherly mother, an entire new world and culture, and people out to kill her. She's definitely thrown into the troll deep end.
I've read a lot of mixed reviews about this book. If you're looking to be critical, you can find lots of things to take issue with. There are areas where the plot isn't well developed or where things are skipped over altogether. Some of the characters are irritating. But if you don't think too much while you're reading, it's thoroughly enjoyable. It is definitely better written and plotted than most (but not all) self-published novels I've read. Switched was easy to read and the prose flowed smoothly most of the time. I was consistently interested in the book and loved learning about the troll world.
Wendy is an interesting girl. I really admired her gumption. She's spent her entire life with her hackles up. That doesn't change when she is introduced to the troll world. She refuses to abide by tradition and stands up to her elders. She's loyal to her brother and aunt and sticks up for the downtrodden. A courageous, take-charge girl.
Finn is also a great guy. I like how he goes back and forth between following his duty as a tracker/guard and his interest in Wendy. He's a good guide for Wendy. You can obviously tells that he respects her even if he disagrees. And he's the strong, silent type that is always so intriguing. I liked a lot of the other troll characters. Queen Elora, Wendy's biological mother, seems awful, but there are hints of depth. I'm interested to see how she develops. Tove and Rhys also seem like sweet, intriguing guys.
Switched is a fun book. It may not veer too far from standard YA paranormal plot arcs, but there's a reason those themes are so successful. I enjoyed it from start to end and look forward to reading more.
Rating: 3.5 / 5