Book Review: Changers (Drew) by T. Cooper & Allison Glock

changers 1 Changers Book One: Drew by T. Cooper and Allison Glock

Published by Akashic Books on January 13, 2014

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction, Contemporary

Pages: 288 – paperback

Format Read: PDF

Rating: 3 stars

Source: Hachette UK

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Blurb:

Changers Book One: Drew opens on the eve of Ethan Miller’s freshman year of high school in a brand-new town. He’s finally sporting a haircut he doesn’t hate, has grown two inches since middle school, and can’t wait to try out for the soccer team. At last, everything is looking up in life.

Until the next morning. When Ethan awakens as a girl.

Ethan is a Changer, a little-known, ancient race of humans who live out each of their four years of high school as a different person. After graduation, Changers choose which version of themselves they will be forever–and no, they cannot go back to who they were before the changes began.

Ethan must now live as Drew Bohner–a petite blonde with an unfortunate last name–and navigate the treacherous waters of freshman year while also following the rules: Never tell anyone what you are. Never disobey the Changers Council. And never, ever fall in love with another Changer. Oh, and Drew also has to battle a creepy underground syndicate called “Abiders” (as well as the sadistic school queen bee, Chloe). And she can’t even confide in her best friend Audrey, who can never know the real her, without risking both of their lives.

Fans of the books of John Green, the Joss Whedonverse–and empathy between humans–will find much to love in this first of a four-part series that tracks the journey of an average suburban boy who becomes an incredible young woman . . . who becomes a reluctant hero . . . who becomes the person she was meant to be.

Because, while changing the world can kinda suck, it sure beats never knowing who you really are.


Review:

Many thanks to Hachette for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my views.

I went into Changers with some presumptions about the book; I thought I knew what to expect, what to anticipate. However, the way the unique concept of this book was presented worked pretty well to battle these preconceptions – though some still remained. Generally speaking, it’s safe to say that I enjoyed this, but my only problem was that some things didn’t quite work out with this story. The concept behind the plot was an attention-grabber, for sure, and the characters were interesting enough to read about, but the way the world was set up seemed jumbled up and vague to me. The book left me very curious and I do hope some of my questions will be answered in the second book.

One thing that’s undeniable about this book is that it’s very captivating; it’ll keep you turning pages until the very end. What makes it such a page-turner is the humor. At the beginning, I thought it was too forced and did not find it funny at all, but as the story progressed and Ethan’s Drew’s character developed and grew, the wit did too. The writing style of the book also helped with this, it was conversational and served to portray the protagonist’s personality really well.

There are many notions that the book tried to tackle, namely gender fluidity and accepting who you are. I’m no expert, but the former wasn’t exactly portrayed accurately. The book tried – which is the keyword here – to push the boundaries between genders but all it ended up doing was showing us a 2D model of the characters. It was unrealistic how fast Drew forgot what it was like to be a boy and jumped into the role of being a girl. I mean, what happened to these 14 years of being a boy? How did he start to view the world in terms of being a girl in just a few months? To say the least, it was unrealistic and very disconcerting. It also didn’t help that the protagonist wasn’t very relatable, so I wasn’t able to sympathize very much. Everything just sort of fell flat. Despite all that, there is something I really liked – the fluid sexuality. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be a love triangle or what, but Drew falls in love with a Changer boy who used to be a girl AND there also seem to be feelings between Drew and her girl best friend. I totally loved the dynamic of that and am disappointed to see the characters go. Maybe they’ll reappear in the second installment? It’s definitely enough to keep me reading.

I mentioned previously that I wasn’t a fan of the way the world was set up. Nothing was explained properly and when an effort was made to explain things, it was just a confusing jumble of information dumping and vague statements. For example, what’s the role of Changers? “The Changer race is the last hope for the human race on the whole to reverse the moral devolution that has overcome it. Changers believe more Changers equals more empathy on planet Earth. And that only through empathy will the human race survive.” Say what? The whole story is riddled with vague, elusive statements like that. The world was never fleshed out properly, either, leading to a ton of questions about it that haven’t been answered.

If you’re looking for an interesting read with no depth to it, then this is your book. It had potential, but failed to fulfill it. This had more plot holes than the ozone layer and a world that wasn’t fleshed out properly. Despite all that, the book featured moral qualms such as accepting yourself and fluid sexuality, handling them pretty well, while failing to appropriately address the part about gender. It was a page-turner, alright, with a humorous protagonist and a chatty, conversational writing style. Many questions were left unanswered, but I still do have hope for the second installment.

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Rating: 3 fish

3 fish

 

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