Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Trading Faces

Trading Faces (Book #1)
Julia DeVillers and Jennifer Roy
Aladdin, 2008
$16.99, Hardcover
May 8th, 2012

Genre: Realistic, School Story
Age: 9+
Description: Seventh grade is going to be different this year for twins Emma (the smart one) and Payton (the popular one) Mills as they move from there small all girls’ school to the local public middle school. Payton quickly finds a clique of popular girls to hang out with thanks to her Summer Slave clothes—clothes she got for doing clean up duties for her bunkmate at sleepaway camp over the summer. Emma, on the other hand, finds that her teachers keep getting the wrong first impression of her and that Jazmine James, the super smart girl at the school Emma had seen at previous competitions before, isn’t going to be her best friend forever. When Payton accidentally embarrasses herself in front of her new friends and Ox, the cute football player, she’s cringing in fear at what they’ll say to her. To help her sister out, Emma suggests that they change clothes and swap places for the rest of the afternoon. Payton can just keep quiet in Emma’s classes while Emma does damage control during Payton’s gym class. What they don’t expect is getting swept away on other duties—Emma to the mall for a shopping trip and Payton to an after school club with cute nerd, Nick. Soon the twins are finding other reasons for why they need to keep switching—Emma, as an honors student gets to take part in VOGS, a new videocast for the school and Payton (while Emma) volunteered to be an anchor when Emma is massively camera shy and Emma (while Payton) has attracted the attention of Ox who turns out to be more than a dumb jock as he really wants to work with animals and is pretty smart himself. When their plan is exposed to everyone one air by the evil Jazmine they are forced to come to terms with what their switching places might have done not only to themselves but to the people around them.
Opinion: Each chapter is told from the point of view of one of the twins (and when they are switched it is clearly started that the chapter is, for example, “Emma (as Payton)” and so forth). At first it was a little annoying because the first two chapters tell the same exact events from each girl’s point of view and since these events occur when they are both together it really is a double chapter. Luckily, once the girls realize they have no classes together and are split up the chapters start incorporating a lot of new information in. The writing is breezy and very much like a teen girl would talk. Both twins have their own positive characteristics and weaknesses. What seems like a normal twins switching places story does provide a bit of a new, fresh twist—the fact that Emma starts it off because she’s trying to help her sister and not because they just want to do it for fun. The second book, Take Two, continues right where this story left off and features the girls and their punishments for their stunt. I also discovered there are two more books after that as well (Times Squared and Double Feature). Neither of my libraries have the third and fourth book. I might just have to purchase them. Highly recommended series for girls liking realistic, humorous stories.

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