I really enjoyed this middle grade novel. I thought the premise--which was explained in the prologue--to be fun. Here's how the book begins, "Once there was a boy who lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His father was a baker and his mother was a candlemaker. They owned the Cake and Candle Company of Kalamazoo. The cakes and candles that the boy's family made were perfectly ordinary in every way but one: When, on your birthday, you lit a Kalamazoo candle on a Kalamazoo cake and made a wish, a tiny spark of magic was ignited." The boy in the prologue is, the reader supposes, the theatre teacher at the school our two heroines attend. (There is definitely something a bit magical about him.)
Lavender and Scarlet share a birthday in October. The two hardly share anything else. Scarlet supposedly lives a perfect life: she's beautiful, she's stylish, others look up to her, she has plenty of friends. Lavender sees Scarlet across the hall and thinks she lacks nothing. Lavender represents the stereotypical imperfect life: she's unattractive, she's clumsy, she's awkward through and through. If Scarlet was someone you'd seek after, Lavender, well, she's someone you'd want to avoid just in case her unpopularity was contagious. Lavender is clueless to Scarlet's hardships; Scarlet is clueless to Lavender's blessings. But. All this changes with a little magic.
When Scarlet and Lavender switch bodies, well, things may never be the same again. The two discover that they both have things to be thankful for and they both have things they struggle with.
Switched at Birthday is a coming-of-age novel with a fantasy twist. I especially enjoyed the theatre scenes, both girls audition for the Music Man: one lands the role of her dreams, the other a spot on the chorus.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews