Switched by Amanda Hocking
publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
release date: January 3rd, 2012
paperback, 293 pages
intended audience: Young adult
series: Trylle Trilogy, book #1
source: received from LibraryThing Early Reviewers
description: 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.
Review: Amanda Hocking has taken the age-old legends of changelings (trolls that steal babies and replace them with one of their own) and given it a creative spin and a bit of history. Her story surrounds the Trylle, a society of trolls who have changed their name due to the negative association the human world has with troll stories for hundreds of years. While I didn't completely love this book, it was interesting---I definitely had no problem reading all the way to the end, but I just didn't feel completely drawn into the story. I admit my expectations were pretty high, I've heard about this series for so long, and thought to have sold over million copies as a self-pub and then to picked up and republished by St. Martins, it must really be amazing. It was good, I enjoyed it, but I think the hype is a bit disproportionate. (I will say, though, that the new covers are absolutely gorgeous!)
What really kept me at bay here were the main characters. Wendy has had a rough history. On her sixth birthday, her mother tried to stab her, accusing her of killing her real baby and replacing him. Turns out she wasn't completely wrong. Wendy is also a bit freaked out by her unexplained knack for mind control. She kind of uses all this as an excuse to shut down. She's been moved from school to school, stays pretty antisocial, and sleeps in class. Then the new kid in school comes along. Finn is creepy and stalkerish, watches her incessantly and she catches him crouched outside her bedroom window---and yet, after just a few encounters (one where he is incredibly rude to her), she leaves town with him. A little further in, and she's pretty much in love with him and can't be without him. And while Finn had that chivalrous, protective thing working, several times it crossed over to just overbearing, jealous, and pushy. It just wasn't a love story I could get behind.
I did feel for Wendy on the mother issues. To have such a horrible experience behind her and then to discover that her "real" mother is just as cold and cruel. Harsh. Anyone would be torn down by that. On top of that, being told you are new to this strange world, but 'hey, it's going to be yours to rule whether you like it or not, and you should know how to behave like royalty even though you just got here'. Again, harsh---I sympathized with her. While it wasn't shown here, I do have hopes for the next two books to see some character growth from both Wendy and Elora, her trylle mother.
I did love a few of the characters. Rhys, for example, was fun and kind, immediately a good friend to Wendy. I loved how laid-back he was despite his place in the whole Trylle world. Definitely hope to see more of him. Matt, Wendy's brother---my heart just broke for him. He is trying so hard to protect her and be a good brother (yes, sometimes to the point of being overbearing, too) but he gets so hurt. I also get the feeling that he knows something more than he lets on. I guess we'll see. I also really liked Willa, who at times seemed to be just what Wendy needed. And Tove---I'll be really interested to see where this character goes. He's the only one with a bit of angry passion about what the Trylle society has become.
So, yes, even though my feelings were only luke warm about this first installment, I do plan to continue the series to see where it goes. It's definitely an interesting premise and an imaginative twist on changeling legends.
One more note: "Foxy"? Every attractive guy was described as "foxy". It kind of made me cringe.
Visit Amanda Hocking's site here.
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