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Friday, January 20, 2012

Book Review: Sophomore Switch

Sophomore Switch
Author: Abby McDonald
Publish Date: March 2009
Publisher: Candlewick Press

Reeling from the aftershocks of "The Hot-Tub Incident," American party girl Tasha jumps at the chance to spend a semester at tweedy Oxford University - banking on the fact that the tabloid stories about her won't have made their way across the Pond. But Tasha starts to question her judgment when she finds herself Uggs-deep into feminist theory and unpopular with the university's intellectual student body.

Meanwhile, studious control freak Emily, reeling from a romantic incident of her own, decides she'd like a change, too. Disappointing her snooty British family, who would rather see her at Harvard than UC Santa Barbara, Emily throws herself into film classes - not to mention bikinis and beer pong. Her English accent gets her plenty of attention, but not all of it is welcome - especially the frustrating confrontations with a male classmate.

Thrust into lives as opposite from their own as possible, Tasha and Emily's only hope may lie in each other. Will their combined intelligence be enough to get them through their sophomore year switch? (Barnes and Noble)

Since my college education comes to me virtually I don’t have the experience of on campus living as is the general standard. Thus curious as to how different could two campuses really be I picked up the book. 

Oxford, oh Oxford, I really hope it’s not as stuffy as Tasha makes it out to be. Granted for a party child anything that has a well enforced set of rules would probably be stuffy to her. The description for UC Santa Barbara is a great deal opposite and I pray that it’s not so lax in its rules as described but then, this is America, it could quite well be. But I digress. Both campuses are well defined polar opposites that are also reflected well in our characters.

I like Em. Even being the control fanatic that she is, I like her spine and authority. Em doesn’t hesitate to speak her mind and put hard facts behind it. At the same time she has enough of imagination and heart to be able to run with the film major crowd without failing too terribly. She was floundering on her own, to be sure but it was nowhere as disastrous as Tasha. 

Tasha is everything Em is not. She’s flamboyant, comfortable with men and sex and generally a pretty good stereo type of a party girl. What is admirable about her, is that the classes at Oxford are way over her head but instead of buckling she tries desperately to keep up the grade. I think given enough time she might have righted herself as well but when things look bleak it’s always good to turn to the inside source. 

The story flips back and forth between Tasha and Em’s points of view.  It’s pretty fast paced but not so fast gaps are created and pertinent information gets lost in the void. It’s a fun story and there are several laugh out loud moments and several serious WTF moments. It’s a great easy read. 

My rating:

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