Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Book Review :: The Changeover by Margaret Mahy

The Changeover - Margaret Mahy


I dived into the unknown with The Changeover.  I missed this one completely during my teen years.  Come to think of it, I don't know that I read a ton of kiwi authors back then.  I'm glad I finally got to this one.  Mahy's writing prowess is unrivalled.  I mean, duh.  Just a couple of quick points:
  • I wasn't hooked straight away, but when I was hooked, I was well hooked.  
  • The supernatural side of things is delivered well.  Spooky and intriguing.
  • Discourse around consent is on-point.  Mahy was ahead of her time, but fortunately the rest of the world is catching up now.  Still, there are a couple of instances that made me #redflag the romantic interest.  I think the love story is rescued by the strength of the heroine, who doesn't put up with any crap.  Seriously, Laura is suuuuuuch a rad character!  I still felt bothered by some of Sorensen's words and actions.  I found myself liking the character and then being like, 'wait, what?'  If Laura were even just a smidgen less forthright, things could've gone in a different direction.
  • Laura is a complete badass.  And funny.  There are some good one-liners throughout the book.  
  • Props to Kate too, for being a hardworking solo mum who gives herself the grace to put her own needs first, sometimes.  
  • Towards the end certain scenes had me sobbing.  It's harder to read some stuff once you've had kids, right?  I was feeling Kate's feels.
  • Again on Kate - the dynamic between mother and daughter is super interesting.  There are times when they switch roles a little, with Laura shouldering extra doses of responsibility.  So not a bad thing.  I really enjoyed reading the exchanges between the two.  Kate treats Laura respectfully - as an almost-adult.  She doesn't shy away from home truths and yet is witty and loving.  Both characters felt authentic and relatable.
  • Mahy's writing is just so clever.  The language is rich and beautiful and pleasurable to read.
  • The dialogue definitely sets you in a different time-frame.  They use very proper language and it feels very 'kiwi'.  It will be interesting to see how they approach this in the film adaptation.
  • There's a film adaptation, coming this month, yuss!!  And it looks SO GOOD!!
I'm so glad this story got a bit of repub love!  Mahy is still the queen of NZ children's lit, and I'm glad I got the push to visit her YA fic.  

Review copy kindly provided by Hachette NZ

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