Book Review: The Switch

The Switch by Anthony Horowitz
The Switch
by Anthony Horowitz 

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Tad is a spoiled rich kid, living in a massive mansion, with servants at his beck and call. Bob is a poor kid, living in a dirty caravan, working in a carnival, and surviving on the streets with thieves and pickpockets. When the two switch places in a magical swap, Tad must learn to survive on the streets, and Bob discovers that being rich isn’t always as good as it sounds.

This story was so much more than I thought it was going to be! I thought it would be your regular “Freaky Friday” body-swap thing with the pathetic rich kid having to learn how to live without his precious wealth. But wow! I was completely surprised at the turn the plot took, and the intricacies of the story. Even the smallest details took on a major significance as the truth behind Tad’s wealthy family is exposed.
I also loved Tad’s character development as he sees the world in a whole new way. He is truly changed from the inside out, and I was delighted with the complexity of his personality.

The writing is really vivid and pulled me into the story right away. I liked how quickly the action moved, and how the writing kept me in suspense, eager to read more.

One thing confused me… the story is set in 1980s London, but the characters talk about “dollars”, “cents”, and “bucks”. However, at other times they use distinctly British words like “Mummy” and “fish and chips”. Why would British characters refer to money as dollars? Was there ever a time when Britain used a dollar-based currency? That can’t be right! And using the word “bucks” to refer to money is completely American. I don’t know of any other country that says “bucks”.
I can only conclude that the publishers changed the text when it was published in the United States, assuming that American children are too stupid to know what pounds and shillings are, but smart enough to know what fish and chips are. [Insert eye roll here.] I hate that kind of thing! Just give me the normal text of the book, and stop trying to adapt it to a different culture with different slang. How are people ever going to learn about other cultures and other currencies if publishers change the text all the time?

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