Author: Amanda Hocking
Release Date: July 5, 2010
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 finds out her mother might've been telling the truth. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - and it's one she's not sure if she wants to be a part of.
A $0.99 e-book with an intriguing if not earth-shattering premise and many positive reviews, Switched seemed like the perfect traveling book while I was in Europe last week. It opens with promise: a prologue involving a murderous mother and her troubled but resilient daughter. Unfortunately, the main story quickly degenerates into cliché high school, paranormal boy-meets-girl scenes and the narration of an insipid heroine.
Wendy. Gah. Her sole objective in the book, apart from protecting her human family, appears to be getting Finn to admit and act on his love for her. She is, by her own admission, lacking in ambition and purpose, which could have been a relatable flaw, but instead resulted in a rather boring protagonist. And despite her apparent beauty, which is commented on by multiple characters, Wendy refuses to see that there is anything special about herself. Yawn. She even has some cool powers, but instead of developing them, she spends her time pining for too-perfect-to-be-real Finn and bemoaning her fate. And Finn, the dedicated, handsome, uber-talented love interest who pushes Wendy away for her own good, well…he’s okay, but simply too wonderful in every way to be a truly sympathetic character.
Certain moments of Wendy and Finn’s interactions are endearing, but these are few and far between. For the most part, I found their connection – near-instantaneous and rife with forced-seeming conflict – eye roll-inducing. There are hints of a love triangle but little uncertainty since Wendy appears to have definitive feelings for one boy. The dialogue is mostly well-done, but why, why, did different characters use the word ‘foxy’ to describe a hot guy? Is this some modern teen slang I’m unaware of? Anyway, not a big deal, but the descriptor struck me as a bit silly while I was reading.
On the other hand, I really liked some of the side characters, many of whom are quirky and cute. The paranormal aspects also highlighted a species I haven’t seen in any other urban fantasy book, and their societal norms were fairly well-developed and fun. I’m a sucker for books with elemental and psychic powers, so I enjoyed the magic-focused parts of the story.
Switched is riddled with editing mistakes (slightly understandable considering this is an indie-published book) that kept throwing me out of the story. ‘Lightening’ rather than ‘lightning’ (both yellow and fiery, yes, but one is a destructive bolt that shoots down from the sky and the other…isn’t) is one example that I found particularly annoying-amusing. The ending left me thinking, Really? That’s it? and I doubt I’ll be reading the sequel.
Switched is worth a read if, like me, you're going on vacation and need an inexpensive, easy-to-read paranormal e-book to divert your attention during long flights. Otherwise, I'd skip it.