A classic story that’s far from average, Sasha Maclean
December 8, 2021
Do you love books with vampires, spine-tingling horror, and breathtaking romances? Do you love books that seem to be average but end up completely blowing your socks off? Well, then look no further than The Changeover.
The author of The Changeover is one of New Zealand’s greatest authors, famous for her many picture books, novels and short stories. There’s even a playground in Christchurch named after her. That’s right: the one, the only, Margaret Mahy. Of course, Margaret Mahy’s fame gave me very high expectations for The Changeover. It also raised the very high bar which is my standard for books.
To be honest, I was a little skeptical about The Changeover when it first arrived. Written and set in the 1980s New Zealand, it seemed a bit too old to be enjoyable. From the blurb on the back, The Changeover looked like an average book. But all of this was proven wrong once I started reading.
‘A clammy hand pressed Laura down onto her knees beside Jacko’s bed. It was the hand of terror, nothing less.’
If you love a spine-tingling horror novel, dripping with suspense, that gives you the chills, The Changeover is for you. With deliciously twisted suspense and vividly haunting storytelling like Krystal Sutherland’s House of Hollow, and characters who would do anything to save their families, The Changeover is an underrated New Zealand masterpiece.
A theme in The Changeover that resonated with me is deep love for family. The main character, Laura, has a very tight-knit family made up of her, her mother, and her little brother Jacko. Laura looks after Jacko every day and is fiercely protective of him. When Jacko is in danger, Laura will do anything to save him, even using supernatural powers to defeat evil.
The main reason The Changeover stays in your head for so long after you finish it is the rich, enthralling writing style that Margaret Mahy has so amazingly mastered.
‘… once in this enchanting shop, all Laura wanted was to get out again for it was full of the stale, sweet smell, laced with peppermint, that had assailed her in the morning – the smell of something very wrong and unable to conceal its wrongness.’
I believe Mahy’s extraordinary level of skillful writing is what elevates The Changeover from a great novel to an astounding one.
I think one reason why this book is so amazing is because, although it was written and set in the 1980s, it is still relatable to teenagers today, with themes such as romance and love for your family. Any book that lasts the test of time is guaranteed to become a classic.
I would recommend this book for anyone aged thirteen and up. There is some romance and quite a bit of horror, so it might not be suitable for younger readers. However, teenagers and maybe even adults are guaranteed to love The Changeover. It’s a whimsical novel that will take you on a heart-pounding adventure of a lifetime.
- Sasha Maclean lives in New Plymouth.