Blast from the past, Sarah Meyer
Have you ever wanted to be a witch? No? Neither has Laura, but if she wants to save her little brother Jacko she must changeover and become a witch. Jacko has been marked by an enemy, and with each day that passes he grows weaker as his youth is sucked out of him, and if Laura changes over she has a chance to save him. Margaret Mahy writes about Laura’s fictional journey in her supernatural romance book The Changeover. This book has recently been made into a Kiwi film and is currently in cinemas.
Laura is a 14 year old girl living in New Zealand. Which I have to say I can definitely relate to. She is a strong female character who takes care of her family, consisting of her younger brother, Jacko, and her mother, Kate. Laura’s life in the book is the typical 14-year-old New Zealander’s. She goes to school, does her homework, and eats fish and chips for dinner (sometimes). One of the best parts of the novel was when Laura talks to a character called Sorenson.
Sorenson, Sorry for short, is a strange seventeen-year-old who doesn’t really understand common social etiquette. He is often staring at Laura with his silver eyes from across the school playground. This freaks Laura out a little bit, but when she talks to her mother about it she just gets brushed off. Laura has always thought that something was off about him and not until later in the book do you find out what really makes him different.
I have to say it is very easy to get lost in this book. Maybe I was just reading too late at night, but I found that my eyes were reading the words, but not taking anything in. I just got lost in all the description. I respect Mahy as an author, but this book wasn’t for me. The plot was strong, the characters were even better, but there was just too much irrelevant information to process.
I thought that this book was a little bit odd in some parts, with year groups at school being referred to as forms (Laura was in 4th form), people having to develop photos, and there wasn’t too much technology. At first I put it down to just a strange part of the book. But when I went to the front of the book to see the date it was published, I realised that it was written in 1984. While I was imagining The Changeover set in the current day, I didn’t realise that it was set over 33 years ago. Taking that into consideration, it is a pretty versatile book if it is still able to be relevant 33 years after it was first published.
If I had to rate this book out of ten I would give it a 5.5. Even though this book isn’t one of my favourites by a long shot, I would still recommend everyone read it. While the descriptions can be a bit overdone, the rest of the book is an amazing story. Any aspiring writer could definitely benefit from the way that Mahy describes and presents things in the novel. I can’t say that I have read any book like this one, because it’s not generally a book that I would choose for myself.
Sarah Meyer is 14 years old, from Newlands School, Wellington.