Seventh-grader Ellie O’Brien and eighth-grader Jack Malloy are given a surprising gift when they are suddenly able to literally view life through each other’s eyes.
Ellie feels lost and afraid following her parents’ divorce and a brutal dumping by her best friend. Jack’s life, dominated by his father’s regimented control and his overpowering brothers, feels claustrophobic. Switching minds gives each kid the opportunity to experience life on the other side while gaining perspective on his or her own. Navigating the world of fist-bumping and older brothers helps Ellie develop the mental toughness to fight her own battles. In Ellie’s life, Jack finds the parental acceptance and love that has been missing from his own. Alternating chapters offer each a chance to tell his or her story. The internal lives of both boy and girl come across as authentic and heartwarming. Unfortunately, when Jack and Ellie interact, it is often unclear who is who, which muddies what could be some of the most engaging passages. Occasionally clunky dialogue and a too-perfect ending are the only bumps in this otherwise engaging switch-up.
Readers curious about how the other half lives will thrill at this view from the far side of the fence. (Fiction. 10-14)