Drew (Changers Series #1) [NOOK Book]


"Changers should appeal to a broad demographic. Teenagers, after all, are the world’s leading experts on trying on, and then promptly discarding, new identities."
--New York Times Book Review

"'Selfie' backlash has begun: The Unselfie project wants to help people quit clogging social media with pictures of...
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Drew (Changers Series #1)

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"Changers should appeal to a broad demographic. Teenagers, after all, are the world’s leading experts on trying on, and then promptly discarding, new identities."
--New York Times Book Review

"'Selfie' backlash has begun: The Unselfie project wants to help people quit clogging social media with pictures of themselves and start capturing the intriguing world around them."
--O, The Oprah Magazine, on the We Are Changers Unselfie project

"This is more than just a "message" book about how we all need to be more understanding of each other. The imaginative premise is wrapped around a moving story about gender, identity, friendship, bravery, rebellion vs. conformity, and thinking outside the box."
--School Library Journal

"A thought-provoking exploration of identity, gender, and sexuality…an excellent read for any teens questioning their sense of self."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Changers Book One: Drew opens on the eve of Ethan Miller's freshman year of high school in a brand-new town. He's finally sporting a haircut he doesn’t hate, has grown two inches since middle school, and can't wait to try out for the soccer team. At last, everything is looking up in life.

Until the next morning. When Ethan awakens as a girl.

Ethan is a Changer, a little-known, ancient race of humans who live out each of their four years of high school as a different person. After graduation, Changers choose which version of themselves they will be forever--and no, they cannot go back to who they were before the changes began.

Ethan must now live as Drew Bohner--a petite blonde with an unfortunate last name--and navigate the treacherous waters of freshman year while also following the rules: Never tell anyone what you are. Never disobey the Changers Council. And never, ever fall in love with another Changer. Oh, and Drew also has to battle a creepy underground syndicate called “Abiders” (as well as the sadistic school queen bee, Chloe). And she can't even confide in her best friend Audrey, who can never know the real her, without risking both of their lives.

Fans of the books of John Green, the Joss Whedonverse--and empathy between humans--will find much to love in this first of a four-part series that tracks the journey of an average suburban boy who becomes an incredible young woman...who becomes a reluctant hero...who becomes the person she was meant to be.

Because, while changing the world can kinda suck, it sure beats never knowing who you really are.
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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Benoit Denizet-Lewis
The authors generally succeed excellently in giving voice to their likable teenage narrator…the book accurately depicts a world—high school—that can feel like the Twilight Zone even without a secret race of body-changing kids hanging out in the cafeteria…Changers should appeal to a broad demographic. Teenagers, after all, are the world's leading experts on trying on, and then promptly discarding, new identities.
Publishers Weekly
★ 12/09/2013
The husband-and-wife team of Cooper (Real Man Adventures) and Glock-Cooper (Beauty Before Comfort) makes its YA debut with a thought-provoking exploration of identity, gender, and sexuality, first in a four-book series. Ethan Miller’s freshman year starts with a major surprise when he wakes up as a girl, and is promptly informed by his parents that he’s a Changer, part of a race that spends four years living in different bodies before settling on a permanent one. As “Drew Bohner,” Ethan must navigate high school from a female perspective, for good and bad. Drew makes new friends and enemies, joins the cheerleading squad, and learns more about the Changers and their cultlike methodology, but as Drew tries to adapt to her new life, she’s always aware that more changes are yet to come, which could spell doom for any chances at friendship or romance. While numerous questions remain to be answered, and the premise is a little convoluted, Drew’s story unfolds with sympathy and complexity. An excellent read for any teens questioning their sense of self or gender. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

"Love it. Love it, love it, love it. Seriously. Read this."
--The Best Books Ever

"This is a transcendent book and I absolutely recommend it."
--Heaven to Earth Reviews

"This is one of the most creative concepts I have heard about, so I knew I would have to read it right away! I was worried that the execution wouldn’t be as good as the concept, but it was amazing…I cannot wait to read the rest of the books in this series."
--Pub Writes

"4 huge stars. Maybe even 4.5. I really enjoyed this book, and can't wait to read the rest of the series!"
--The Overstuffed Bookcase

"I couldn't put it down. I even read it in the dark. Probably not the best idea since my vision is already bad. But hey! good books deserve sacrifices."
--Paper Boat Sails

"Very cool!"
--Twinja Book Reviews

"Changers Book One really stole my heart."

"This first book in the Changers series explores Ethan/Drew’s first steps along the perilous journey to become his/her true self and discover how he’s meant to change the world."
--Books YA Love

"I was thrilled to discover a book that deals with issues of identity and belonging with so much heart and, more importantly, humor . . . Changers Book One: Drew changed the way I think."
--Clay Aiken, singer/UNICEF ambassador

One of the Top 10 2014 Books I am Excited to Read, Plays Well With Books (blog)

"Change. It’s the one universal thing that everyone goes through, especially in high school. Changers Book One: Drew ratchets that up a notch and kicks open the door, with both humor and panache. Big questions and equally big highs (laughs) and lows (cries). And you thought high school was awkward before!"
--Kimberly Pauley, author of Sucks to Be Me

More praise for T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper:

"Allison Glock is a writer of uncommon generosity."
--New York Times Book Review

"Cooper's storytelling skills are phenomenal."
--Time Out New York

"Glock's writing is smart and swift. A wise and effortless storyteller."

"T Cooper is a prodigious talent."
--Darin Strauss, author of Chang & Eng

"Allison Glock has the kind of writing talent that packs worlds into sentences."
--Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes

"T Cooper has an affinity for creative liberties, even in anything-goes 21st-century fiction, liberties of a stunning sort . . ."
--Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Allison Glock makes it looks easy."
--Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
The move from New York City to Nashville, just as Ethan was entering high school, would be a tough one for any teenager. Ethan understood that the move was important to his father so he tried to take it in stride. After all, he had plenty of time to make new friends and a lot of the people in the freshman class would be new to each other. Change was hard but change could be good, too. What Ethan was not prepared for was the person who looked back at him from the mirror on that first day of school. Teenagers often feel like they have grown up overnight but how often do they change genders overnight. On that first day of school, Ethan sees a beautiful, blond young woman staring back at him and discovers his face is not the only thing that has changed. Ethan is a changer, having born to a Changer and a Static. Changers live four different lives over the course of their four years in high school. At the completion of high school, they are allowed to choose which life they would like to continue for the remainder of their lives. Their purpose is to do good in the world and to make a difference. In order to protect the Changer community, they can never contact the people they have left behind in their old life and never tell the people in their new life about their past. Ethan/Drew must learn to live as a young woman and this life will bring her many challenges, not the least of which is the typical angst of teenagers. The reader will follow Drew through challenges that are physical as well as mental, will see her mature as a person and experience a new sense of purpose. This is book one in the “Changers” series, a series of four books, taking these characters through the four years of high school. The lessons learned are of friendship, respect for parents and authorities, trusting your own instincts and tolerance of differences. This would be an excellent read for writing and composition classes, leading to some great discussion and a sort of Choose Your Own adventure series. Reviewer: Joyce Rice; Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Ethan wakes up on his first day of high school to discover that he is no longer the same person he was when he went to sleep—overnight he was transformed into a beautiful girl. His parents inform him that his father was a Changer and that this is the first of four transformations. He will experience each year of high school in a new body, and at the end of his senior year, he will get to choose which body he will live in for the rest of his life. The premise is similar to David Levithan's Every Day (Knopf, 2012), except in this universe the character experiences each identity for an entire year. In the body of a girl named Drew, Ethan gets to feel the highs and lows of being a girl, from receiving the kindness of strangers to having her first menstrual cycle during cheerleading tryouts. Luckily, this is more than just a "message" book about how we all need to be more understanding of each other. The imaginative premise is wrapped around a moving story about gender, identity, friendship, bravery, rebellion vs. conformity, and thinking outside the box. By the end of this book, readers will be invested in this character and will want to know what Ethan's future holds and how he will physically and emotionally transform over the next installments.—Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
On the morning of the first day of high school, a boy named Ethan wakes up as a girl named Drew. Turns out Drew is a Changer, one of "an ancient race of humans" who wake up as a different person on the first day of each year of high school (how ancient Changers transformed before the existence of high schools is one of many questions left oddly unaddressed). Similarly, readers learn that Changers will "help make the world a better place," that Changers see non-Changers' (aka Statics') futures when they kiss, and that all Changers wear an emblem branded on their hips--but they are never told why these things are true nor what's wrong with the world and how Changers will help. Drew's narrative voice is engaging, often sarcastic and sometimes poignant. Her outsider observations about how it feels to be a girl and how girls are treated are genuine, keenly observed and sometimes funny ("Also, girls aren't allowed to fart. Ever"). Two love interests develop for Drew, a Changer boy and a Static girl, and their genders are, refreshingly, a nonissue, though Drew's interest in a Changer violates another seemingly arbitrary Changer rule against Changer-Changer liaisons. A fresh and charmingly narrated look at teens and gender, but the worldbuilding is distractingly bizarre. (Urban fantasy. 12-18)
The Barnes & Noble Review

Changers, by husband-and-wife team T Cooper and Allison Glock Cooper, turns fluid gender identity into a kind of superpower at the center of their fictional, perhaps even utopic fantasy series for young adults. In a literary nod to Virginia Woolf's classic 1929 novel, Orlando, in which an English poet swashbuckles through several centuries, writing verse and taking lovers while living as first a man, then a woman, the teens in Changers wake up on the first day of every year of high school as a person of a different gender. At the end of the four years, each Changer chooses a single body in which to live out the rest of their lives. Thus on the first day of high school, freshman Ethan wakes up to discover he is no longer a skinny-jeans-wearing skateboarder but that an admittedly sort of hot blonde named Drew has taken his place in his Slayer T-shirt.

"Just think of all the insight you'll gain!" exclaims his/her mother. Drew's parents are in on it; Dad, like Drew/Ethan, is also a Changer; his mother is a Static, a person who does not change.

But as Chase, one of Drew's two love interests, puts it, "With great power comes great controlling rules." First among these is the (very heteronormative sounding) ban on Changer-Changer coupling. Just as in the real world, this ban is justified as a reproduction/racial purity thing — Changer-Changer couplings cause the entire family to revert to Statics and Changers are in the business of "producing more Changers, not fewer." (This rule knocks Chase, a fellow Changer and a boy, out as romantic contender.)

Changers have to come up with good excuses — they call them "feints, a.k.a. lies" — to explain their annual disappearances that "range from the exotic (sent to European boarding school) to the tragic (drug overdose)." (This means that Audrey, Drew's second love interest, a Static, and a girl, will not know where she has gone at the end of the year and imagine herself abandoned.)

Drew's body may be all-girl, but she has a bit of a pansexual thing going on herself, mostly seen as no big deal. When the mean girl Chloe — the archetypal head cheerleader — slags Drew and Audrey by calling them "Ellen and Portia," they snap back, "Wait, is homophobia even a thing anymore?" And their super cool English teacher brings them together casting them as Romeo and Juliet in "gender-bending Shakespeare," reminding the class that in Shakespeare's time, all the roles were all played by boys.

To Drew's surprise, her girl self is pretty darn good at girl things, even the "crazy unicorn-prancing thing" practiced by Chloe and her minions and she finds herself at the tip-top of the high school social pyramid — a varsity cheerleader, i.e., "queen of the world. (A really shitty, awful, confusing, heartbreaking world.)" Having conquered the jocks, she also attains hipster girl cool, as the drummer in a "Neo-emo-ska" band.

But cool as she is Drew, can't fully escape the Tennessee gender hell, where daddy dances co-exist with twerking and pink birthday guns. Like her real-life counterparts in "Beyond Magenta," she gains insight by seeing gender from both sides: She is well aware that becoming a girl means losing her male privilege, when, for example, she no longer called on in algebra class. She endures a particularly harrowing menstrual accident, gets first-hand experience of the power of the virgin/whore dichotomy, and reflects often on the different feeling of being in a girl's body. Most serious of all, a violent confrontation at a party results in Drew understanding the sexual vulnerability of girls and women, while another Changer, now in a boy's body, takes revenge for an assault he endured while living as a girl.

Gender is only one of many categories — or if one prefers, "stereotypes" — the authors encourage their readers to transcend. In a line reminiscent of The Breakfast Club, the novel's tagline reads: "The Cheerleader, the nerd, the jock, the freak — what if you had to be all four?" The authors' activism continues online with the "We Are Changers" website, labeled an "empathy project," in which teens are encouraged to think beyond other binaries, including immigrant/native, black/white, fat/skinny and so on. That exercise in imagining the lives of others may be meant to alleviate suffering, but it's also a reminder that Changers are already with us: we call them writers.

Amy Benfer has worked as an editor and staff writer at Salon, Legal Affairs, and Paper magazine. Her reviews and features on books have appeared in Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, The Believer, Kirkus Reviews, and The New York Times Book Review.

Reviewer: Amy Benfer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781617752070
  • Publisher: Akashic Books
  • Publication date: 1/13/2014
  • Series: Changers Series, #1
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,073,409
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

T Cooper's most recent book is Real Man Adventures (McSweeney's), which Vanity Fair called "brave and hilarious." He is also the author of three novels including the best-selling Lipshitz Six, Or Two Angry Blondes (Dutton) and The Beaufort Diaries (Melville House). The latter, Cooper produced and adapted into an animated short of the same name, starring David Duchovny and appearing at a variety of international film festivals (Tribeca, SXSW and many others). Cooper's work has also appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Believer, O, The Oprah Magazine, One Story, Poets&Writers, and elsewhere.

Allison Glock-Cooper is the author of the New York Times notable book Beauty Before Comfort, which Kirkus called, "A memoir as elemental as its subject: pulsing, fetching, leaving a strong afterglow," and for which she received a Whiting Award in 2004. Glock has been a journalist for 22 years, and her work has been published in the New York Times, GQ, Rolling Stone, Esquire, the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, O, The Oprah Magazine, Elle, Marie Claire, and many others. She is currently a senior staff writer for ESPN and a contributing editor for the magazine Garden&Gun. She has won a GLAAD award and a FOLIO EDDIE and a min award for journalism. Her first poem was recently published in the New Yorker.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 23, 2014

    *I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads, thi

    *I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads, this ARC was provided by the Authors for an honest review. 

    This was such a moving story! A story that was nearly impossible to put down. When I read the blurb, I’m not going to lie I was a little nervous, plus I’m a cover junkie and this one didn’t give much away, but boy howdy was I wrong. It was a captivating and thoughtful book that brought new perspective to even my eyes, and I’m a girl. The story took my breath away! I was high on the emotional roller coast and amazing world the author’s portrayed, a truly impressive job. 
    Ethan Miller’s a freshman with an astounding surprise when he wakes up on his first day of school, he’s a changer…. Surprise! When our young Ethan wakes up he is no longer the young skater boy who is disgruntled by the sudden move his parents forced him to make he is now a she, Drew to be precise. And Drew is about to enter the world of changers, young adults who change bodies every year of high school, to learn empathy and change the world.  This story is brimming with so much emotion and allows you to join Drew in her adventure to help preserve her race as well as learn what “to walk a mile in their shoes” really means.
    This is a transcendent book and I absolutely recommend it, I’m half tempted to bribe my husband to read it because I know anyone who reads Changers will find it profound and beautiful as I did, plus he might appreciate women and what we endure on a regular basis, lol. Honestly give it a try guys, you won’t regret it. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 3, 2014

    Actual score 2.75 This book has a really interesting set up

    Actual score 2.75

    This book has a really interesting set up that peaked my interest when I was asked to review it. The plot revolves around Ethan, 14 year old boy that discovers he's from a race of people called Changers that transform every year in high school and are stuck like that all year. They have to chronicle their experiences as a different person and by the end of high school they have to choose who they wanted to be out of those 4 experiences. Very cool!

    In Ethan's case, he went from being a a boy to a girl and life knows that has to be hard. He had a lot of struggle with it throughout the book but after a while I forgot that he was born a boy. He transitioned into a girl so naturally that that became his new identity. I can only imagine that's what it's like for transgendered people. I don't entirely know and I don't want to compare it without offending another person but I imagine for trans people you wake up in this body you don't believe is yours, you feel the opposite of what you were born and that's a scary feeling. This book touches a similar base to the transgender identity. 

    The worldbuilding in the book wasn't anything really special.I understood what was explained to me but I can't help feeling like I was missing details or that they're could have been more to the history of how the Changers came to be.

    I think all in all this book was cute. Outside of Ethan living his life as a girl instead of how he was born, there wasn't really any diversity. I liked the relationships between some characters particularly between him and his best friend Audrey. But I just felt like there could have been more to keep my interest. I read it, enjoyed it but it wasn't life changing. I like the idea of being a different person for an entire year but what would be cooler is being to change into both male and female and being able to wake up as a different race. Imagine how different your experiences would be being a white girl for one year, and the next your a black guy. That would change how the whole world sees you, your experiences would be waaaay more complex. And think about it....the next person you change into is a female to male transgender of Indian descent. If the concept of the book was like this, I would invest way more into the series. But if the main protagonist doesn't learn anything new in the second installment, I may not continue with the series. After all what more can you learn if you just change into another white teenage boy?

    I received this book in exchange for an honest review via the publisher/publicist

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