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Switched at Birthday

Switched at Birthday

4.7 3
by Natalie Standiford

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What if your birthday wish turned you into someone else? Lavender and Scarlet are nothing alike. Scarlet is tall, pretty, and popular -- the star of the soccer team and the queen of the school. Lavender is . . . well, none of these things. Her friends aren't considered cool, her hair is considered less than uncool, and her performance at the recent talent show is


What if your birthday wish turned you into someone else? Lavender and Scarlet are nothing alike. Scarlet is tall, pretty, and popular -- the star of the soccer team and the queen of the school. Lavender is . . . well, none of these things. Her friends aren't considered cool, her hair is considered less than uncool, and her performance at the recent talent show is something nobody will ever forget -- even though she really, really wants it to be forgotten. There's only one thing Lavender and Scarlet know for sure they have in common: the same birthday. They've never had parties together. They've never swapped presents. But this year, because of two wishes that turned all too true, they are about to swap something much bigger than presents. Because the morning after their birthdays, Lavender is going to wake up in Scarlet's body . . . and Scarlet is going to wake up in Lavender's. But in order to change back, they're going to have to figure out how to be someone completely opposite of who they ordinarily are . . .

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Lavender and Scarlet are as different as two people can be. Scarlet is tall, blond, and popular while Lavender is short, stumpy, and so covered with dark hair that she is called Yeti, Furby, or Hairball. The only common factor shared between them is their birth date. Hoping to get the leading role in the school play, they each recite a good-luck verse told to them by the drama teacher. Upon awakening, they find themselves in the other's body. In this tale of winners and losers, bullies and victims, Standiford creates authentic characters in situations most middle schoolers have experienced or witnessed. Scarlet is called the Plastic Princess by her stepbrother, yet Lavender as Scarlet tames her vanity a bit and tries to befriend him. On the other hand, Scarlet as Lavender becomes much more attentive to her hygiene and appearance. As the girls are forced to work together to figure out how to switch back they become supportive and loyal to each other. Standiford makes a statement about self-identity and empathy without moralizing. The magic and humor of the situations combine to create an enjoyable story.—D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH
From the Publisher


"A captivating story about the mysteries of summertime and friendship." – Rebecca Stead, author of WHEN YOU REACH ME

* "The intimate neighborhood setting – with its mysteries, superstitions, and traditions – the authenticity of Minty's voice, and her worries about the transitioning nature of her life and friendships give Standiford's story a richness that will stay with readers." – PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review

"Captivating . . . takes its rightful place in the now classic genre of 'neighborhood kids' that began with Beverly Cleary." – THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

"A charming and mysterious story of friendship, growing up, and keeping secrets." – BOOKLIST


* "Bea's original first-person voice will draw readers in, and the unexpected plot will keep them engaged. A decidedly purposeful not-love story, this has all the makings of a cult hit with a flavor similar to Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower." -- KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred review

* "An honest and complex depiction of a meaningful platonic friendship and doesn't gloss over troubling issues. . . . Teens will identify with the intense emotions of Beatrice and Jonas, the reasons they are drawn to each other, and the ups and downs of their relationship. . . . Outstanding" -- SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, starred review

Children's Literature - Chelsea Couillard-Smith
Lavender Myrtle Schmitz knows she is not popular. She is clumsy, sarcastic, and lives for Don Ho records and her ukulele—not exactly a recipe for middle school stardom. Scarlet Martinez knows she is the queen bee. A soccer star with all the right clothes and right friends, she prefers school to her messy home life with a critical stepfather, obnoxious stepbrother, and distant mother. Though they have never exchanged so much as a present, Scarlet and Lavender do share a birthday, and this year, each wishes for a change, with disastrous results. Trapped in each other’s bodies, the two girls must navigate family issues, friend drama, and first crushes while searching for a way to reverse the magic. As expected, walking in another’s shoes leads to understanding and friendship, and by the end of the week, both Scarlet and Lavender have changed for the better. Standiford’s take on this oft-told tale does not break any new ground. Conflict follows predictable paths, and the resolution, with both girls learning important lessons about themselves and each other, feels inevitable from page one. While many of her characters, like Scarlet’s wealthy, shallow parents and the middle school mean girls, fail to rise above the level of cliché, Scarlet and Lavender are relatively complex and engaging characters. In particular, Lavender is more than a pitiful victim of bullying. While Scarlet and her clique are unreasonably cruel to her, Standiford makes it clear that Lavender has embraced her outsider status a bit too much, refusing her parents’ efforts to help her ease into her teens and harshly resisting overtures of friendship at school. Additionally, the author has a good ear for authentic tween dialogue, and her characterization of Lavender’s fellow outsiders is both realistic and nuanced. However, by the end of the switch, as Lavender has lost some of her snark and Scarlet has come down off her high-horse, the two narrative voices blur together, and it becomes difficult to keep track of who is who. Overall, Standiford’s novel will certainly appeal to fans of light romance and middle school drama, but for most collections, it is a secondary purchase. Reviewer: Chelsea Couillard-Smith; Ages 9 to 12.
Kirkus Reviews
A wish, a shared birthday and some "theater magic" transform the lives of two young teens. Although Lavender's and Scarlet's birthdays are on the same day, their lives are polar opposites. Scarlet reigns as a popular girl at their middle school, while Lavender's status falls much lower on the social scale. Yet both are determined to audition for the lead, Marian, in their school production of The Music Man. The mysterious intervention of their music teacher—who harbors a magical secret—leads to the pair waking up the day after their 13th birthdays in each other's bodies. Suddenly, Lavender experiences the popular life as Scarlet, and Scarlet endures the many taunts that punctuate Lavender's school days. As they scramble to resolve their dilemma, the girls form a reluctant collaboration. Standiford's adept portrayal of the evolution of the girls' self-awareness conveys a meaningful message about empathy and forgiveness. While the switch enables the girls to learn about each other, it also gives them greater insight into their own lives, allowing them each to discover their strengths and to recognize their foibles. The girls emerge from their experiences with an appreciation of their genuine friendship and the courage to make positive changes in their lives. A characteristically insightful tale that affirms the importance of true friendship and self-acceptance. (Fantasy. 9-13)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sold by:
Scholastic, Inc.
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File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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Switched at Birthday 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book so much! They r so good. It gets kind of confusing when they switch bodies and when their parents call them. " Lavender!" Lavender's mom calls when Scarlet is actually inavender's body. Same thing to Lavender as she is in Scarlet's.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read this book thousands of times and it never gets old!! Totally recomend!
book4children More than 1 year ago
The switching bodies storyline is always fun, and while this book doesn't give a new spin on the old tale, it's still a lot of fun to read. Lavender is short, hairy, and grouchy. Scarlet is tall, pretty, and sweet. They both make a birthday wish and end up switching places. The plot plays out precisely the way you expect it to. They both learn things about each other and themselves. They both make changes and improvements. When they have sufficiently improved for the better, they also figure out how to switch back. Lavender's voice is humorous. She is snarky and has a witty comeback for everything. I loved the chapters that she narrated. At the same time, Scarlet has a knack for recognizing things for what they are. She is the first to realize maybe her friends aren't as nice as she thought, and maybe the things she used to do aren't so nice either. The book had a nice message. When you put yourself in someone elses' shoes (literally, in this case), you understand where they are coming from. It may even change the way you treat them. It's a fun book that kids will enjoy reading. Content: clean Source: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.