The Swap

The Swap

4.6 16
by Megan Shull

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Coming soon as a Disney Channel Original Movie, Megan Shull’s smart and funny twist on Freaky Friday is perfect for fans of Wendy Mass, Jerry Spinelli, and Jon Scieszka!

With one random wish, Jack and Ellie are living life in each other’s shoes. He’s her. And she’s him. ELLIE assumed popular guys didn’t worry about body


Coming soon as a Disney Channel Original Movie, Megan Shull’s smart and funny twist on Freaky Friday is perfect for fans of Wendy Mass, Jerry Spinelli, and Jon Scieszka!

With one random wish, Jack and Ellie are living life in each other’s shoes. He’s her. And she’s him. ELLIE assumed popular guys didn’t worry about body image, being perfect, or talking to girls, but acting like you’re cool with everything is tougher than it looks. JACK thought girls had it easy—no fights with bullies, no demanding dads, no power plays—but facing mean girls at sleepovers and getting grilled about your period is way harder than taking a hit to the face at sports practice.

Now they’re dealing with each other’s middle school dramas—locker room teasing, cliques, video game battles, bra shopping, and a slew of hilariously awkward moments—until they hopefully switch back! Told in both Jack’s and Ellie’s voices, The Swap offers a fresh and honest take on tween friendship, all while exploring more serious themes of family, loss, empathy, and what it really means to be yourself. And as Jon Scieszka says, it’s “seriously, truly, fearlessly funny!”

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
It’s a familiar premise: two kids, struggling in their own situations, somehow switch places and experience each other’s lives, which then helps them gain an appreciation for their own; Shull’s twist is that the two kids are of different genders. Seventh-grader Ellie O’Brien is struggling to fit in ever since her former best friend turned on her. Popular eighth-grader Jack Malloy just wants to play hockey with his older brothers, but his strict father thinks life is about striving for perfection. Ellie and Jack barely know each other, but when a chance meeting in the nurse’s office results in a body-switch for the weekend, they get to walk in each other’s shoes—and discover they kind of like them, even despite some awkward moments involving unfamiliar body parts. Shull (Amazing Grace) keeps this story fast and fun (though the body-switched scenes take some getting used to, at least initially). No real surprises are in store, but the premise will still leave readers with plenty to think about. Ages 10–14. Agent: Margaret Riley King, William Morris Endeavor. (Aug.)
VOYA, October 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 4) - Kathleen Beck
It is the first day of school at Thatcher Middle School. Ellie (seventh grade) and Jack (eighth) meet in the nurse’s office, where Ellie is hiding from the mean girls in gym and Jack, having been in a fight, is dreading the reaction at home. If only we could swap, they ponder. Hmm, says the quirky new nurse, maybe just for the weekend? And suddenly the two switch bodies. Now only-child Ellie faces three older brothers and a rigid father, while Jack, nicknamed “the Prince of Thatcher,” learns what it is like when your erstwhile best friend decides you are a social zero. Over the weekend, each must star at a new sport (soccer for Jack-as-Ellie, hockey for Ellie-as-Jack), navigate a sleepover (purple pajamas and girlish confidences for Jack), and make it to Monday without giving the swap away. Ellie finds new friends and new confidence, while Jack learns self-control and compassion. Now, how to change back? The story is true to the middle-school experience and often funny. Jack’s hockey-jock brothers speak an impenetrable patois, which is first baffling, then annoying, then just amusing. Ellie’s mom is almost too understanding, while Jack’s dad’s ultimate transformation is abrupt. The magical element remains undeveloped, and the shifts in narrator are sometimes difficult to follow. Refreshingly, Jack and Ellie end as good friends rather than boyfriend—girlfriend. Shull succumbs to the temptation to wrap things up too sweetly, but humor and astute observation of social dynamics save the day. Reviewer: Kathleen Beck; Ages 11 to 15.
Children's Literature - Emily B. Cook
Middle schoolers Ellie O’Brien and Jack Malloy are both struggling. Ellie, whose parents recently divorced, is awkward and insecure. She desperately wants to stay friends with Sassy, her best friend who’s become a popular girl and bullies Ellie at every turn. Jack is good-looking, popular, and a star athlete. The trouble is he and his four older brothers just lost their mom and work unsuccessfully to please their dad, The Captain. Ellie’s insecurities and Jack’s inability to control his anger land them both in the nurse’s office, where they commiserate about how much easier things would be if they could just switch lives. In a twist of fate, that’s exactly what happens. Ellie has to assimilate into the Malloy family, where The Captain’s expectation is perfection and life runs like a military command. Jack is thrust into Ellie’s life, filled with girl drama and a mom who dotes on his every need. For Ellie, a grueling, miserable grind quickly becomes an empowering transformation when she finds her strength and confidence as part of the intense, loving Malloy boys. She also reaches The Captain in a way the boys were too afraid to for fear of losing the one parent they have left. Jack realizes that being a girl is not easy as he navigates the mean girls and pressures of middle school through Ellie’s eyes. Ellie’s mom also fills a void, allowing him to grieve the loss of his mom for the first time. While initially it seemed this book would offer nothing unique, it has a delightful twist. Ellie and Jack both experience positive personal growth and tackle many typical middle school challenges as they overcome bullying, loss and emotional roadblocks. The ending is a warm, pleasant surprise that wraps things up in a very satisfying way. Reviewer: Emily B. Cook; Ages 10 to 14.
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up—This is realistic fiction with a twist—two characters form an unlikely friendship when they swap bodies. Meet Ellie: a girl who lives with her mom and is entering seventh grade with her former best friend, Sassy. Sassy is crazy in love with Jack Malloy, "The Prince." Jack, an eighth grader, has it all: good grades, athletic ability, great manners, and good looks to boot. When circumstances land both Jack and Ellie in the nurse's office on the first day of school, they admire the ease at which each other has it in life. The next thing they know, that strange new nurse is gone and they are in each other's bodies. Now they have to make it through the weekend—filled with soccer tryouts, doctor appointments, hockey practice, and sleepovers—before they can get the nurse to switch them back. Told in alternating perspectives, Shull creates two authentic main characters with unique tween voices. They deal with familial issues (death, divorce) as well as social (bullying, sibling relationships, friends) with clumsy grace. The book is heartbreaking and hilarious—truly evocative of middle school experiences. A great, entertaining read that will appeal to boys and girls. Readers may wonder what happened to the nurse and yearn for an explanation of the switch, but ultimately this is a highly recommended purchase.—Stephanie DeVincentis, Downers Grove North High School, IL
Kirkus Reviews
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)
Frances O'Rourk Dowell
“Funny, honest and touching, THE SWAP is the perfect book for tweens ready to learn what’s going on inside the minds (and bodies) of the opposite gender. Jack and Ellie are such wonderful characters and those brothers—wow!”
Jon Scieszka
“A beautiful feat of swapped voices. Hilarious! Serious, truly, fearlessly funny! And I don’t want boys to miss it.”
Meg Cabot
“THE SWAP kept me turning pages way past my bedtime! Hilarious and yet surprisingly touching at the same time.”
Lauren Myracle
“Bawling because I just finished Megan Shull’s THE SWAP. Bawled the whole way through. I LOVE IT SO MUCH!”
Natalie Lloyd
“THE SWAP is funny and smart and heartwarming. And when I say funny, I mean I put the book down and laughed. It’s a fantastic story!”
Voice of Youth Advocates
“True to the middle-school experience.”
Frances O'Roark Dowell
“Funny, honest and touching, THE SWAP is the perfect book for tweens ready to learn what’s going on inside the minds (and bodies) of the opposite gender. Jack and Ellie are such wonderful characters and those brothers—wow!”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Megan Shull is the award-winning author of five books for kids, including The Swap, now a Disney Channel Original Movie. Megan holds a doctorate in educational psychology from Cornell University, where she also earned her undergraduate degree. Born and raised in Ithaca, New York, Megan lives and writes in her hometown—a small college town surrounded by waterfalls, quiet, rolling hills, and secret swimming holes.

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The Swap 4.6 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 16 reviews.
Littlebookstar More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC of The Swap from Katherine Tegen Books in exchange for an honest review. This book was such a fantastic read. I never thought I would love it because I thought the characters were going to be annoying & too immature for me since they are 12 and 13 year olds. This is told in 1st person dual point of view of Ellie (Elle) and Jack. Ellie is in 7th grade and is trying to fit in while Jack is in 8th grade and is trying to cope with his mother’s death. These two characters swap bodies during the first day of school and it was just fun to read how they tackle each other’s lives. Since the book has two narrators, I’m happy to say that I was not confused on who was narrating at all because Ellie and Jack are very different from one another. Ellie is this 7th grader who just wants to fit in by trying to befriend her ex-best friend Sassy, the most popular girl in school while Jack sees all of Sassy’s flaws and knows how true friends should be. One of the things I love about this book is how Ellie and Jack changed as a person ever since they swapped bodies. Ellie was whiny at the beginning, but by being in Jack’s body and life, she learns a lot of lessons from Jack’s brothers and she changed big time as the story progresses. What I loved about Jack is that he is so caring! I wish there was more like him in real life. He is very understanding, polite, positive, and funny. Besides the two main characters, I also loved the supporting characters! The author did a fantastic job of giving them distinct personalities. I especially loved Jack’s brothers (Gunner, ) because they are so headstrong and supportive! I also like how they are all respectful especially to their father even though he is very pushy and doesn’t settle for “good”. Their father wants them to strive in hockey and life in general but he pushes them so hard that sometimes the boys doesn’t think he loves them. The only thing I did not like about the brothers is that I feel like the only words they know are “bud, bro, nails, tough”. Sometimes I’d be like “can you please expand your vocabulary” lol. Overall I just love how even though the two main characters have different lives, they were able to learn from each other’s lives and apply it to the real world. There are a lot of lessons to take from the story even if it is a light and easy read. The characters were very real and relatable. Although some things were a bit cliche in the book, it did not really bother me. I was engaged the whole time and I recommend it to everyone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so good and it just catches all off your attention
kydirtgirl68 More than 1 year ago
Ellie has had a horrible summer and is dreading Middle School. her best friend has dumped her and now is turning everyone against her. She just wants to get away from all her old friends and thinks no one likes her. She thinks boys have it so much easier. Jack has spent the summer training with his brothers and his dad who shows no love and only pushes them to do better. He may be one of the most popular guys in school but he just knows girls have an easier life. When the two meet they somehow switched bodies. Ellie sees being popular isn't everything it is cracked up to be and everyone has things going on at home. Jack sees beneath girls and how petty some of them can be. He sees they don't have everything easy. They both realize they have good and bad in their lives and how they can change things for the better. they just have to get through the weekend and back in the right bodies. The two started out as strangers but soon become so much more. Ellie is a shy girl who is great at sports. She would rather hide from people than to risk getting hurt again and would rather hide than face her old friend. She is coming into her teen years but feels years behind the other girls. Jack has to show no weakness. He always has to be strong and to never back down from a challenge. His father has some hard rules and he has to follow them to the letter. He wishes things were different but doesn't know how to change them. He is the popular boy every guy wants to be and every girl wants to date. You really get to see many different sides in this book. You not only see what different teens go through but also what boys and girls go through. I really think the author did a great job on both characters on letting you get to know them. Both Jack and Ellie teach each other different things and help each other out all in the span of a few days. They really grow up and grow into the start of who they will be. Ellie seems to make the biggest change to me. She learns she can't worry about what everyone thinks of her and to realize what a great mom she has. Jack realizes he doesn't have to be perfect and he can talk to his dad. He isn't alone in the world. I thought at first the two would end up together but I have to say I believe I liked the ending better than what I thought would come of it. This would be a great book for any teen or really anyone just wanted a good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazeballs, so totally amazeballs. But why couldnt you make them fall in love!!! I understand you probably had reasons like his(i totally just forgot the guy main characters name is) dad needed love or some other thing like that. But i would have loved it so much more if they were in love because they kiss and i thought it might be part of some romance. But no!!! You led us on. I totally wanted to ship Ellie and whatever his name is. I even had a name for them(no i didnt). But still!!! What the hell!!! But at least the ending is super creative... so that part i liked cause of creativity. But who knows...maybe you wanted to be unique with the ending. I can very much appreciate that. So...toodles for now. Love, Danielle aka Elle<3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it. I would have anyone read it. The only thing think could use a little explaining for youger children would be the love life that the 2 share but all in all good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My teacher makes the class do a book report about every month and I chose this one. I could hardly put the book down until I finished it. My friend also read the book and couldnt put it down until the end of the day when she had to give it back. It is a book great for readers in middle school and early high school.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books ever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very funny and fun to read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok, if you are on the verge of reading this just read it! This is my favorite book ever. You will fall in love with the characters and won't want the book to end. STOP stalling and just read it. Now.
thebookneard More than 1 year ago
OMG!!         This book was SOOOO funny and touching at the same time. This is totally one of my favorite books!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous 10 months ago
Netflix and chill??
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is fantastic! It is a bit weird (body change, etc) but that is the least of your worries. This book wil completely chahge the way that we see this rolller coaster ride called life. It is definetly a wonderful, meaningful, delightful, thought-inspiring read. Enjoy!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago