Turnabout

Turnabout

by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Paperback(Reprint)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442446038
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 11/13/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 529,665
Product dimensions: 5.64(w) x 8.08(h) x 0.58(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularly acclaimed YA and middle grade novels, including the Children of Exile series, The Missing series, the Under Their Skin series, and the Shadow Children series. A graduate of Miami University (of Ohio), she worked for several years as a reporter for The Indianapolis News. She also taught at the Danville (Illinois) Area Community College. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio. Visit her at HaddixBooks.com.

Read an Excerpt

From Part One

April 21, 2085

My sixteenth birthday. Sad, sad day. What I mind most — what I've been dreading most — is losing my license. I could still pass for being older for at least another year or two, but the agency won't let me. Against the rules, they say. We know best, they say. How can they be so sure when this is all new territory?

At least Anny Beth can still drive, since she's only eighteen. I don't know what I'd do without Anny Beth. I don't know what we'll do when she hits sixteen. And beyond that...

The agency lady called this morning to make sure I was ready for her annual visit. She said, "You still seem to be holding up."

I said, "I don't like the other choices."

She didn't laugh, the way I meant her to.

I told her my Memory Book was done, and she said, "It's not easy, is it?"

How do you answer a question like that?

My body feels good. Healthy. Teeming with life and possibility. I remember this feeling from the last time. I had such hope for the future then.

It's not the same when my body feels hopeful and my mind knows that the future is only sixteen more years of loss.

April 21, 2085

Melly and Anny Beth went out dancing to celebrate Melly's birthday. They hardly needed any excuse for dancing anymore. It was like some rhythm sang in their bones all the time, secretly urging, "Dance. Run. Move. Get going!" Melly went jogging every morning now, and Anny Beth did aerobics three or four nights a week, but somehow that wasn't enough. They'd talked about it; neither one of them remembered the dancing urge being quite so powerful the first time.

"But there were always chores then," Melly had said. "All those buckets of water I had to lug up the hill...all the grain we thrashed by hand...I used to fall into bed too worn out even to sleep."

"Not me," Anny Beth had said, with her usual ornery grin. "I always had energy at night."

Melly had playfully slugged her.

They were acting more like kids now. Melly knew that. She thought about Ms. Simmons's pursed lips and knew how she'd view Melly and Anny Beth's behavior. But what was she going to say — "Act your age"? Which age?

They stepped into the dance club now, their silver boots gleaming in the strobe lights. The crowd in front of them was a blur of tie-dye, neon polyester, and smiley-face prints. Melly figured that this was about the fifth time in her life that the fashions of the 1970s were "in." What was so enduring about all those psychedelic daisies that they kept coming back? This time, though, the look always had to be paired with what Anny Beth called "futuristic Reynolds Wrap." No one else in the dance club remembered foil, of course, since aluminum had been mined out years ago. Melly caught a glimpse of herself in the mirrored walls. With her short, fitted silver dress and glittery eye shadow and multi-colored hair, she looked just like a "Predictions of the Future" fashion display she'd seen several decades ago. Had the fashion futurists been so wise that they knew what was coming, or had these fashions come into style simply because that was what people predicted? Were all successful prophecies self-fulfilling?

Melly thought about sharing her musings with Anny Beth, but decided against it. "What are you doing, thinking again?" Anny Beth would say. "It's your birthday. We're at a club. Dance."

It was too loud to talk anyhow. Melly threw herself into the music, jerking her limbs alongside dozens of other anonymous bodies.

Hours later Anny Beth leaned over and shouted in Melly's ear. " — eat?" was all Melly caught. Melly nodded. They went to a restaurant next door and ordered the largest platters of burgers and fries available. Melly's ears were still ringing when their food arrived.

"If I really were a teenager with decades ahead of me, I would not be ruining my ears like that," Melly said. "I can't believe what those kids do."

"Oh, don't be such an old lady," Anny Beth said. "Irresponsibility is what adolescence is all about."

Melly snorted. "Which psychology book did you read that one in?"

That had been one of their latest projects, reading about adolescence so that they could blend in better. They'd mostly found the books hilarious, as if describing a species of animal they'd never encountered. Each of them had been a teenager before, each of them had raised teenagers — but they'd never seen anyone act like the books said all teenagers behaved.

Anny Beth paused to smile suggestively at a guy a few booths away. He smiled back but didn't approach. Melly wondered how she and Anny Beth could look and act so much like typical teenagers, but still give off such forbidding vibes.

A camera crew walked up the aisle and stopped beside the guy Anny Beth had smiled at. "And now," one of the men in the crew said dramatically into a microphone, "more about Peter's life! We'll follow him all night long! See every second of his existence!"

Peter beamed into the camera.

Anny Beth rolled her eyes. "Just another publicity hound."

Melly counted the other camera crews in the restaurant — there were ten in sight, and probably at least that many out of her view.

"Isn't everyone a publicity hound now?" Melly asked.

"No," Anny Beth said. "Not you and me."

Melly shook her head and tried to remember when she had first noticed people becoming such exhibitionists. She'd heard of people having their own Web sites back in the early years of the twenty-first century, where they kept cameras trained on themselves twenty-four hours a day. But that had been a rare occurrence; back then, even celebrities had tried to avoid the cameras sometimes. Nowadays everyone seemed to want to reveal everything about themselves to the entire world, and modern technology had practically made that possible. It made no sense to Melly, because the extreme exposure often got people in trouble. The police had only to scroll the public-access video sites to catch criminals; divorce courts never had to prove adultery, because it was always on tape. Melly shivered thinking about what her and Anny Beth's lives would be like if their secret were ever exposed. They'd never have a moment's peace.

Anny Beth lost interest in the camera crew. "So," she said. "It's your birthday. Sweet sixteen and never been kissed."

It was an old-fashioned saying, one Melly hadn't heard in years. Unbidden, tears sprang to her eyes as she remembered all the kisses she'd be forgetting now. She and Roy had started dating when she was fifteen. They'd exchanged their first shy kisses under the apple tree on Roy's father's farm the day he proposed....

"Don't do that," Anny Beth pleaded. "I'm sorry. I can't take you getting mushy on me."

Melly brushed the tears away and grimaced. "Do you ever regret not volunteering for the Cure?" she asked.

"You mean, do I wish I were dead? Of course not."

"Maybe it would have worked for us — "

Anny Beth made a face. "I doubt it. And it wasn't worth the risk to find out. Is this birthday getting to you? Remember — you've got a lot of good life ahead of you. At least, I do, and I want you to keep me company in it."

Melly couldn't help smiling at Anny Beth's mocking selfishness. But she couldn't match Anny Beth's banter. "Maybe the agency's right," she said.

"Them? Never," Anny Beth said reflexively. She took a huge bite of hamburger, sucking in a dangling strand of onion like someone reeling in a fishing line.

"No, really," Melly said. "What are we going to do when — you know. When you can't drive anymore. When we get too short to reach the top cabinets in the kitchen. When we forget how to tie our shoes. When I'm back in diapers — " She was whispering now, partly because she didn't want anyone to overhear, and partly because the tears were threatening to come back.

"First of all, start taking the bus," Anny Beth said, chewing on the onion. "Use the step stool. Wear Velcro shoes."

"And the other?" Melly spoke so softly she knew Anny Beth couldn't hear her. But Anny Beth knew what she meant.

"That's years away. You were potty trained pretty young, weren't you?"

Melly grimaced and didn't answer.

Anny Beth placed her hamburger down on her plate with unusual care. "Look, I know it's not going to be easy. But it's not worth ruining our lives now with fretting. We'll worry about that when the time comes. We'll think of something. I assure you, I have no intention of going back to any sort of institution. I lost too much of the other end of my life in one of them places."

Melly always knew Anny Beth was totally serious when she slipped back into bad grammar. It was sort of comforting. But Melly refused to be comforted. "Fine," she said. "You fiddle while Rome burns. I'm going to find someone to take care of us."

"Tonight?" Anny Beth asked.

"Soon," Melly said. She hated it when Anny Beth deflated her grand pronouncements.

"Shouldn't it be 'fiddle while Rome unburns'?" Anny Beth asked. "Because that's pretty much what we're doing. Ever watch a fire video on rewind? It's really awesome to see a house put itself back together...."

Melly let Anny Beth's chatter envelop her like a cocoon. Anny Beth was probably right — she should just enjoy herself tonight. But tomorrow — she'd start her search tomorrow.

Copyright © 2000 by Margaret Peterson Haddix

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Turnabout 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 84 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book was awesome! the plot is unique and the overall story is soo well written that i couldnt put it down! the beginning of the book is a little confusing, so i would advise reading the date before reading the entry, also, the characters were confusing but once you realize that amelia,amy,and melly were all the same person and that mrs. flick and anny beth were the same person it was a lot less confusing. also anny beth and melly ARENT sisters which i didnt realize for a while. over all, this book is hard to put down and great for all ages. even non-readers will love this book!
Addi More than 1 year ago
This book is great. At first, it is confusing because it changes between time, starting in 2085, then 2000, to 2085 again, and then 2001. The whole book alternates between different times. This is because in the story, scientists do an experiment to make old people reverse in age. The catches are that: every time you lose a year, you forget more memories. And that you don't stop reversing, and, eventually, the experiments will become babies again. This book is definitely one to read.
Aceprincessgal More than 1 year ago
I read this book a while ago for school, and I still remember the whole story. It is pretty unforgettable. It was a great story and the end was really good, too. Margaret Peterson Haddix is a great author! Keep Reading Everybody!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was soooo good! I just love MPH! Very well written, with an interesting twist at the end. Wish there was a sequel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You MUST BUY!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Haddix writes with suspense in its best form . . I couldn't put it down. Amazeing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little hard to get into but it is sooooooo good!!!!! Could mot put it down!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was really good i just finished reading it. I love reading but when i dont like a book i just cant read it. I either daydream the whole time or skim it, but not this book i was totally into it. I was half way done and had some extra time so i started reading and ended up finishing it. It was so good i couldnt put it down!!!! I defiantly recommend it as a must read for about 6th grade through maybe 10th. I dont know i think it would be good for all ages!!! It does make you wander though will they ever do something like this and start unaging people. Also if anyone read the authors note if they figured something like this in 1998 wouldnt we have people who are unaging now or at least living longer. Who knows maybe we do? i hope you enjoy or enjoyed this book as much as i did. i will definitely be looking at some of her other work!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont know how some people think its borin but it is their opinion. I love this book. I love all of her books theyre awesome. U just can put th book down. Best book ever!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the shadow children series and double identity and i wasn't sure if i should read this! Any suggestions?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is it worth 9 dollars? It looks really good.
lrobe190 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
"IT ISN'T NATURAL FOR YOU TO BE YOUNGER THAN YOUR GREAT-CHILDREN. WE MESSED AROUND WITH NATURE, AND WE SHOULDN'T HAVE." MELLY AND ANNY BETH BOTH LIVED NORMAL LIVES THROUGHOUT THE 20TH CENTURY. BUT IN 2000, WHEN THEY ARE OLD AND READY TO DIE, THEY ARE SELECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN PROJECT TURNABOUT AND ARE GIVEN AN INJECTION TO MAKE THEM GROW YOUNGER.AS USUAL, HADDIX HAS COME UP WITH AN INTRIGUING CONCEPT. NEVER AGING SOUNDS GREAT, BUT MELLY AND ANNY BETH PROVE THAT THERE IS A DOWNSIDE AS WELL. WILL TEENS RELATE TO THIS? SOME WILL, BECAUSE HADDIX MANAGES TO KEEP READERS GUESSING RIGHT UP TO THE END. GREAT TOPIC FOR DISCUSSION.
MissBoyer3 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
In her thought-provoking science fiction adventure, Haddix (Just Ella) successfully shuttles readers between three different eras, convincingly covering the extensive life of Amelia (Melly) Hazelwood. At age 100, Melly and other Riverside nursing home residents were injected with the experimental drug PT-1 The drug was supposed to make them "unage" until they reached a self-determined ideal age, at which point they would get another shot to stop the process. The second shot, however, proved deadly, and the participants of Project Turnabout were doomed to unage until they reached zero. Now teenagers, Melly and her stubborn sidekick Anny Beth need to find parents who can care for them in their approaching infancy. But when a snooping reporter begins to track Melly, the pair must put their search on hold and flee.
artstudent on LibraryThing 7 months ago
As peachbeat said "there wasn't much of a plot".At the end you are left with lots of questions, but It was a good book.
Neverwithoutabook on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This was an excellently written story of a thought-provoking topic. As a Young Adult novel, the writing was not complex, but interesting enough that I read through very quickly. A story of a couple of elderly ladies, part of a group that is on the verge of death but are given a new drug that is supposed to allow them to 'un-age' to at time when they are younger and then an 'antidote' is given to stop the process. The ladies find life getting younger a challenge and therein lies the story. I won't give away the ending, but who hasn't wondered what it would be like to find some kind of fountain of youth? A great story for that progressive young reader in your life, and not bad for adults either!
kikotomo on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Melly and Anny Beth were about ready to die when doctors of "Project Turnabout" asked them if they would like to be young again. The experiment goes wrong when the cure to stop the unaging process does not work as it did on lab mice. The concept of the story is very interesting - though the plot line is kind of predictable.
WittyreaderLI on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Two older women along with 48 others get the chance to deage. THey are given a drug and they are given a chance to pick what age they stay at. But can they really do that? This book was okay. I read Elsewhere and it was very similar. Elsewhere was about the afterlife, but the premise was the same, de-aging. I thought Elsewhere was a little better.
ewyatt on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Imagine aging in reverse or living for 200 years. This is an interesting look at the results of a medical experiment from the point of view of two friends who are facing the need to find someone to care for them as they un-age. We had an interesting discussion about this one at book club.
AnijahCHMS14 More than 1 year ago
  This book is lots of confusing. It is confusing because at the first part of the book on page three it start off with the year of 2085 ,then goes back to year 2000 on page four ,Then on page seven it goes back to 2085 it just changes throughout the whole story.I also don't understand why would the project bring them way back down to babies ? It should've just asked them a age and brought them down to that. In order of understanding the book really good I recommend rereading the book and making sure to read the dates as you go through the book and don’t read fast cause it can get really tricky and confusing. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay at first really boring but it got a lot better
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a MEH. Not amazing, but has a very interesting topic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so good! I seriously could not put it down once i started reading. It was thought- provoking , exciting, and suspenseful. Is there a sequel???
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book for 7th grade english class, and i actually got in trouble for reading ahead. I love this book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this book.... BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!