Author: Lois Metzger
Genre: science fiction
Published: June 14 2016
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rose has changed. She still lives in the same neighborhood with her stepmother and goes to the same high school with the same group of kids, but when she woke up today, something was just a little different than it was before. The dogs who live upstairs are no longer a terror. Her hair and her clothes all feel brand-new. She wants to throw a party—this from a girl who hardly ever spoke to her classmates before. There is no more sadness in her life; she is bursting with happiness.
But something still feels wrong to Rose. Because, until very recently, Rose was an entirely different person—a person who is still there inside her, just beneath the thinnest layer of skin.
This is such a short, unsettling science fiction novel. In 225 pages it manages to create an effectively quiet and thought-provoking story around a young girl named Rose. There are some small instances where the novel calls Snow White to mind, but this is definitely no fairy tale. There's something wrong with Rose and the audience's slow realization of that mirrors that of the the character's. It's a subtly creepy read and one that really should be discussed in broad, generic terms to avoid spoiling the effect.
Fans of books like Jenna Fox and Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go will appreciate Lois Metzger's approach to ya science fiction here. There's not a lot of time spent explaining how things are possible thanks to the available science, because Change Places With Me chooses instead to focus on the human aspect. Rose is what carries this novel and she is a well-rendered and defined main character. She's sympathetic but still just... off in both mannerisms and habits. Even the way the author wrote the novel factors into Rose's remote if likeable thanks to a third-person POV; it's an effective and distinct narration.
Both character-driven and well-paced, Change Places With Me is a clever and introspective science fiction story. Though I enjoyed this, I've kept my review intentionally vague because this is a novel that is best when experienced going in without spoilers or hints. Memorable and unique, this is a novel I will remember and recommend.