Thursday, July 30, 2009

Review by Alex- Sophomore Switch

Sophomore Switch by Abby Mcdonald
Take an administrative snafu, a bad breakup, and what shall heretofore be known as "The Hot-Tub Incident," and you’ve got two unprepared sophomores on a semester abroad.

For American party girl Tasha, an escape to Oxford may be a chance to ditch her fame as a tabloid temptress, but wading Uggs-deep in feminist theory is not her idea of a break.

Meanwhile, the British half of the exchange, studious Emily, nurses an aching heart amid the bikinis and beer pong of U.C. Santa Barbara. Soon desperation has the girls texting each other tips — on fitting in, finding love, and figuring out who they really are.

With an anthropologist’s eye for detail and a true ear for teen-speak, exciting new novelist Abby McDonald has crafted a funny, fast-paced, poignant look at survival, sisterhood, and the surprising ways we discover our true selves.

Sophomore Switch is very cute. It's light, it's funny. It's what the cover shows you and exactly what to expect. It is a fast-paced book with slightly heavier tones.

There is two different main characters each with their own story that then intertwine. Tasha is mostly at university in California for the parties. When she parties a little too hard and is filmed doing some pretty embarassing stuff with a big celebrity, the whole of America tears her apart. Her family is ashamed and so she escapes by getting out of the country, to Britain, on an exchange program of 3 months. When Emily's boyfriend dumps her for being too boring and stiff, she attempts to be spontaneous by doing an exchange program.

I really liked Tasha. She starts off quite wild, a party girl. She's used to having a lot of friends and partying. So at uptight Oxford, she doesn't really fit it. She doesn't know exactly what she wants, but she helps people in need, and she stands up for what's right. Sure, she makes mistakes, but she's got a good heart.

Emily isn't really that original. She's the uber-organized, not a hair out of place kind of girl. She's got her whole life planned out, with the help of her parents. She's in Oxford, she'll get a summer intern job, and she'll go off and become a lawyer. But then her boyfriend dumps her- gaaasp. Emily, bent on proving she's not actually boring, goes to California to loosen up.

The two obviously have a tough time at first fitting in. So then they start corresponding by email. They make little lits and tips to help each other fit in better. For Tasha, this means becoming preppy and dressing a lot different. Emily must go shopping, get manicures, party, wear mostly thight polos and short skirts. I don't really like the idea of compromising your wardrobe to fit in. I find that stupid and I wouldn't do it. But I guess... the two girls are desperate and incredibly lonely.

Emily's story line is boring. I found it mostly just filler. Tasha's story is putting the emphasis on feminism and giving the deeper tones. Hers was more original. Emily's life was pretty average, and wasn't all that interesting to read about. It was Tasha that I became invested in and it was Tasha who I rooted for. It's not to say I dislike Emily, but it's Tasha who made the story for me.

Overall, Sophomore Switch is very sweet to read. It's fast and filled, with lots of different characters and relationships. It shows the hardships of two girls struggling in different areas of university. The writing doesn't stand out, but it's smooth and easy to read. Abby Mcdonald is only 24, so the tone and voice is fresh, fun, and sounds young.


  1. I'll have to get this one! It sounds really cute :) Good review.


  2. I still haven't read this yet, though it does sound good. Thanks for the review!

  3. TASHA!!!! Its almost like my name.

    This one is a I gots to read!


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