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If I Were You : A Librarian’s Perspective Review

If I Were You is such cute “Friday the 13th”-esque for tweens! I just bought the book from our school book fair, and I know it will be easy to booktalk and popular in the library. As the cover art suggests, If I Were You is perfect for summer pool or beach reads!

AUTHOR: Leslie Margolis
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
PUBLICATION DATE: May 12, 2015
ISBN: 9780374300685
PAGES: 224
SOURCE: my library
GENRE: magical realism
SETTING: Malibu, California; summertime
GIVE IT TO: MS

SUMMARY: Twelve-year old besties Melody and Katie haven’t been getting along lately. Technically, they are still best friends, but each one is secretly annoyed by and jealous of the other’s life. On the last day of summer, both girls make a wish that they could start the summer all over again, this time as the other friend.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT IF I WERE YOU

Comparisons to Freaky Friday are inevitable here, except this time, it’s two friends switching places. Freaky Friday is an older movie and book, so if your students don’t know it, you could always show them the movie trailer or a clip from the movie.

If I Were You is incredibly easy to booktalk with sixth and seventh graders. The cover is cute, and it looks like a fun summer read. We are selling this book in our school’s book fair this week, and it’s sold well, especially with my sixth grade girls.

The theme of being jealous of a friend’s life rings true. Katie and Melody each think the other’s life is just perfect, and this at the heart of their recent arguments and irritation with one another. Many 11- and 12-year olds will identify.

I liked the girls’ voices and felt they were well-drawn as characters.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE ABOUT IF I WERE YOU

The biggest thing that put me off is how these 12-year old girls are portrayed as though they are 15 or 16. I think they could have been aged up a bit. For example, Katie goes around town wearing Melody’s mother’s skimpy dresses and makeup. Melody kisses a boy (her secret boyfriend) in a hot tub. Maybe I’m a big prude here, but I think that’s way too mature behavior for 12-year old girls. I’m sure it is exactly how some 12-year olds behave, but I wish it weren’t normalized here.

THEMES: friendship, jealousy, the-grass-is-not-greener

THE BOTTOM LINE: It’s cute for middle school girls, but be forewarned that the 12-year old characters exhibit some mature behaviors for their age.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We just bought a copy from our school book fair. I expect it to circulate well.

RATING BREAKDOWN

  • Overall: 3/5
  • Creativity: 3/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Engrossing: 3/5
  • Writing: 3/5
  • Appeal to teens: 5/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5

MATURE CONTENT

  • Language: none
  • Sexuality: medium; hot tub kissing, a much older man hits on 12-year old girl
  • Violence: none
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none

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