Young Adult Book Review: 'Switch' By Ingrid Law

Dec 8, 2015


by Ingrid Law

Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015

Members of Gypsy Beaumont's family receive a “savvy” (extra-sensory skill) on their thirteenth birthday. Her mother is unfailingly perfect; her older brother, Samson, can become invisible; and Gypsy herself can see the past and future.

But Gypsy's Grandma Pat is from her Poppa's side, and they don't appear to have any magic in them. Grandma Pat has always been crotchety, but lately she has become so confused that her neighbors are concerned for her well-being.

But when Gypsy's parents make the difficult decision to have Grandpa Pat move in with them, things suddenly get very strange. Momma's characteristic poise turns to clumsiness. Samson's ability to turn invisible changes to an ability to ignite in flame. Gypsy's little brother, Tucker, is suddenly able to turn into a giant (even though he hasn't reached his thirteenth birthday and officially gotten his “savvy” yet). And Gypsy can no longer see the past or future, but now can stop time.

But her savvy doesn't switch until she first catches a glimpse of the future in which an old woman (who she initially believes to be a future-version of herself, but eventually recognizes as her Grandma Pat) is falling from a clock tower, while Gypsy watches helplessly trying to stop her fall.

As the children and their mother head out to help Grandma Pat pack up in preparation for the move, Gypsy quickly realizes that her premonition is likely to come true very soon. While she has never been able to prevent her glimpses of the future from becoming reality in the past, Grandma's life may depend on her ability to do so this time.

A companion to the Newbery Honor winning book Savvy, Switch is full of the same delightfully creative magic and down-to-earth characters that made Law's earlier book such a success. Even the most dedicated readers will likely learn a new word or two from the expansive vocabulary that Law employs. And children will be swept away by the imaginative plot, which skillfully combines fantasy with the very real challenges of family dynamics when dealing with an aging relative.

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Ingrid Law is the New York Times bestselling author of two novels for young readers, Savvy and Scumble. Ingrid's books have been placed on about 30 state reading lists, and have earned accolades from Publishers Weekly, Oprah's reading list, the Today Show's Al Roker's Book Club for Kids, and the Smithsonian. Savvy was named a Newbery Honor book in 2009. Ingrid writes full time and is very active with school visits, both in person and over Skype. Visit her at