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The Changeover (1984)

de Margaret Mahy

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7613221,696 (4.22)1 / 74
When her baby brother seems to become possessed by an evil spirit, fourteen-year-old Laura seeks the help of the strangely compelling older boy at school who she is convinced has supernatural powers.
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Es mostren 1-5 de 32 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I picked this up thinking it was middle grade and it so wasn't! It's really a paranormal romance from before the time when that became a genre all of it's own, and it has so much good going for it as opposed to the churned-out sort that's so common today. For starters, the love interest respects the girl and although he's still older, he realises the issue with that and the ending has him leaving so that she'll be able to grow up at her own pace, instead of as part of a couple. Because of that, I was totally behind the pairing, because it felt so much healthier.

It's more than a romance, though. It's a coming-of-age story, and a look at family relationships and a fantasy adventure all at once. I think the title is very apt, because it's not just about the Changeover in the story, but also about the changes that Laura is going through as she becomes a young adult. The language is just lovely in places, as well.

As far as I can remember, this is the first book of Mahy's I've ever read, and I think I missed out, growing up. ( )
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
'A clammy hand pressed Laura down to her knees beside Jacko's bed. It was the hand of terror, nothing less.'

This was such a well-written supernatural story, with image-laden prose and interesting characters. The Changeover covers quite dark territory, and there is a real urgency to Laura's quest to save her baby brother. I particularly enjoyed the romance between Laura and Sorry. This story was written quite some time ago but is just as gripping as ever. ( )
  Elizabeth_Foster | Dec 24, 2019 |
Read for Sci-Fi Summer read-a-thon, and prior to the movie being released. I have had this book since I was a pre-teen and I have re-read it so often that I am on my second copy. It does have issues due to when it was written. Is it dated? Definitely, I'm not sure if anyone who is currently a young adult will know what a video game parlor is. When it was written there wouldn't have been many issues with an 18-year-old dating a 15-year-old, as an example, that was the age difference between me and my first boyfriend, now it's just creepy. However, if you can get past that it's a great book with paranormal overtones. It takes place in New Zealand, has witches, evil spirits, and teenage angst. I have always loved it and still keep it as a 5-star book even with the problems it does have. ( )
  Diana_Long_Thomas | Jun 2, 2017 |
I don't remember how old I was when I first read this book, but it was definitely before the current explosion of Young Adult Fantasy (and quite a long time ago). This is one of the books that I've read and re-read over the years, because it gets so many things exactly right.

Margaret Mahy's writing is quite lyrical and heavy on the imagery - this imparts a thoughtful, almost dreamlike feeling to the book. It's very different to the YA adult books of today, with their overt violence and sex. That's not to say that sex and violence are a bad thing - but sex and violence themselves do not make a book either bad or good. It's what you do with the story that counts.

The magic in Changeover is a lot more subtle than it is in most urban fantasy now. There are no flash-bangs, no werewolves or vampires, no blood and guts. There is, however, serious danger which Laura must somehow overcome.
The only way Laura can save her brother is by making a choice - and that choice will change her life irrevocably. She can either stay as she is, a girl who is just a little bit sensitive to the weird, or she can Change Over and become a witch like Sorry and his mother and grandmother. And if she does, there is no going back. The magic is not less powerful for being less showy than it is in most books now - it's a matter of the right touch at the right time. Being able to do magic is therefore less about being super-powerful and more about having a little bit extra, that might be useful or might not, and tends to work alongside or with nature rather than against it. In some ways, this subtlety gives Changeover a certain creepy-factor that is rare nowadays; when magic is flashy, you lose the extra weirdness that comes from a situation where things that seem to be ordinary are not... but only just not, and in a way that you would only notice if you were looking for it.

The main character, Laura, is fourteen years old - she has family, school, and homework. She has to look after her little brother, and she isn't sure how she feels about her mother having a new man in her life (even though the man in question seems quite a decent sort). She also has a sort of strange connection with the new boy at school - Sorry (Sorensen) Carlisle, seventh-form prefect, son of the local rich family, and secret witch. And she sometimes knows when something important is going to happen.

One thing I particularly liked is that Laura and Sorry are well-written teenagers - their position in their respective families is believable, as is their relationship with each other. There isn't the sense that you get in some young adult books that the young protagonists are operating without any kind of adult authority; even with the greater freedom that children have nowadays, a fourteen-year-old girl still has rules that she has to obey or face the consequences (getting grounded, no pocket money, etc..,) and - of course - the story has to bend around commitments like school.

This is a coming-of-age tale, about taking responsibility, growing-up, and moving away - even if you stay in the same place. It also touches on the isolation of having a secret that you can't share with your family, and means that you might end up closer to the people with whom you share the secret - and what that might mean. ( )
  T_K_Elliott | Mar 12, 2017 |
She's a New Zealand author, and this book was referenced on the front page of Born Into Light.
............................
While waiting for a chance to read this, I've enjoyed many others by Mahy. She's definitely talented, and imaginative/ creative. Readers who like witch or ghost stories, adventures in the paranormal, and/or teen romance, will probably love this. but somehow it didn't resonate with me. I never felt immersed, or even connected. Otoh, when I was Laura's age I bet I would have loved it.

Still, a couple of lines: Canadians are Americans without Disneyland." Seems pretty naive, even from the mouth of a young teen character, even in 1983, but it's still cute.

"Given half a chance, babies are certain that the world wouldn't function without them. They know they're marvellous."" ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
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His hands curved in the air, grassy hills grew under them, arched like the backs of green kittens as he stroked them into existence.
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When her baby brother seems to become possessed by an evil spirit, fourteen-year-old Laura seeks the help of the strangely compelling older boy at school who she is convinced has supernatural powers.

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