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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Young Adult and beyond
I first read this book when I was about 12, and aged 23, am still reading it every so often as it is simply an exceedingly well-written book. And I do not think "supernatural romance" does justice to this book. That implies trashy teenage slop - this book deals primarily with a young girl's coming of age and seizing of power. As I have grown older I have read this book...
Published on 13 Sep 2004

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars FIne
Delivered in good order - no problems thank you
Published 2 months ago by Emerald Mermaid


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Young Adult and beyond, 13 Sep 2004
By A Customer
I first read this book when I was about 12, and aged 23, am still reading it every so often as it is simply an exceedingly well-written book. And I do not think "supernatural romance" does justice to this book. That implies trashy teenage slop - this book deals primarily with a young girl's coming of age and seizing of power. As I have grown older I have read this book on with different insights, and what struck me most about my most recent re-read was how the book dealt with the themes of female maturity. Women in this book are seen as strong, inherently powerful. This is a book I shall definitely buy for my daughter.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite YA books of all time, 22 April 2011
This review is from: The Changeover (Collins Modern Classics) (Paperback)
The Changeover by Margaret Mahy is a rich, multi-layered tale that I discovered as a teen, and quickly fell in love due to its relatability- in addition to being one hell of a good read! During each reread it has delivered a fresh meaning to me and it's one of my all time favourite reads.

The Changeover focuses on the tumultuous changes that Laura, the heroine, endures throughout puberty and later in the story, supernaturally. The story begins when Laura finds herself and Jacko, her baby brother, caught up in the clutches of a demon (Carmody Braque) who has managed to imprint himself onto Jacko and who is feeding off his life-force. Laura is the only one who realises this and finds herself asking for help from a boy called Sorenson Carlisle at her school, who she knows instinctively is a witch. Sorenson is bemused by Laura's intuition, but decides to help her and Jacko by getting his grandmother and mother involved who are also witches. Although the witches, who offer help to save Laura's brother, make Laura pay a cost that would change her life forever. Laura has to become a witch in order to strengthen their coven by magically Changingover.

To Changeover Laura has to confront her personal as well as physical fears about puberty, prospective love and magical metaphorsis. She learns and realises that she is unable to stay in the confines of the past and her childhood. But she is resentful of the changes that growing up brings. There are also other obstacles from her own mother, who is moving on with her life post divorce with another man- even though at the same time there is something wrong with Jacko. However, these changes help Laura through her magical metaphorsis as it is the only way she is able to confront Carmody Braque, the demon who is killing her baby brother.

As a teen in the 1980s it was hard to come across books that had a leading female character I could relate to. One other book I think that came close to this was Alanna, from the Song of The Lioness Quartet (I will be blogging about this later). Her resentment, fears and ponderings of growing up were things I could understand and relate to. Here, is a supernatural tale of witches and demons in an ordinary setting. Laura may not be a kick ass warrior, but emotionally she is stubborn, resilient and loyal. She faces her fears to protect those she loves. Her relationship with Jacko and Sorenson fleshed her character out. It made her seem real. She is not perfect but she isn't stupid or whiny.

One of the main strengths of this book was Sorenson. As a male witch he feels he is the odd one out in his triumvirate family of witches, who have rejected him for being a male witch- so he ends up being put in an abusive foster home. Due to this he calls himself Sorry, but despite his past and prickly relationship with his family, he does try to portray himself as the perfect, well behaved teen. Although Laura sees through this facade. Sorry is a true rebel at heart and because of his strange heritage, he doesn't fit into the ideals or desires of what people want him to be. I think he was one of my first fictional crushes and his snarky anti-hero character was a joy to read about.

I think one of the scenes that stand out for me is when Laura and Sorry are at his library, and he shows her his collection of Harlequin/Mills and Boons books. His desire is to learn and understand what women really want in romance and love, yet he has a topless poster of a glamour model. I found this quite funny as I would have thought he would be the last person to read and collect romance books, especially dressed up in gothic clothing. Sorry then makes a pass at Laura, which has remained one of the most erotically charged moments I have read in a book.
Despite his anti-hero tendencies, Sorry wants a place to belong to and in addition to this, he has to face the feelings and angst of becoming an adult; and dealing with sexuality and love. Sorry isn't an idealised romantic hero and at times he can be a complete arse, but I think his romance with Laura is intrinsically romantic. Its real and it's messy. For me, he is one of the most captivating characters I have read about.

The Changeover is multidimensional and conveys many meanings, and my understanding of the tale as an adult is on a different level from when I read the book as a teen. It deals with the complicated factors of growing up, as well as being a dark and gritty read. It doesn't shy away from messy issues and things aren't tied up in a neat bow at the end. The writing is lush and rich, especially the description of the magical changeover that Laura goes through over the course of the tale. The imagery of rebirth and witchcraft elements was simply fascinating. Mahy juxtaposes the ordinary with the extraordinary, which make you believe that this could truly be real. This is a wonderful book that has remained with me throughout my teens and adult life, and it will always remain so. Only gripe I have is that I wish there is a sequel because I am definitely wanting and still wanting more from these characters.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little diamond in the rough, 11 April 2007
This review is from: The Changeover (Collins Modern Classics) (Paperback)
It's one of those books that you pick up for the sake of it. I didn't have very high hopes and the first quarter or so was pretty slow-moving and difficult to get into, but DON'T LET THAT DETER YOU as soon as I got over that mileage the book was brilliant.

It's witty and sparky and very very true- the style of writing, that is. To be quite honest the plot itself wasn't what kept me entertained. It was more of the sub-plots, the bubbling romance and Mahy's superb skills at writing dialogue and interactions.

I would reccomend this book to mostly girls from 12+ kind of age range, but it's tricky putting this into a catergory, I don't really want to because some of the themesare more mature and then again others are more juvenile. Everyone kind find something to love about this though. It's just one of those stories thaqt creep up on you and when you finish, you're like "wow that was really good". I'm only pissed because it's not long enough and I lost my own copy...

Oh and finally I have to thank Margaret Mahy for introducing one of my favourite fictional characters of ALL time, "Sorry"... you'll love him.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A firm favourite, 23 Jan 2006
By A Customer
I got this book out of the library about a year ago, as I had read Alchemy by the same author, which I highly recommend, and read it eight times in seven days. I usually reread books, but this one is special. You are drawn into the plot, and by the end feel yourself falling in love with Sorry too. The feelings Laura feels, and her reactions are things everyone can relate to-teenage uncertainty, romance and a longing to understand yourself. All the characters are transformed by their experiences, and their relationships with each other change too. This is defiitely a book to treasure no matter what your age-a true classic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book, 7 Jun 2008
This review is from: The Changeover (Collins Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I first read this book when I was about 12 years old, I'm now 28 and I still read it about once a year. as a 12 year old I found it captivating, mysterious & exciting, a near mirror image of all of my daydreams of adventure, magic and romance (only with a much better plot).one of those rare books that can make you laugh out loud or want to cry. It has good strong characters that you can identify with & beautifully mixes magic and adventure with normal life in a way that makes it totally believable. I never get tired of reading it again, bringing back all those memories good & bad of being almost a teenager & how my life was then. I've found with most books that on re reading them they lose their magic, once you know the plot they are never quite as good. However the changeover achieves the almost impossible, I still feel all the passion, excitement & fear that I felt when reading it for the first time. And to be honest even after all these years I'm still a little bit in love with Sorry Carlisle.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite and Classic, 14 Dec 2004
By 
Robin (Lincoln, England) - See all my reviews
This book is amazing. The writing is so simple and so beautiful that the images stay in your head for days after you've finished it. The story is about change and transformation, seen through the eyes of the very different main characters. Both of them is different at the end, and has a different place in their lives and their families. The romance between Laura and Sorry really moves you, because they learn to love themselves as they fall in love with each other. Also, the magic and danger feels so real and not stupid or made up at all. The best thing about this book is that when you finish it, YOU feel transformed too. I love this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still my favourite book, 28 Dec 2007
This review is from: The Changeover (Collins Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I first read this when I was about 13, and have re-read it several times, now after 10 years, it's still really good.

Laura knows Sorensen Carlise is a witch - has known since he first appeared in Gardendale Secondary School - and knows he is trying to look normal when he is anything but. When Laura's little brother, Jacko, gets "stamped" by an evil man, Laura knows that only Sorry can help her, and the way she sees things will be changed forever.

As with the previous reviewer, I have to admit that Sorry (especially when he is dressed in black) is one of my heroes!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully mixes magic, humor & romance with everyday teenage life, 21 July 2006
I first read this book when I was about 12 years old, I'm now 28 and I still read it about once a year. as a 12 year old I found it captivating, mysterious & exciting, a near mirror image of all of my daydreams of adventure, magic and romance (only with a much better plot).one of those rare books that can make you laugh out loud or want to cry. It has good strong characters that you can identify with & beautifully mixes magic and adventure with normal life in a way that makes it totally believable. I never get tired of reading it again, bringing back all those memories good & bad of being almost a teenager & how my life was then. I've found with most books that on re reading them they lose their magic, once you know the plot they are never quite as good. However the changeover achieves the almost impossible, I still feel all the passion, excitement & fear that I felt when reading it for the first time. And to be honest even after all these years I'm still a little bit in love with Sorry Carlisle.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical (literally), 3 Aug 2009
This review is from: The Changeover (Collins Modern Classics) (Paperback)
When a shop owner puts a stamp on the hand of her little brother, Laura's life changes abruptly. 3 year old Jacko gets sick and she is certain that the stamp is to blame. She is equally certain that Sorry Carlisle is a male witch and that her only hope of saving her brother is to become a witch herself.

One of my childhood favourites, full of mystery and suspense.
I'd recommend this one for ages 10 or 11 plus a few years. Those who are older may also easily enjoy this one, if this is their cup of tea.

I read and reread this one several times in my tweens and early teens (and I still have it in my collection as an adult). I never got tired of this story. Don't be scared by those calling it a romance, this is so much more. There is magic, supernatural powers, precognition, mystery and suspense.

One of the best children's books ever.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Changeover, 2 Aug 2004
This book has always been a firm favourite. I first bought a copy in 1993 and since then have reread it many times. The author has a charming narrative which still feels fresh and the quality of the writing and the lovingly crafted characters never disappoint. This truly is one of the classic teenage stories, intelligent, sensitive and absorbing.
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The Changeover (Collins Modern Classics)
The Changeover (Collins Modern Classics) by Margaret Mahy (Paperback - 5 Feb 2007)
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