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Parent Swap Hardcover – August 8, 2006

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9–Danny Bell, 13, is the kind of kid whom nobody notices. He would rather relax in a bath and read his favorite book about birds or daydream about the comings and goings of his made-up alter ego than engage with the real world. He's no slacker; rather, he's a victim of circumstance: his father, an alcoholic former rock star, hasn't left the house in two and a half years; his older sister yells at him; his younger brother lives for cartoons; and his mother left the family to pursue her career. When the teen finds an advertisement for ParentSwap™, a business that promises to change kids' lives by resettling them with a new family, Danny decides that this might be just the opportunity he's been waiting for. Soon though, he begins to wonder if the so-called business is an elaborate ruse. The presence of surveillance cameras in the rooms of his new household and the way the organization seems always to know what he is doing–these clues point to something even fishier than a parent-switching service. The narrative is broken up by interviews with the major players in the scam; their answers to an anonymous interviewer's prompts serve as immediate foreshadowing devices and as clues to what is really going on. This humorous and ultimately tender story examines the sense of powerlessness young people can feel in a world that seems controlled by adults and pokes good fun at the unreality of reality TV.–Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston
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Review

"A satisfying, entertaining spoof on both a common teenage desire and reality show culture."  --Kirkus Reviews
 
"Humorous and ultimately tender."  --School Library Journal
 
"Some priceless moments."  --Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (August 8, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374357528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374357528
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,839,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Five Key Facts About Danny Bell:

1) He wants to be Artemis Fowl. Well, not Artemis specifically, but he wants money, power and intrigue, and when he fantasizes about the life he wants, Danny refers to himself as Jay Daniel Bellingham.

2) He has a very dysfunctional family. His sister Kirsty has zero sense of humor. His little brother Robbie spends all his time playing computer games. Dad hasn't left the house in years, and Mum never comes home.

3) If he disappeared tomorrow, the only two people who would care are his friends Maddy and Rick.

4) One of his favorite hobbies is bird-watching.

5) He has decided to take on a new family via Parent Swap.

Four Oddities About Parent Swap:

1) Every family Danny visits has hidden cameras all over.

2) He tries a few different families, but none of them quite work out.

3) Parent Swap has an honor system that they never bothered to tell Danny about. Kids who make the "wrong choices" are sent back to their original parents after a warning.

4) His liaison at Parent Swap, Rafiq, seems to be affiliated with a company called KeepItReal TV Productions, Ltd.

Three Things That Danny Figures Out:

1) Parent Swap is filming his experience.

2) His life is now a reality TV show, but it's more Truman Show than "American Idol."

3) He's supposed to be the key to fixing some bad publicity that his new family got.

Two People Danny Enlists in his Quest to Uncover the Truth About Parent Swap:

1) Rick

2) Maddy

One Thing the Staff at Parent Swap Doesn't Know:

Danny is on to them, and he's going to spin things his way.

--- Reviewed by Carlie Webber
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Format: Hardcover
Have you ever wanted to live with another family? Have you ever been so exasperated with the parental units that you wanted to trade them in for new ones?! Well, that is the premise of PARENT SWAP by Terence Blacker.

Danny Bell is very tired of his family. His mum has left and his dad sits in front of the TV everyday writing terrible songs and remembering his glory days as a rock musician. His sister is argumentative, has a boyfriend, and is never home, while his little brother is suffering from not having enough attention. The apartment is a mess and Danny is the only one who is making an effort to try to keep the family together.

Then Danny gets a flyer which is advertising an organization called Parentswap. Danny decides to check it out. He goes and finds a business which will allow him to pick new parents. After a few weeks of contemplation, Danny decides to go through with the swap.

After he swaps, he gets the feeling that something is not right and decides, with the help of his friend and later his family, to find out what is going on.

I enjoyed this book because I know many kids who think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but when they get there they find that their own life may be a challenge but it is their challenge. All families have problems, and even when Danny thinks that others have the perfect family, problems still arise. I liked the story but I wish I would have found out what happened with all of the main characters in the future. It kind of left things better but not complete.

So check out PARENT SWAP when you are mad at your parents -- it may change your mind!

Reviewed by: Marta Morrison
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