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Changeling Paperback – July 17, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Changeling Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8–Sherman's tongue is firmly and delightfully in cheek in this contemporary fantasy that blends children's literature and pop culture in an effervescent witch's brew with a strong scent of edgy attitude. Neef, the mortal changeling first introduced in the author's short story, CATNYP (The Faery Reel, Viking, 2004), lives in New York Between, a parallel Manhattan of elves, fairies, demons, vampires, and other spirits. Stolen by fairies who replaced her with one of their own, she is protected by her fairy godmother, Astris, a white rat. With a nod to Cinderella, Neef sneaks out to the annual Solstice Dance in Central Park, breaking a rule and losing the protection of the Green Lady, the Genius of Central Park. Neef, as hip as any contemporary 12-year-old New Yorker, bargains with the Green Lady. If the changeling successfully accomplishes three tasks, she won't be thrown out of the park or have the dangerous spirits of the Wild Hunt after her. At the annual Eloise Awards for the Most Spoiled Child, Neef runs into her fairy changeling counterpart, who helps with the quest. The novel is delightfully full of allusions to children's books (the Water Rat and Stuart Little live in Central Park), fairy-tale motifs, and contemporary culture (the Green Lady talks as tough as a character on The Sopranos). Readers will love the feisty, irrepressibly optimistic Neef, delight in the sheer cleverness of the story, and never look at New York in the same way again.–Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Readers will love the feisty, irrepressibly optimistic Neef. ùSchool Library Journal

Plenty of urban hipness and a girl hero who thinks on her feet! ùTamora Pierce

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 740L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Firebird; Reprint edition (July 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142411884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142411889
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,679,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Changeling (2006) is a standalone fantasy novel. This fairytale is set in New York Between, a version of New York City with the same landscape and slightly variant buildings. It also has a very different populace, including almost every kind of mythical creature and even literary characters.

In this novel, Neff is a changeling. She was Kid-napped as a child from New York Outside by agents of the Bureau of Changeling Affairs. In her place, these agents left a fairy creature that looked like her, but who had a very different personality. Don't tell anyone, but their name is Jennifer Goldhirsch.

Now Neff lives in Central Park Central with Astris, a giant white rat who is her fairy godmother. Neff is the only mortal changeling within Central Park and has the protection of the Green Lady, Genius of the park. If you are not aware of the term, a Genius is the spirit of a famous place and is very powerful.

When the time comes for spring cleaning, Neff has to tidy her room. Yet Astris doesn't have the time to fetch the Blockhouse brownie. So Neff convinces Astris to let her go instead. She is finally big enough to have her own solo adventure.

Neff knows that it is foolish (and dangerous) to go off the marked path in the North Woods. Yet she turns off the path to follow a previously unnoticed trail. The trail gets steadily worst and finally vanishes at a swampy green pool.

A voice seems to come from the pool and sounds like sharp teeth and hunger. It questions whether she is tender and delicious. Neff immediately responds with the proper words, claiming the protection of the Green Lady. Sounding very hungry, a second voice complains about this protection.

The first voice belongs to Peg Powler, a bogeywoman.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this immediately after Valiant by Holly Black and enjoyed it immensely because they have similar themes and settings, but very different heroines. Changeling is more for the jr high/ MS crowd and Valiant for HS types. Both are urban fantasy taking place in New York City. To the other reviewer who wondered if you needed to live in NYC to understand Changeling, I'd say no more than one needs to live in Newford to read Charled de Lint's books.

Neef is a mortal changeling, raised in New York Between with a talking rat fairy godmother and a pooka fairy godfather. Neef gives them the slip and attends a Solstice fairy dance, so the Green Lady of Central Park withdraws her protection. Neef must go on a quest to get three magical items from three other Genuii of New York Between. Neef is helped on her quest by her counterpoint, the one the fairies left when they took her. She calls her Changeling, but their name is Jennifer Goldhirsch and she has Asperger's. She doesn't like to be touched, tends to freak out, is a very literal thinker. I hope Delia Sherman writes another of these; it would be real treat to see Neef in Jennifer's world. I have read all of Delia Sherman's books -- this is a real keeper!

As one who has read a lot about autism, Asperger's and changeling stories, is a special education teacher and parent of an autistic child I *appreciated* Sherman's frank discussion of Jennifer's difficulties. Autism and Asperger's were only named in the 1940's, but parents and others have been trying to come up with reasons for it for thousands of years. The changeling story was one of the explanations; a perfect looking baby, who around the age of 3 is no longer able to hold gaze, is slow to walk and or talk, or has speech and seems to loose it.
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Format: Hardcover
When you find yourself a New York resident living and worked right smack dab in the center of this magnificently overblown city, you being to lose your perspective. Sure, I was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but living in Manhattan is like drinking from the water of Lethe. I forget little things, like the fact that the world does not, in fact, revolve around NYC. So when I pick up something like "Changeling", I find myself in a difficult situation. The book is a heckuva lot of fun, but I have to remember that all the places in it are New York-based. My responsibility as a reviewer, then, is to determine how well "Changeling" will relate to a kid living in Alaska or Hawaii. Will non-New Yorker children enjoy this book? Well, quite frankly I can't see how they wouldn't. I mean, it's not the deepest piece of fiction you'll ever peruse, but it certain does owe a certain amount of allegiance to the form and function of fairy tales and quests. Plus it's fun. Did I mention that its fun?

We've all read plenty of stories from the point of view of Changelings in the past. Sometimes, as I'm sure you all know, a human baby will be exchanged for its fairy Changeling double. The Changeling will grow up as a human, never quite knowing why it's different from its fellows. Well Neef isn't a Changeling, but a child stolen by the fairies at quite a young age. Since then she has grown up in Central Park as the official Central Park Changeling. Her world exists apart from the world we live in, where all sorts of supernatural beings interact. As a human, Neef is naturally curious and when her curiosity upsets the Green Lady of Central Park (the ruling Genius) she comes in direct contact with the Changeling that once replaced her.
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