Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

First let me say that I really love this story.  No matter what I say in this review, remember that I love this story.  I think that Amanda Hocking is a brilliant story teller and she is very bold for self-publishing.  (Although Amanda has recently had a series bought by St. Martin's Press.)  I'm going to start with the "worst things I found in the book" and then move on to the "best things I found in the book."  The worst thing I found is that the book seemed to lack a professional polish.  Perhaps this is due to not having an editor when Amanda first decided to self-publish. (I do not know that she didn't have an editor.  I am completely assuming she didn't.)  I found the book littered with over used words ("just" being the top of the list), over-repeated words (using the same word over and over in the same sentence, paragraph or page), and incorrectly used words (rod for wrought).  They all seemed to be common errors that an editor would have easily caught and corrected.  Not surprisingly, the biggest problem I ran into was that I was reading this on my Nook and I couldn't make editing notes in the book as I do with my paper copies.  (That's the former editor in me that insists that I can't leave a mistake unmarked.  I've even corrected grammar and spelling in a Tom Clancy novel - ooooooooo.  It happens.  Even to the best. But this is an e-reader issue, not Miss Hocking's issue.) 

Now for the best parts.  This is a wonderful story.  It is fresh, alive and unique.  The story moves you quickly through what is happening and Amanda doesn't let you forget about things left behind.  I was fascinated by her use of imagery and could easily envision the details in the book.  As I was reading I wasn't given unimportant information that didn't relate to the story.  So many times I am given far too much detail in a book and wondering why I needed to know that there was a bowl of grapefruit on the coffee table.  What does it mean?  Why grapefruit?  Amanda never once did that.  Every detail she offered was relevant in the story even if you didn't come back to it for several chapters.  I also loved reading a new look at an old idea.  I've gotten tired of vampires and werewolves that all seem to have the same sort of story as to how the creature came to be, how they live and how they die.  So many young adult paranormal stories have turned into watered down romances that just happen to have a vampire in them.  Switched is completely different.  I like this world Amanda has created and I look forward to finishing this series and moving on to some of her other work. 

If you are looking for a good quick read for the summer, this is an excellent pick.  Plus, most of Amanda Hocking's books are available through Barnes and Noble or Amazon e-books for the low low price of $2.99 and even 99¢ each.  So not only are they good, they are also very affordable.  Go support independent literature!

Currently reading: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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