Cover Image: The Switch

The Switch

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Not a big fan. I could barely finish about 50 pages of it. It didn't feel like a teen book, but more like juvenile fiction.
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I've left feedback with the publisher -- the inclusion of the phrase "street monkey" propelled me to set this book aside.  Remove it....and THE SWITCH easily earns a 4 star rating and solid inclusion in Middle or Upper School collections ---- ideal for grades 7 and up --- and one that reluctant readers will be keen to absorb. The first person narrative allows readers to feel like they are delving into a personal journal --- Suspended disbelief is deftly crafted --- adventure, action, and suspense abound.  @noveltalk
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This book had an interesting premise that was sometimes hard to wrap my head around. It took a different spin on YA fantasy. There were no sparkly vampires or people hunting demons or anything like that. There were normal teenagers, learning that every time you made a choice, a world line was created where you made a different one. 

When Jacobus and his friend Connor discover a switch, they are given a first class look at these other world lines. The problem is, once you start traveling, how do you get home again?

While reading this book, I kept wondering if they were ever going to make it home, or if the story would end with them continually wandering. It really seemed like 50/50 the whole way through. It was interesting to see the differences in the world lines as each switch was pulled. 

There was one part of the book that was questionable if you have any religious beliefs, but besides that, it was a solid read that makes you think about how the little choices we make everyday can have an impact on the future.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Author: A.W. Hill, Nathanael Hill
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: 2017
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The most salient feature of The Switch that stood out to me is the voice that is employed in the story. This is a humorous, entertaining, and all-in-all believable young voice that I believe would engage many of the young readers I have worked with.
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Multiverse!!! So satisfied and happy and my imagination is firing all over the place and I wanna go on that ride again!!! Dialling ... 1-2-3-0-0 ...

I did the Dory thing with The Switch. I was so excited to read it and then before I started I got distracted by "ooh look, a book!". New ones piled up and while this one wasn't forgotten it lay in the middle of my brain trying desperately to climb its way to the top. So I'm late reading this one and kicking myself for it because I could've been living in Jacobus' worlds weeks ago! Well, I'm here now and wow, what a ride!

The moral to this story (option 1): If you see a switch in a red house on a truck that's not connected to electricity yet has a lightbulb turned on inside and there's a sign in Latin next to the switch, maybe pop those words into Google and translate them before you flick the switch. Unless you're Jacobus or Connor. If you are, just go for it!!!

As I was reading this book I kept thinking back to being obsessed with The Butterfly Effect when the first movie was released. For me, this was so many levels above The Butterfly Effect. The characters in this book weren't the only travellers. I travelled with them through all of the worlds and I want to experience it all over again. I don't know the last time I used this word but I kept thinking as I was reading that this book is exquisite. Father and son team A.W. Hill and Nathanael Hill have exploded my brain in such a wonderful way!

It is deep, so deep you could get in over your head if you don't pay attention but if you take the time to read carefully, you'll be rewarded greatly. The way that the knowledge of how travelling works is doled out in bite sized pieces is fantastic because otherwise my brain could have exploded from information overload instead, but as the characters learned more, I learned more. Then each time my brain said, "But hold on. How does that work? Why did that happen?", one of the characters would ask something similar and my answer would come, usually from sweet, adorable, geeky, wise, catcher outfit wearing Gordon.

I know just enough sciencey stuff to be dangerous but not enough to be able to discuss the scientific validity of the events in this book so I'll leave that for a different breed of nerd. However I was given the imagination bone (Huh? It's not a bone?) and from an imagination standpoint, the authors get a jumping up and down ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ from me. As a token of my appreciation I gathered each star from a different world for them and boy, was it awkward carrying them all home! 

Some serious thought has gone into the way the universes work in The Switch - which rules apply universally, which rules rely on whether you pulled a switch or not, which parts of you remain you regardless of the universe you're in.

I love a story that whets my appetite and makes me want to learn more. The Switch did that for me. I've had Brian Greene's 'The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos' calling me for way too long and I long to read that and then come back to experience The Switch again, this time as a sciencey-type person.

The moral to this story (option 2): The grass is not always greener on the other side. Who knows whether their grass is green or if they even have grass over there at all?!

In case you can't tell, I loved this book. I loved the characters. I loved the concept. I loved the execution. I love that it got my brain all tingly, wanting to learn. I love that it got my imagination doing gymnastics in my mind. I love the message that our choices have the power to change our world. 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley (thank you so much to NetGalley and Curiosity Quills Press for the opportunity) in exchange for honest feedback.

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This novel was unlike anything I have read before - and I have read a lot of books. There were plot twists that I didn't see coming, and ones that enhanced the overall climax of the story. 

I need to be honest - the characters in this novel did not meet my expectations. They are four fifteen year-olds who either acted twelve or twenty. The main characters, specifically Jacobus, were not as unique or developed as they could have been, and this really hindered my experience. We are reading about travelling between different worlds and alternate universes, but their personalities were much too flat.
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On the way home from school with his best friend, Connor, Jacobus Rose sees a red house that he has never seen before.
They both decide to enter it and find a huge switch. It looks very out of place in his house so they decide to pull it. After a couple tries because it’s really hard to pull, they finally succeed and fall on the floor.
When Jacobus gets up, he is surprised to see that Connor runs away from him.
He gets even more surprised when he gets home and finds that everything in his life is different…
He then understands that he has been switched into a parallel universe.

I mostly enjoyed this book. I found the plot to be interesting and unpredictable. The different universes were very well painted, original and interesting.
However, I didn’t really like Jacobus. He mostly annoyed me and I couldn’t connect with him.
The side characters were ok, but nothing more.
I really didn’t fall for any of the characters.
Also, I had trouble getting into the “science” part of the book. And it mostly sounded like illogical nonsense to me.
I also found there was many things that didn’t make sense to me and I finished the book with even more questions than answers...
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<I>Thanks NetGalley for giving me an ARC of this book. </I> 

GUYSSS THIS WAS MY FIRST REAL LIVE ARC AND IT DIDNT EXACTLY DISAPPOINT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I had a couple of issues with the book but it was actually really good!!

<b>THAT ENDING!!!!! </b>

Let's start at the beginning.

Don't you ever wish you could switch your life around? Cut out certain details to make it better? Well now introducing.... THE SWITCH!

See what happens is there's this tenth grade guy named Jacobus who's really not into some aspects of his life. Him and his best friend Connor stumble across this weird house that's <i>not even on the ground.</i>

Soooo OBVIOUSLY they check it out....


To find it empty. 
Save for one switch. 
Oh and a lightbulb.


So there's people are young and curious enough to pull that switch, which they proceed to do. Of course they completely ignore the Latin warning that's near the switch... 

But the switch doesn't even pull all the way. It takes both their combined strength to pull it down- and even then, not all the way. 

Then suddenly, Connor goes all wide eyed and runs away from Jacobus, which, obviously, is weird. 

Jacobus heads home, eager to devour the Oreos he had stashed. But there was only one problem.

In the place of Oreos were healthy snacks, and in the place of quarreling parents were two parents giggling over something on TV. 

<b>WHAT JUST HAPPENED? </b>

Jacobus realizes he's been transported to another world where his parents are happy together, his best friend is his enemy and his enemy is his best friend.

HELL YES, GIMME THAT WORLD JUMPING!

The story goes on from there! And YES he pulls the switch a LOT of times. 

Some adventures include finding mapmakers, saving a certain damsel in distress, and fighting off a large... Thing. (CANT SPOIL!) 

And the side characters are SO. WELL. WRITTEN!! 

But I had a few issues with the book. 

1) <b>A tad racist? </b> 
I could be wrong with this one. No, actually, I am. I don't think anyone would intentionally write in racism in their books unless it develops a plot. But... See that's the thing. Jacobus interacts with a lot of people, but something about how he introduced them seemed... Off. Racist. But barely.

2)<b>I am a kid at heart! </b>
I wish Jacobus was a 12-year-old. He's what? 15,16 right now. Tenth grade. But the high school thing didn't work for me.. It just seemed like he was a still not mature. Maybe that was the intention but tenth graders aren't really like that. The way he speaks, the way he thinks, everything! It just SCREAMS 12-year-old. It would've been SOOO much better, and much more scope. This was, at best, captivating, and at worst, mildly irritating. 

Still, I got the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy vibe, which was why I continued reading the book. The plot twists are good and story had totally improbable moments, which I loved. 

So yeah.. Not bad, but maybe hoped for better. Still, like I said, I'm glad this was my first ARC. I liked it.
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This book was so good, I barely have words for it. It really reminded me of Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter, though without the competing with your alternate selves element.

I loved all the different realities, and how they kept getting weirder and weirder. They all had really interesting concepts, and it was a great idea to kind of have a character from each world - Mose from Jerrold’s reality, Jemma from the dystopian reality, Connor from the beach reality, etc. Each had their own experiences and feelings, which contributed to a really interesting group dynamic. And everyone learned from each other, which is always important.

I loved Gordon! He’s probably the smartest youngest character I’ve ever met. I love scientific discussion about time travel/wormholes/alternate realities, and Gordon definitely fulfilled that, though I couldn’t always understand him. But neither could Jacobus or Mose, so it was nice to have some of it simplified. His catcher’s gear being his “protection” was a nice touch, because even though it seemed weird at first, it ultimately meant something to him, and the universe, as the Mapmaker gave it back. The Mapmaker was such a cool concept. They were so obviously wise, and I’m so glad they provided answers to questions the group (and I) had. I was so sad when Gordon was left behind, but it was nice knowing that he was doing an important job, one he was meant to do. And it was even better seeing him at the end! That was a really great cameo, and doesn’t leave the readers with questions about where/how he ends up. 

Jacobus was an amazing narrator. He was very personable and relatable. Like, he’s traveling through different realities, but he still felt down to earth. He seemed to be so persuasive, since he usually got his way - like when he went back for Jemma and Hartūn. Sometimes that felt unrealistic, because while he’s smart, he’s still just a teenager. I’d hoped that he’d be wrong at least once, so he could learn from the mistake and use that knowledge for the next time. I really liked that he based most of his decisions on his gut, because with all the talk of “the you inside never changes” it meant that he was still listening to his true self. I also loved that he learned as he traveled. He never pretended to be the smartest of the group, but he always listened to everyone’s theories and tried to understand everything, so he could step up when he needed to. I wish we had met his parents before he switched realities. He was very eager to get back to them, but since they were never properly introduced, I didn’t exactly know what he was going back to.

I also loved Mose. He kept the mood light with his jokes and teasing, but he was definitely much more than just comic relief. He contributed a lot and his vibe was very different from the others, which was a great addition to the group’s overall tone. Near the end, I was confused whether he would continue traveling or stay in Jacobus’s reality (because he wasn’t looking for home, he was looking for the world in which his mom was safe and happy), but I’m so happy he stayed.

Jemma was adorable. The sly smiles and coy looks to Jacobus in the beginning were so cute, and I’m so glad she was intelligent and capable - way more than a damsel in distress. She practically saved herself in the dystopian reality! However, Jacobus frequently said something along the lines of “Jemma isn’t scared, so I shouldn’t be either.” That’s awesome, but seemed unrealistic for how many shocking things they came across. Jemma’s allowed to be brave and afraid - isn’t being truly brave overcoming your fear to do what needs to be done? But she and Jacobus were really cute, and their “falling in love” didn’t take up an entire storyline, which was refreshing.

Connor wasn’t a very likable character for me. I didn’t think there was enough of him in the beginning to understand his friendship with Jacobus - which is enough for him to risk his life to save Connor - and his first true appearance (in the beach reality) didn’t make him look good. It may have been the drugged drinks, but even after, he wasn’t very nice, even to Jacobus, who saved his life. It would’ve been nice to see more of his character to understand why Jacobus loves him so much.

The idea of recurrents was fascinating. It was so cool to see these familiar faces popping up in unfamiliar realities, sometimes with completely different personalities. The Duke’s role in the dystopian reality gave me chills. When he seemingly breaks apart? I don’t have words. I also loved that Jemma seemed to be Jacobs’s anchor. Her appearances in each reality kind of defined those realities for him, and it’s amazing that he knew he needed to save her in the dystopian reality - and then she knew the real him! I didn’t have as much sympathy for Harkūn’s character as I feel I should have. His role in Jacobus’s home reality was a bad first impression, and we didn’t see enough of him in the second reality to reconcile that. Even the GameBoy element didn’t redeem him for me, because it was too short and didn’t feel as important as it could have. It wasn’t enough to understand why Jacobus had to save him.

It was quite a jump when they get to the dystopian reality; I wasn’t really expecting it. But maybe that’s what made it so good - I was really shocked when it was revealed that they all looked the same. Every element kind of gave me shivers - the Duke’s appearance, the zombies and their pursuit of the group, the bug-like guards, etc. It was all so fascinating that I was engrossed the entire time.

Finally, the ending was so nice! The group stayed together, everyone got to see Gordon one more time, and Jacobus got a new dog, which is always a positive. And I love that the science teacher started traveling through realities - kind of like the story is continuing on, even when the book is finished. Overall, The Switch was so amazing!
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Thank you to Netgalley and Curiosity Quills Press for an early edition of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Switch by A.W. Hill and Nathaneal Hill is about a switch; a switch that when used will allow the user to travel into different versions of their own universe. The young protagonist in the story, Jacobus Rose, is unhappy with his teenage life. He wants things to change. With the help of his friend, Connor, they flick a switch and begin their search for a new life. Little do they know how difficult and dangerous this will be. Meeting with more friends and banding together to form a motley crew, the reader follows Jacobus and his friends as they try to get back to their original lives, away from the chaos they find themselves in.

I really wanted to like this book. I really, really wanted to like this book and I am shocked I did not. I searched other people’s reviews and they are largely positive so I have no idea why I am one of the minority there. I thought the premise of the novel was intriguing and despite not being a fan of sci-fi, I thought I would read this and review. Unfortunately, my experience with this novel has proved that I am probably never going to be interested in sci-fi so I apologise to any sci-fi fans out there.

First of all, the writing divided me. On one hand, the authors are experts at setting the scene. Their descriptions were unique and artful all at once. I could see each universe vividly with no gaps in my knowledge. The post-apocalyptic universes that Jacobus and his friends find themselves stuck in were the best described and I actually wish the whole book could have been set in those interesting universes. However, the authors are not always artful. They fail in their writing in some parts.  Some of the scientific ‘mumbo-jumbo’ was far too convoluted. I understand if you are a sci-fi fan and are used to reading about alternate realities, traveling, multiverses, etc, but as someone choosing this as one of their rare sci-fi picks, I felt lost and excluded from the conversation. I had to stop several times and go back a few pages to figure out what on earth was being said. I still think I missed quite a lot. I feel that things could have been simplified as I felt there was quite a bit of repetition and some questions asked or answers given seemed misplaced and as if they were not necessary.

I did find a few positives to this novel.

1.The plot is so unique. The flick of a switch can transport you to a completely different universe, where you may never have been born or could have been born into a different family or different time. It’s very interesting. I have never heard of anything similar and that is what pulled me in. I would definitely give the book 5 stars for individuality.

2. The characters are great. There are 4-5 members of the motley crew and each have an interesting back story and have a unique bond with each other. All of the characters are likeable and you want to get to know them further, and the reader roots for these characters to find their way back to their original world. There is a small bit of romance as well as great bonding movements throughout which is something I like to see in a young adult novel. It was definitely a redeeming factor in a disappointing novel (in my opinion).

Okay so the part you have all been waiting for, why is this so disappointing? I just feel it is so convoluted in places. Not only do you have to read a couple of pages of multiverse or alternate reality talk and still have to go back and read it again to fully understand, but also the characters switch to so many different universes that you do not actually get a moment to enjoy and appreciate the places the authors are creating. The ‘hive’ post-apocalyptic world could have been discussed for half of the novel and it would have still packed the punch that the authors were looking for but you get a few chapters in this universe and then you are onto another one. Some of the universes were a snooze-fest and I am not going to lie, I used this book a lot as a ‘I am struggling to sleep, this will do the trick’ and you know you are not happy with the book when you cannot keep your eyes open reading it. Don’t get me wrong, I was reading page after page in some parts and was so involved in it but then it would take a boring turn and I’d be gone again.

I do not really have much more that I can say about the novel. Whilst reading it, I was dreading the review process because I did not know what to say or how I could say it. I am actually disappointed in my own review as I just feel I could shrug my shoulders at the book. So I am very sorry for a shoddy review but it definitely reflects my feelings.

My next review will definitely be more interesting (and well-written) as I am going to dive back into the genres that I love and can ramble on for days about!

Thank you again to Netgalley and Curiosity Quills for the early copy and I am sorry it did not work out.

I give this book a generous 2 stars based on the fact I liked the characters and the idea
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The Switch by A.W. Hill, Nathanael Hill is a book I requested from NetGalley and the book publishers and the review is voluntary. This book is a terrific sci-fi teen book that had me reading and loving every page! The characters were well developed and seemed like people you knew yourself. The science was introduced in a way that didn't overwhelm and was fun and interesting. The 'switch' came when one of the boys flipped a switch and the next day they noticed things were a lot different in their world. It reminded me of Quantum Leap, an old show on TV I loved with a touch of the movie The One because it was alternate realities of the same persons. Pretty heady stuff but a lot of fun. A great read all the way around. Lots of action, adventure, suspense, wild but wonderful plot, and great characters. Not much for time travel books but this was absolutely awesome!
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Time Traveling, friendship, defining what is ‘home’ and the unknown. Aren’t you the least bit curious?
There were so many uplifting moments to grab a hold of with this intellectually stirring story you’d be hard pressed to find anything wrong with it particularly thanks to the great character development of Jake and pals. They were so diverse yet so easy to see how their bond could form it made it easier to ride the journey with them. For a SciFi driven novel the heart of this story is its characters which felt so real you could believe in the multiverse without questioning the scientific or logical possibilities. It could be real right?

I can’t be the only one who thought of that really old show Quantum Leap as you’re reading this right? It did give me the feel of a mash up between that show and the Jet Li movie The One. Granted there are differences or maybe I just need to turn Hulu off at night and stop binging old shows/movies.

Aside from the time travel, which if you love the idea you’ll love this but if you’re tired of the idea just hang in there with me, cause yes it’s a time travel book BUT where the author’s talent lies is HOW that plot device really affects the story. Each time they flip the switch the world shifts so each time there have to be differences and similarities enough to know they aren’t in Kansas anymore but not enough so they don’t realize where they’re at and what part they play in this new world. It was actually a lot of fun watching how they set the scenes each time and intriguing to discover the new details they put into it as they not only had to alter the places but the people too from looks to personality changes and everything inbetween.

I liked it because it makes your brain work a little harder to mull over the scientific possibilities, the what ifs, would you take the offer to flip the switch, could you ever be satisfied with whatever world you find yourself in now, would you just keep flipping and the questions spiral on.
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This is like Dark Matter by Blake Crouch for the Young Adult world! 

Jacobus is a 15 year old that  is not happy with the life that he has. That is until he and his Conner decide that it would be a good idea to flip a switch in a vacant house. At first things seem normal but once he is home he noticed that his parents were acting weird and by the next day of school he realized that The Switch caused the life he knew to be gone. No matter how unpleasant his life was he wanted to get it back. 

I love how the science is given is small doses building up to a larger idea that would be impossible to understand without all the "education" we receive in earlier chapters. It has peaked my curiosity about some of the science it mentioned and I am not a big science person so that is saying a lot. 

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend reading it.
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Getting this as an arc from netgalley, I wasn't fully sure what I was getting into, which I don't mind. That is why I love netgalley, I get to find gems I would have never known about otherwise. 

This book was great and I loved the story and the characters. Jake was a great main character and I really connected to him, which is a huge deal for me as I read books. If you like time traveling, life lasting friendships, heartwarming moments, and finding their way back home types of books, you'll definitely love this like I did.
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This book wasn't bad, and it certainly has a lot of promise! Does the author, who I think really has potential with this sort of genre. I liked Jake, the lead character, and I thought he was a well put together MC. There were times throughout the plot when I felt a bit confuse and had to go back to double check things, but it was mostly cohesive all the way through. My one problem was that now and then it felt a bit laggy, and I'd find myself staring off into space or losing momentary interest. However, this was not a bad book and I think it could be really interesting for fans of the genre!
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