Cooper, T. and Glock-Cooper, Allison. Changers Book One: Drew. Black Sheep. $11.95. 285 p. PB. 9781617751950.
—. Changers Book Two: Oryon. Black Sheep. $11.95. 285 p. PB. 9781617753077.
Ethan moves to Tennessee right before beginning high school. The night before his first day, his parents act highly suspicious. Even when he wakes up he can hear them on the other side of his door waiting for him. When Ethan gets up he finds that he isn’t quite himself. In fact, he has become Drew, a teenage girl. Ethan learns (and what his parents already knew) he is a Changer, a member of an ancient race of humans in which every year of high school is spent as a completely different person. Drew must chronicle her time during this V (a year of a Changer’s cycle), so that when it comes to her senior year she can decide which V she would like to be for rest of her life.
Changers live amongst the Static (people not part of the ancient race), and they abide by the rules provided to them by the Changers Council (there is a council for every region) and The Changers Bible. It is a little farfetched to believe that Changers could live amongst the Static and not be found out; there are too many rules to follow and simultaneously too many rules that can be broken. Also, the language used by the teenagers in the book seems a bit forced and unrealistic. Although this book has some flaws, it did leave this reviewer wanting to see what happens during the next V.
Changers Book Two: Oryon is the second year of Ethan’s Changer Cycle. Ethan has changed from Ethan a teenage white boy, to Drew a teenage white girl (chronicled in Changers Book One: Drew), to Oryon a teenage African American boy. During this V as Oryon, he gets to go through his second year of high school with the same classmates, but with a different gender and race, completely changing his experience. Oryon encounters racism, accumulates a different friend group, and attempts different activities such as football (as opposed to Drew’s time as a cheerleader). However, one thing has not changed, the fact that he still wants Audrey in his life (which is against the Changers Council’s rules).
The series is somewhat complicated. Not only do readers have to navigate Ethan’s Changer Cycle, but they also have to wade through a world with another race of humans and a whole other set of rules. Although there is a glossary of terms in the back, to fully comprehend the second book, the first is a must. The different V’s do give the authors the ability to grapple with some serious topics such as gender, sexuality and race. Oryon does face acts of racism, including an issue at the dog park and being arrested for shoplifting although he did not commit the crime. Also, both Drew and Oryon both have feelings for Audrey making love a matter of a person not a gender.
Not a necessary purchase for libraries as it is hard to tell who the right reader might be, but fitting for the high school aged.
Shelley Mastalerz, Teen Services Librarian
King County Library System, WA