Margolis, Leslie. If I Were You
May 12th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Melody and Katie have been friends for a long time, but when they are about to enter 7th grade, they have a tiff-- Katie has "dibs" on the cute Kevin, but Melody actually has known him longer and is secretly dating him. Both girls are unhappy with their home lives and themselves, and make a wish to be the other. At first, Katie is thrilled to be the pretty and shapely Melody, with her big, quiet house and mother who loves to buy her expensive clothes, and Melody is thrilled to be in Katie's cozy home with her adorable step brothers. The girls make the transition well, since they are best friends, and there are only a few goofs, like Melody forgetting that she is supposed to be vegetarian, and Katie not knowing Melody's past history with Kevin. The girls eventually realize that even though there are perks to being the other girl, there are difficulties as well, and by the end of the summer, each girl has a better understanding of the life issues her friend is facing.
Strengths: What middle school girl doesn't secretly want to be her best friend? This was fabulous, especially when the more mature Melody thinks that it's fantastic that Katie looks like she's 8! The friendship drama is real, and the families different enough to make this very interesting. Kevin is a great romance; the detail of his cherry Chap Stick obsession was great!
Weaknesses: I ended up feeling really sorry for Melody-- she sees her father once the entire summer, and her mother is obsessed with her weight. Katie's family isn't perfect, but they are least there for her. Melody doesn't have very much in the way of emotional support.
What I really think: I adore Margolis, and she has such a good understanding of what middle grade girls want! I am always looking forward to whatever she writes next. This was a good twist on the Freaky Friday genre.