Change Places With Me
By: Lois Metzger
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: June 14th, 2016
Rose has changed. She still lives in the same neighborhood and goes to the same high school with the same group of kids, but when she woke up today, something was a little different. Her clothes and hair don’t suit her anymore. The dogs who live upstairs are no longer a terror. She wants to throw a party—this from a girl who hardly ever spoke to her classmates before. There’s no more sadness in her life; she’s bursting with happiness.
But something still feels wrong to Rose. Because until very recently, she was an entirely different person—a person who’s still there inside her, just beneath the thinnest layer of skin.
If you emptied out your purse, wallet, desk drawer, pockets, backpack, beach bag, saddle bag, or fanny pack, what would we find?
Nothing very unusual about what’s in my pockets or desk drawers, but my small gray backpack is special because it’s the one I take to softball. It’s something I do every spring and summer on Saturdays at 6:00 P.M. on the Great Lawn in Central Park, NYC; my brother, children’s book author Steve Metzger, has held a permit for a field there for many years (some people used to call us the New York Metzgers). In the main compartment of the backpack, there’s my well-broken-in mitt, a combination softball-baseball mitt made by Akademia. There’s a large bottle of water I ration carefully during the game so I don’t run out too quickly. I have my black-and-blue New York Mets cap in there, and also what’s called an “umpire’s brush” for dusting off home plate. In the smaller compartment of the backpack, I keep a copy of the permit for the field, and sunscreen (always a good supply), and Bananagrams, which we play after the game when we go out to dinner.
What is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a pantster?
I always know before I start where I want to end up. But along the way many, many things change and keep on changing. Sometimes I keep notes beside me, not really an outline as such, but things I want to make sure to cover before moving ahead to the next part. If something is really important I underline it in the notes and put a star next to it.
Describe your book in 5 words or less:
Things aren’t what they seem.
What are some fun facts you can share about the characters from your book or the world you created for it that may or may not have made it to the final draft of the book?
Change Places with Me takes place in the future, but it’s the near future (the year 2029), so things can’t be overwhelmingly different; I wanted to “tweak” the present. Sometimes, though, in early drafts I went too far and had to scale back. At one point I added hoverbuses that flew several inches above ground. In the final book, they became hydrobuses, which run on the ground though on alternative energy. At first I imagined tattoos that could travel all over the body. In the book, a girl has a motion tattoo, but it only has a three-inch radius. I thought of having dogs walked on laser leashes, but in the book the leashes are plain old regular leashes.
Who was your favorite character to write and who gave you the most trouble?
Clara was my favorite character to write and Rose gave me the most trouble. Clara was kind of a bratty kid and I could relate to that. Rose is a very happy and cheerful teenager, and I had more trouble relating to that.
If you could ask one character in Change Places with Me one question, who would you ask and what would the question be? And is this question eventually answered in the book?
Epic Reads, HarperCollins’s online community for teen readers, came up with 14 “discussion questions” for the book that are so good I have to borrow one of them: “Rose asks a lot of personal questions of those around her, yet she doesn’t truly listen to their answers—why do you think that is?” I would like to ask Rose why she bothers to ask questions when she doesn’t listen to the answers. Not that I would get much of an answer. Rose would insist that she does listen, and then say something to prove she really hadn’t been. Rose does this kind of thing all the time—and yes, it becomes clear why.
Lois Metzger was born in Queens and has always written for young adults. She is the author of five novels and two nonfiction books about the Holocaust, and she has edited five anthologies. Her short stories have appeared in collections all over the world. Her writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, and The Huffington Post. She lives in New York City with her husband and son.
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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. The author image, info, giveaway, and more were provided by The Fantastic Flying Book Club.