Skip to main content

Gender Blender

Review

Gender Blender

Who hasn't read or seen the movie version of the Mary Rodgers classic, FREAKY FRIDAY? I remember as a kid being totally freaked out --- as the author intended, by the thought of a body switch with (gulp!) my mother??! In Blake Nelson's GENDER BLENDER, the body switching fiasco is taken to the next level. What could be worse than switching bodies with your mother? How about switching bodies with your enemy?

Emma Baker and Tom Witherspoon weren't always enemies. They used to be friends when they were little kids. But now they're in sixth grade and everything's different. Emma hangs out with a group of girls who call themselves Grrlzillas. Tom only has guy friends who like to get into trouble and play sports. Emma and Tom are so different that now they can't stand each other. So when they get paired up in health class for a section on gender issues, neither of them is pleased. Their assignment is to spend at least 15 minutes everyday talking to each other and discussing how gender affects their lives. Not in their wildest dreams will they realize the crash course in gender issues that lies ahead.

It all happened because of the arrowhead that Tom found in the woods. He was carrying it around in his pocket when he decided to sneak into the gym after school and try out the trampoline. Emma, a gymnast, saw Tom there and wasn't happy about it. She was supposed to be practicing her routine. He wasn't supposed to be there! Emma and Tom both ended up on the trampoline at the same time fighting over who belonged, when all of a sudden, THOCK! Their heads smacked together and everything went black.

When they woke up, everything was different. VERY different. Tom was in Emma's body and Emma was in Tom's! What could be more challenging than trying to figure out how to switch back bodies? That's exactly the problem that Emma and Tom have to figure out. How can they undo this bizarre body switch --- fast?

GENDER BLENDER is told in the alternating points of views of Emma and Tom offering hilarious insights into the other's gender. And what couldn't be more appropriate than learning about their bodies (and their other bodies) in 6th grade? The story is fast-paced and hilarious. Both Emma and Tom's voices are endearing. They are quite naïve about the other's gender at the beginning of the book, but by the end, this is far from true. Their insights and revelations about each other's worlds are hysterical and sometimes sad.

Author Blake Nelson proves in GENDER BLENDER that in addition to his talent for the finely-tuned YA novel, he can craft a funny, enjoyable middle-grade novel. GENDER BLENDER will be enjoyable for both boys and girls alike. (And adults who want a good laugh too!)

Reviewed by Kristi Olson on March 28, 2006

Gender Blender
by Blake Nelson

  • Publication Date: March 28, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0385746962
  • ISBN-13: 9780385746960