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Switch

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A surreal and timely novel about isolation and human connection from Michael L. Printz Award winner A.S. King. Tru Beck is a teenage girl from Pennsylvania who lives in a world that has become trapped in a fold in time and space, where “real” time has stopped but humanity continues to mark artificial time based on a website called N3WCLOCK.com. Tru lives in a house that has A surreal and timely novel about isolation and human connection from Michael L. Printz Award winner A.S. King. Tru Beck is a teenage girl from Pennsylvania who lives in a world that has become trapped in a fold in time and space, where “real” time has stopped but humanity continues to mark artificial time based on a website called N3WCLOCK.com. Tru lives in a house that has a switch at its center. No one knows what the switch controls, but her father continually builds larger and larger boxes around the switch (Tru lives in Box #7). Tru leaves the box through a Tru-shaped hole to go to school, where she pays no attention to the new “Solution Time” curriculum. In fact, the only interesting thing that’s ever happened to Tru at school is when she discovers (on her first try) that she can throw a javelin farther than any human has ever thrown anything before in human history.


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A surreal and timely novel about isolation and human connection from Michael L. Printz Award winner A.S. King. Tru Beck is a teenage girl from Pennsylvania who lives in a world that has become trapped in a fold in time and space, where “real” time has stopped but humanity continues to mark artificial time based on a website called N3WCLOCK.com. Tru lives in a house that has A surreal and timely novel about isolation and human connection from Michael L. Printz Award winner A.S. King. Tru Beck is a teenage girl from Pennsylvania who lives in a world that has become trapped in a fold in time and space, where “real” time has stopped but humanity continues to mark artificial time based on a website called N3WCLOCK.com. Tru lives in a house that has a switch at its center. No one knows what the switch controls, but her father continually builds larger and larger boxes around the switch (Tru lives in Box #7). Tru leaves the box through a Tru-shaped hole to go to school, where she pays no attention to the new “Solution Time” curriculum. In fact, the only interesting thing that’s ever happened to Tru at school is when she discovers (on her first try) that she can throw a javelin farther than any human has ever thrown anything before in human history.

30 review for Switch

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    A.S. King has long been one of my favourite YA contemporary authors, though she has often skirted close to the line on how much surrealism I can take. And I have to say it: Switch was just way too abstract for me. There were times I had literally no clue what was happening. I managed to gauge what the author was trying to say with it all (to be honest, the author's note helped me out)-- and I do like the underlying themes of the way we use time to put so much pressure and deadlines on ourselves, A.S. King has long been one of my favourite YA contemporary authors, though she has often skirted close to the line on how much surrealism I can take. And I have to say it: Switch was just way too abstract for me. There were times I had literally no clue what was happening. I managed to gauge what the author was trying to say with it all (to be honest, the author's note helped me out)-- and I do like the underlying themes of the way we use time to put so much pressure and deadlines on ourselves, and especially on young people who haven't figured themselves out yet-- but that just didn't make up for a book that felt largely nonsensical. Or else dry as a bone. Many chapters of the book begin like this: Night Shift ZENO OF ELEA At rest / I am moving / with my crowbar. ROBERT PLUTCHIK Anger / Anticipation / the switch. I'm certain for some readers this is the height of cleverness, but I felt so emotionally disconnected from the story. I am familiar with the psychologists and philosophers mentioned throughout, but even that brought little clarity to the narrative. Parts were written in a weirdly disjointed format that was maybe supposed to be free verse, but I'd be lying if I said I knew for sure. I get that the incomplete abbreviated sentences are supposed to invoke a feeling of the rushed panicky sensation many people feel with regards to time, but it sure made for a dry read. More like reading someone's scrawled notes for a story than an actual story itself. Those with a high tolerance for surrealism should read Switch. King is good at what she does and it's a quick read, but this just isn't my cup of tea.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gabby

    I think I'm too dumb to understand this book lmao. I also didn't really connect with any of the characters. /: I think I'm too dumb to understand this book lmao. I also didn't really connect with any of the characters. /:

  3. 5 out of 5

    Vee

    my goal this year is to read the weirdest books i can find and this is certainly that

  4. 5 out of 5

    Max

    For a book with a very strange premise and style, I was surprised by how quickly I adjusted to King's writing. If there's any book being published this year that I'd strongly recommend you read an excerpt for, it would be this one. Penguin Random House has a free 10-page-ish sample that will really be able to test if this is a good pick for you. I think there will be very split reviews of Switch, but the controversial ones always make for the most interesting reads. What you can get from the des For a book with a very strange premise and style, I was surprised by how quickly I adjusted to King's writing. If there's any book being published this year that I'd strongly recommend you read an excerpt for, it would be this one. Penguin Random House has a free 10-page-ish sample that will really be able to test if this is a good pick for you. I think there will be very split reviews of Switch, but the controversial ones always make for the most interesting reads. What you can get from the description of Switch is that it takes place in a world where time has stopped. But I feel like there's more that can be said that can do the book more justice, because it also has a family-drama aspect, magical powers, and even a focus on javelins. It does a really good job at walking the line between dark topics and something more lighthearted. Switch is around 250 pages and has writing similar to poetry at some points, making it a very fast read. I've heard from others this is very on-brand with A.S. King's other work, so I'd definitely check it out!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Prepare to have your mind stretched as only A S King can stretch it. Things will not make a lot of sense in the first 40 pages or so, but that’s okay, because you know it will come together eventually and will be worth the wait. Appreciate the slow reveals. Appreciate the opportunity to embrace Zeno’s Arrow and Zimbardo’s time perspective theory and Plutchik’s wheel of emotions. Appreciate anomalies. And Bertrand Russell. And breakfast burritos. Appreciate the teens in your life. The Class of 2020, t Prepare to have your mind stretched as only A S King can stretch it. Things will not make a lot of sense in the first 40 pages or so, but that’s okay, because you know it will come together eventually and will be worth the wait. Appreciate the slow reveals. Appreciate the opportunity to embrace Zeno’s Arrow and Zimbardo’s time perspective theory and Plutchik’s wheel of emotions. Appreciate anomalies. And Bertrand Russell. And breakfast burritos. Appreciate the teens in your life. The Class of 2020, to whom the book is dedicated. And the Class of 2021, also having a fold-in-time kind of year. Appreciate the power of giving a shit about each other. Thank you, Dutton and Edelweiss, for the advance readers copy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carole (Carole's Random Life)

    This review can also be found at https://carolesrandomlife.com/ My feelings are kind of mixed with this book. I have read one other book by A.S. King in the past and enjoyed her work so I was eager to give this one a try. This was a strange book. Very readable but strange. It was a shorter book and I flew through it. I did enjoy the book but I found it to be a lot more abstract than I expected it to be. Truda lives in a world where time has stopped. The world has adapted but everyone is still sear This review can also be found at https://carolesrandomlife.com/ My feelings are kind of mixed with this book. I have read one other book by A.S. King in the past and enjoyed her work so I was eager to give this one a try. This was a strange book. Very readable but strange. It was a shorter book and I flew through it. I did enjoy the book but I found it to be a lot more abstract than I expected it to be. Truda lives in a world where time has stopped. The world has adapted but everyone is still searching for something that will get time moving again. All schools are now requiring a class where students will work on theories to solve the time problem. At home, Tru’s father spends his days crafting their home into a series of boxes while Tru just wants her mom to come home. Soon Tru discovers that she can throw a javelin further than anyone ever has and the rooms in her house are all turned on their side. It seems that everything in the world is off-kilter and needs a jump start to get back on track. I kept waiting for everything to fall into place and start making sense but I think that the message in this book wasn’t as clear cut as I had hoped it would be. The writing style was also quite different with a lot of sentence fragments which I think worked within this story quite well but it did take some time to get used to. I didn’t really connect with any of the characters in this story but I felt compelled to keep reading just to see how time would get moving again. I am glad that I read this book and I think that it could work well for some readers but others may have some trouble with it. This is a different kind of story and I found it to be quite imaginative. I wouldn’t hesitate to read more from A.S. King in the future. I received a copy of this book from the Penguin Teen via Bookish First. Initial Thoughts This was strange. Very readable but strange. I flew through the book and I did enjoy it but it was a little more abstract than I had expected. Tru is a teenage girl living in a world where time has stopped. Everyone is focused on getting time started again but in the meantime, the world has adapted. At home, her father spends his days crafting their home into a series of boxes while Tru just wants her mom to come home. It seems that everything is off-kilter and needs a jump start to get going again.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    I am a huge A.S. King fan and I was super excited to get this new release. The synopsis sounded strange but if you’ve read anything by her, you’d know that’s just her style. As an amazing author, she takes me on these incredible journeys in which, I see the world in a different light. Imagine living in a world in which time has stopped, you live in a house in which a switch takes center stage yet no one knows exactly what that switch controls and you have just discovered, that you possess a new I am a huge A.S. King fan and I was super excited to get this new release. The synopsis sounded strange but if you’ve read anything by her, you’d know that’s just her style. As an amazing author, she takes me on these incredible journeys in which, I see the world in a different light. Imagine living in a world in which time has stopped, you live in a house in which a switch takes center stage yet no one knows exactly what that switch controls and you have just discovered, that you possess a new talent. Picking up a javelin, you hurl that javelin like a trained athlete yet you haven’t had any prior experience. You’re breaking records as you throw, how can you do this? What is happening and why? Enter the world of Switch. Tru, 16, is dealing with some deep issues at home and at school. There is the time issue that the school is exploring. Working in the groups, they hope to find a solution. At home, Tru would like her family to be back together again. I was surprised how easy the door opened up at their house and people walked in and out. Tru also has to deal with her house shifting and her new responsibility of being on the track team. This was one book that took me a while to read. There were times as I read that I felt that what was written in the text was not the intended message but there was something deeper behind those words. I had to read this book over many days so I could really appreciate what was being said. The writing was unique with the use of a backslash to break-up the text along with the usual punctuation marks. It felt poetic at times as I read, the way the text came together. Time is the major player in the book and as I stopped, I thought how the author was addressing this issue. It made me think about my own time and how it applies to me. Make sure you read the Acknowledgments in the back of the book. This is not my favorite A.S. novel but this is definitely one of hers. I enjoy reading her novels as I’m really not sure where I will be going or where my feet will land but I know that while I’m away, my eyes will be wider and I will emerge with a different view and I will have enjoyed my journey. “The minute they put us in this building we’re expected to be something we aren’t. Interested / engaged / athletic / baby grown-ups with the will to be social and succeed in life. The building acts factory / as if it can turn out capable adults, and it will. Adults like Richard/ our rifle/ normal on the outside/interiorly, needs an exterminator. Adults like our sister / an assortment of bombs/ an anomaly to the truth. Adults like Mama and Daddy / broken and shamed for nothing but being human / having never been given human skills/….”

  8. 5 out of 5

    Maddie

    TW: adult/minor relationship, animal cruelty, body shaming, emotional abuse, family abuse (specifically from an older sister), mental abuse, physical abuse, pedophilia, suicide, toxic relationship. I see what the author was trying to do, it just didn't work for me, personally. There was also some triggering content in here for something I don't usually get triggered about, which I wasn't expecting and definitely could have been a key factor in my lack of enjoyment. But even beyond that, this book TW: adult/minor relationship, animal cruelty, body shaming, emotional abuse, family abuse (specifically from an older sister), mental abuse, physical abuse, pedophilia, suicide, toxic relationship. I see what the author was trying to do, it just didn't work for me, personally. There was also some triggering content in here for something I don't usually get triggered about, which I wasn't expecting and definitely could have been a key factor in my lack of enjoyment. But even beyond that, this book is just weird. Which is a trademark of A.S. King and not something I knew before going into this, as it was my first novel by them. So if that's something you're into, you'll probably enjoy this a lot more than I did.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    A little esoteric, but you get used to it. The universe has become stuck on June 23, 2020 by way of an anomaly in the space-time continuum. Soon after, Truda Beck's father discovers a mysterious new switch in the hall to the kitchen. He built a box around it. Then he built a bigger box to protect the smaller box that hides the switch. Since that worked well, he decided to protect his son and daughter by building boxes around their rooms, and then the main bedroom before deciding to just seal up t A little esoteric, but you get used to it. The universe has become stuck on June 23, 2020 by way of an anomaly in the space-time continuum. Soon after, Truda Beck's father discovers a mysterious new switch in the hall to the kitchen. He built a box around it. Then he built a bigger box to protect the smaller box that hides the switch. Since that worked well, he decided to protect his son and daughter by building boxes around their rooms, and then the main bedroom before deciding to just seal up the entire house. Don't freak out, people. It's all just... I suspect A.S. King had been feeling a little locked down while writing this novel. A little shut in, as though the world stopped moving forward and life was put on pause. Tru's family is highly dysfunctional. Her mom is a new-age flake who predicts the future and believes that crystals have powers. She also leaves the family at the first sign of trouble before coming back again weeks or months later. Her older brother Richard, a high school senior, may or may not have slept with a classmate of Tru's while she was in middle school. Her father, good intentioned but overwhelmed, is just trying to keep it together for the kids while holding out hope his wife will come back. There's also the oldest sibling: Sister is a malevolent force in the family causing physical, emotional and psychological pain. I liked this story, but I didn't love it - and normally I love A.S. King's books. She has amazing insight into the difficulty of teen life and writes in a voice that rings true. While all her books are brilliant and written in language that cuts, I much prefer her straightforward Contempo YA. Switch felt experimental and got a little lost in its own surrealism. Although I'm a little disappointed, I still enjoyed it and King will continue to be an automatic read anytime something new comes out.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Neil (or bleed)

    Actual rating: 3.5 stars x equals I don't know what to think x equals I will think more about this book Actual rating: 3.5 stars x equals I don't know what to think x equals I will think more about this book

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mallory

    My rating is rounded up from 3.5 stars. This is the oddest and most surreal book I have read in a long time. I can go along with some pretty wacky directions, but I think what through me with this book is I wasn’t expecting this level of surrealism from the publisher description. Despite the level of abstractness in this story I adjusted to the unique voice and style pretty well. Truda is a teenager living in a world where time has just stopped. It’s not like everyone is frozen, people give birt My rating is rounded up from 3.5 stars. This is the oddest and most surreal book I have read in a long time. I can go along with some pretty wacky directions, but I think what through me with this book is I wasn’t expecting this level of surrealism from the publisher description. Despite the level of abstractness in this story I adjusted to the unique voice and style pretty well. Truda is a teenager living in a world where time has just stopped. It’s not like everyone is frozen, people give birth, they live, they die, but every clock and timer in the world has completely stopped working. Of course someone invented an app that can track what time would be if it had not been frozen. Truda and her classmates have been tasked with a school assignment to figure out how to fix the lack of time passing issue. Truda lives in a very odd house where there are boxes and boxes and most of them protect a switch that no one knows what it does. I did like Truda’s character even if she comes across as a little flat at times, it felt like a part of her character and I enjoyed it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Fink

    Thank you Bookishfirst and the publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review. 1.5 stars I am not even sure what this book was about. The publisher's summary makes it sound interesting but in reality, the book isn’t about much. This whole book is just about flipping a switch in a house that is covered and separated by different boxes. Not sure why there are so many different boxes in their house because not all of them are protecting this switch. I am going to start with the one thing I did Thank you Bookishfirst and the publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review. 1.5 stars I am not even sure what this book was about. The publisher's summary makes it sound interesting but in reality, the book isn’t about much. This whole book is just about flipping a switch in a house that is covered and separated by different boxes. Not sure why there are so many different boxes in their house because not all of them are protecting this switch. I am going to start with the one thing I did 'like' in this book. Probably the only thing that held my attention in this story was the mystery surrounding the sister of the main girl and her brother. There is a battle they fight to try and separate themselves from the manipulation, lies, and abuse this sister has caused. She has told so many lies and for me, this added a nice suspenseful mysterious character to the story who you are trying to figure out. She is only briefly mentioned in the beginning but then we learn more little by little as it is revealed. This was done really well to help build some backstory to the characters and to add some needed conflict and feeling into the book. But now the things that I personally didn't enjoy in this book. It didn’t feel like a finished book. While reading it, it felt like a rough draft with only half a thought not fully formed and executed. This had a lot to do with how the book was written, which I have never seen before. Instead of writing things in complete sentences the book was written abbreviated with backslashes between each thought. A lot of the instances this was used was to resay the same thing in many different ways. Kind of how you would writing a book trying to decide which word or phrase to use. But instead of picking one this book has them all. Having everything abbreviated moved the story along so it felt like it was moving very fast from topic to topic. I would like this face-paced normally but sadly this book was faced past into more stuff that didn’t matter. At the beginning of the book, I was very lost with what was happening. Things were not clearly explained. The main reason it was so hard to understand was that what was happening made no sense at all. It took a while to wrap my head around what was happening. Then halfway through when something else happened I would go through this process all over again to try and figure the insanity of what was happening, and that isn’t good insanity. When I normally use that word it is in a good way by saying it was entertaining but this book was just plain weird. I really do not get the point of this book. This is very disappointing because the plot sounded interesting but how it was executed was very poor in my opinion. It was also very unrealistic. Yes, I know time-stopping is unrealistic but I mean with how the characters acted. Like the main girl could stop time, which randomly appeared with no explanation. It felt very thrown in and random. We have already read like half the book and then suddenly she can make everyone pause. The first time she does it, it is like she has already done it a million times. She doesn’t question it and then just continues to randomly do it with no explanation. Then when she would do things while everyone else was paused, when they came back to and had their things missing, nothing happened. They acted like it was all completely normal. This could have been used to further the story and develop some suspense and tension but nope, they again just accepted it without anything further. Then my main problem was the time-stopping part. This was also something that made no sense to me. Like this sounds like a very cool sci-fi/dystopian plot idea but how it was done in this book, took this idea and made it horrible. To be honest it was made so that the only real thing was that the clocks stopped ticking and technically it was June 23, 2020, but everything else was the same. The sun still rose and set, the earth still rotated on its axis changing the seasons. So with this new clock that was designed, I don’t understand how time stopped. Nothing was different then if time hadn’t stopped. So basically the story was just saying time stopped with nothing being changed or affected by that. Then the ending was a little better than the rest of the book but also disappointing. It could have been used to develop something very interesting but sadly it didn’t go that way. The ending was forced and pretty bland. TW: Suicidal Thoughts, Abuse, Rape

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This felt like the fever dream of someone who had been in lockdown for too long. (This is a compliment.) Time has become meaningless, or ceased to exist entirely. Who is at fault? How do we get time to start again? The adults seem content to continue pretending that everything is normal, but turn to the teens and demand that they fix it. Come up with a new system, or restore the old, either way, it's up to the young people to solve the problem that the adults can't or won't. I liked the fragment This felt like the fever dream of someone who had been in lockdown for too long. (This is a compliment.) Time has become meaningless, or ceased to exist entirely. Who is at fault? How do we get time to start again? The adults seem content to continue pretending that everything is normal, but turn to the teens and demand that they fix it. Come up with a new system, or restore the old, either way, it's up to the young people to solve the problem that the adults can't or won't. I liked the fragmented, stream-of-consciousness style of the writing. And I especially liked that everything hadn't been totally fine and normal before, that the only problem was that time had stopped. Parents still fought or were divorcing. Families were still struggling, with mental illness, with other issues. And a girl doing something remarkable was still seen as a trick, something to be investigated, debunked. Life sucks, but some things, and some people, can be fixed.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lisa | Lady_Logomancer

    Oh my gosh this book is so unique! I cannot even begin to explain this book, but I will tell you that I really enjoyed it. Tru is 16, she is our MC and narrator. Her home life is super screwed up, her school life is monotonous and unchallenging, she has few friends. Oh, and on top of the typical teen angst bullshit, time has stopped. For real, time stopped on June 23, 2020. Clocks inexplicably won’t run. Not even a stop watch or an egg timer. Time has stopped! So what do humans do? Reinvent time Oh my gosh this book is so unique! I cannot even begin to explain this book, but I will tell you that I really enjoyed it. Tru is 16, she is our MC and narrator. Her home life is super screwed up, her school life is monotonous and unchallenging, she has few friends. Oh, and on top of the typical teen angst bullshit, time has stopped. For real, time stopped on June 23, 2020. Clocks inexplicably won’t run. Not even a stop watch or an egg timer. Time has stopped! So what do humans do? Reinvent time. Sell you the new time. Make billions from the new time. It’s the American way! Meanwhile the world is trying to explain why time stopped and what to do about it. They have the kids in high school dedicating whole semesters of school to projects theorizing about time. Tru just wants to support others, and survive the pitfalls of Highschool unscathed and while she’s at it she wants to heal her family. She wants the time stoppage to be a signal to all of humanity to stop, heal and be kinder to one another. She discovers new abilities she didn’t have before time stopped. Others start to notice her for the first time. She pushes and pulls and fights to have her life make sense and to help her family put things to rights. She has so much grit and determination, she got right to my heart strings. Her dad also really got to me, they are wonderful characters. This book is written in a very unconventional style. It’s not really prose, it’s like couplets and stream of consciousness. It’s filled with forward slashes /// in place of punctuation and sometimes the slashes create whole thoughts. The name of the book is switch and it talks about all the meanings of that word, but the simplest is that electrical diagrams display a switch as a slash /// and it helps to direct the current, to direct the words and the thoughts through the book. Always going forward. It wasn’t hard to read, I thought it was very interesting and it added a lot to the distinctive quirkiness of this book. What would you do if you could throw away time as it exists? Invent a new time? Had time to fix things that always get pushed off because we simply have too much to do and not enough time to do it. There are some very profound thoughts in this book and it’s worth a read to gain a totally unexamined perspective.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bruna Oliveira

    Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for the digital copy in exchange for an honest review. Three things are important to know about this book: Tru lives in a world that it's stuck in a fold of time and space, so the real time has stopped - although they continue to mark a kind of imaginary time based on a website -, her father builds boxes around a switch they have in their house and she recently discovers she has the ability to throw javelin at school. It all sounds very confusing but it makes se Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for the digital copy in exchange for an honest review. Three things are important to know about this book: Tru lives in a world that it's stuck in a fold of time and space, so the real time has stopped - although they continue to mark a kind of imaginary time based on a website -, her father builds boxes around a switch they have in their house and she recently discovers she has the ability to throw javelin at school. It all sounds very confusing but it makes sense (kind of). I hadn't read her books in a while and when I saw what this one was about, I was so excited to read it and it was just underwhelming. Her writing is amazing as usual. It's very sensitive and lyric. She alsos uses slashes (the punctuation mark) sometimes, which can be annoying, but there's a point to them and I really like the themes that she explores here - I'd rather not say much since it's very short and part of the fun is trying to figure out what the heck is going on - although I'm not sure I liked the way she did it. There's also a lot of family drama if you are into it, which I personally like. The characters were a bit bland for me and I couldn't connect much to them and I didn't feel so hooked while reading because of them.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Reading this book is an experience that’s both unsettling and propulsive. Not sure how you’re feeling afterwards? Explore your feelings at N3WCLOCK (so neat): https://n3wclock.com Reading this book is an experience that’s both unsettling and propulsive. Not sure how you’re feeling afterwards? Explore your feelings at N3WCLOCK (so neat): https://n3wclock.com

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erika Lynn (shelf.inspiration)

    3 Stars See more on my Bookstagram: Shelf.Inspiration Instagram “The only thing anomalous about me / Truda Becker / is that it took me too long to show anyone what I was made of / now they think I’m made of magic.” - Switch. Tru Beck is a teenage girl from Pennsylvania who lives in a world that has become trapped in a fold of time and space, where “real” time has stopped but humanity continues to mark artificial time based on a website called N3WCLOCK.com. Tru lives in a house that has a switch 3 Stars See more on my Bookstagram: Shelf.Inspiration Instagram “The only thing anomalous about me / Truda Becker / is that it took me too long to show anyone what I was made of / now they think I’m made of magic.” - Switch. Tru Beck is a teenage girl from Pennsylvania who lives in a world that has become trapped in a fold of time and space, where “real” time has stopped but humanity continues to mark artificial time based on a website called N3WCLOCK.com. Tru lives in a house that has a switch at its center. No one knows what the switch controls, but her father continually builds larger and larger boxes around the switch. Tru leaves the box through a Tru-shaped hole to go to school, where she pays no attention to the new “Solution Time” curriculum. In fact, the only interesting thing that’s ever happened to her there is when she discovers that she can throw a javelin father than any human ever has throughout human history. Thank you to Dutton and Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! I have heard so much about A.S. King so I was excited to read this and see what they are about! This story follows Tru who, along with the entire planet, is stuck in a time fold. No one knows why this happened but everyone attempts to carry on like normal on this new time schedule. At the same time, Tru’s father starts to build box after box in their home in order to conceal a mysterious switch. The premise of this book was super interesting and I thought the idea of it was so unique! However, this story was a bit so-so for me. There is a lot I liked about it, and some that I felt was lacking. I wish some things were explained a bit more about this time fold, and I wish the characters and family dynamics were expanded upon (especially since that seems to be a major theme of the book). I did enjoy the way/ style this book was written in though. Overall, while this wasn’t quite my cup of tea, I do want to check out some of A.S. King’s backlist books that have been on my TBR.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    **Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Random House/Dutton Books for an eARC in exchange for an honest review of this title. This in no way changed my rating** **Please be aware there are some spoilers due to some content that may be emotionally expensive for some readers to handle** This was easily one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I started reading A.S. King's books about 2 years ago and have been slowly working my way through her body of work since then. While King is known for her w **Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Random House/Dutton Books for an eARC in exchange for an honest review of this title. This in no way changed my rating** **Please be aware there are some spoilers due to some content that may be emotionally expensive for some readers to handle** This was easily one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I started reading A.S. King's books about 2 years ago and have been slowly working my way through her body of work since then. While King is known for her work in the genre of Magical Realism, I think this one will be a standout in that it's very strange and I think will be harder for the average reader to grasp the message. In Switch, the main character, Truda "Tru" Becker, lives in a society where time has stopped. It has been the same day for approximately 9 months and high school students have been tasked with "finding the solution" to lack of time (or excess of it, depending on how you look at it). This situation will feel very familiar to people reading it when it is published as this lack/excess of time is similar to how many of us have felt during the COVID pandemic and subsequent shutdowns. However, there are (too) many extra plot points worked into the narrative. Throughout the book, we have plot lines including: -a shifting house full of plywood boxes created by Tru's dad -a never present on the page sibling who is a narcissistic liar. It is implied she sexually assaulted Tru as a child, as well -a broken relationship between Tru's parents -another sibling who is convinced he has done something illegal and continues to harbor those feelings due to the vindictive lies of the narcissistic sibling from before -Tru joining the track team and being amazing at javelin -Plutchik's wheel of emotions and how psychology will save time if people start to care about one another -Certain children developing anomalous abilities during the shutdown, such as the ability to fly These are SEVEN additional plot lines and some of them are not solved very satisfactorily. Personally, I feel the track and field/children with anomalous abilities could have been scrapped. I feel like they were included to help the reader come to the conclusion that time is a meaningless concept and that they should do what they love instead of bowing to time. However, I think the plot points here become muddied and make it harder to understand the metaphor of the house rotating and the grief/working through Plutchik's wheel that the family has to go through to grow and move on. I'm also unsure if Tru is meant to be an untrustworthy narrator? It feels simultaneously like she is and also like she's honest to a fault. The family members all have secrets that need to be exposed and worked through throughout the narrative, while Tru does not. So that makes me wonder if that was because she genuinely doesn't have one or because she's unreliable and doesn't share it with us as readers. The writing is very easy to read. It reads similar to a book of poems and has a lot of what look like stanza lines (line here/ line here/ line here, etc.). This makes it very quick, along with the length of the book being quite short. I'm sure the forward slashes are meant to be stand-ins for the symbol for flow of energy on a power grid, as she discusses energy quite a bit, but it does add to the readability of the title. All in all, while I think there are going to be people who are fans of this book, this wasn't my favorite of King's titles. The addition of too many plot points made it hard for it to topple favorites like Still Life with Tornado and Dig. However, I think this is a passable book about time as a construct which will resonate with those of us who have lived through this time period and will help explain that feeling to later readers who didn't. 3.5 stars/5 (rounded to 4 for Goodreads)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: mentioned abuse, implied molestation, rumors of statutory rape & talk of pedophilia 3 Time stopped a long enough time ago that no one really thinks it's coming back, and recently enough that people are still trying to find a way to survive it. Tru lives in a house made of boxes, with a family always on the edge of destruction thanks to a secretive brother, an abusive sister, an avoidant father, and a mother who left. Tru doesn't want anyone looking too close I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: mentioned abuse, implied molestation, rumors of statutory rape & talk of pedophilia 3 Time stopped a long enough time ago that no one really thinks it's coming back, and recently enough that people are still trying to find a way to survive it. Tru lives in a house made of boxes, with a family always on the edge of destruction thanks to a secretive brother, an abusive sister, an avoidant father, and a mother who left. Tru doesn't want anyone looking too closely at the oddness of her life, but when she discovers she can throw a javelin farther than should be possible, belief in new powers being granted in the timelessness makes it impossible to keep eyes off of her any longer. I have no idea what to say about this story because I have no idea what it's supposed to be. This is my first novel by A.S. King and while I knew I was going to be in for something weird and abstract, I didn't expect this level of either of those things. I liked some of the writing, it's poetic at times while also falling into casual tones and allowing Tru to have a way of speaking that wasn't floral or delicate at all. And I liked the concept. There are some dark tinges at the corners of things, as well as clear conflict right out of sight, and that's intriguing. However, a lot of it plays as weird just for weird's sake. It goes a little to far for me to comfortably follow it, with the rotating house and the "Tru shaped hole" she climbs out of her room- box #7 - through. There are places where it feels well crafted and meaningful, but it always falls either too short of the idea of goes too far over. I also thought Tru's storyline with the javelin didn't really go anywhere. It's a focal point that feels like it's going to tie in fully and never does. I don't get what it was supposed to mean for the story, and the end of that arc didn't feel like an ending more than it did a rejection that the arc was ever happening. And, mostly, I have a personal problem with this story. Because in reality I am a huge nerd about time, philosophically. The aesthetics of time and the communal meaning of time are two of the things I will jump up and down going off about it you give me the chance, so I expected some really cool deconstructions and deeper level explorations & analysis in a work that is so heavily focused on the abstract and time. But time disappearing doesn't actually effect much in this story. Time itself does not disappear- the communal idea of time just gets a few knocks. Clocks don't work, timers don't go off. The sun still rises and sets, everyone finds a new way to make clocks, "time" is not at stake here. It feels really cheap to me, and you could do so much more with the concept if you actually had time stop working. The past, present, and future all meshing into each other? Everything actually halting- the sun, the rotation of the earth, the processes that age things. It feels like a huge miss. I can see people liking this book for its more ethereal, metaphorical feel, but personally I didn't have much to take away from it, and was left disappointed.

  20. 4 out of 5

    orangerful

    I never quite know what to say about A.S. King's books. Her stories are both realistic and fantastical, grounded in our reality but also otherworldly. Trying to describe one of her stories is dangerous because it is the way the language guides you through the story that makes it so readable. I could briefly tell you the entire story of this book in a few sentences, but the meaning would be lost. Her books are both about the story and the meaning, the journey, the discovery. Switch is another powe I never quite know what to say about A.S. King's books. Her stories are both realistic and fantastical, grounded in our reality but also otherworldly. Trying to describe one of her stories is dangerous because it is the way the language guides you through the story that makes it so readable. I could briefly tell you the entire story of this book in a few sentences, but the meaning would be lost. Her books are both about the story and the meaning, the journey, the discovery. Switch is another powerful addition to her stories, taking the idea of how time stops - or how it never really existed? - when we need to work through the hard things in our lives. I don't want to tell you anything about this book, I want you to read it and experience it. It is unlike anything else you will have read before or probably again.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    This was one of the most entertaining/deeply felt/best excuse to read YA/top of the list books I've read this year. Thank goodness for individual taste in reading material! Possibly the reviewers who disliked/couldn't get into/discarded this book were never a teen/weren't living through a pandemic/get along fine with all their family/American/who knows. I enjoyed all the little digs and reminders about certain people who see only themselves and can't/don't want to look outside themselves to see This was one of the most entertaining/deeply felt/best excuse to read YA/top of the list books I've read this year. Thank goodness for individual taste in reading material! Possibly the reviewers who disliked/couldn't get into/discarded this book were never a teen/weren't living through a pandemic/get along fine with all their family/American/who knows. I enjoyed all the little digs and reminders about certain people who see only themselves and can't/don't want to look outside themselves to see how other people see/feel/exist. OK I'll stop now - I actually started to think and write this way after finishing Switch. I've had such great success with A S King's books that I was going to at least tolerate this one and it's been truly - Trudally? - such a fulfilling read, but I'd probably suggest to readers new to this author not to start with this book. For me it's a heavy-duty allegory for such a large number of concepts - the uses and limits of education, racial tolerance, mental illness, lack of honesty and self-knowledge, the burden of denial and shame, and not least, the present pandemic; and I had no problem at all understanding any of it while I spent time in Truda's "plywood tilt-a-whirl" world. I loved the concept of education as a weapon. Best of all was the catalogue of names each of the Beckers carried around - make sure you look up the meaning of Truda's lovely Polish name. x= A S King rocks x= there is maybe a twitchy little beating heart of hope for America I'm adding this to my future rereading pile, along with I Am the Messenger and Life: An Exploded Diagram. 5 stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lucie

    3.5 stars This took me a long time to finish and I'm not sure why because this was a relatively short read page count wise. I think I just was not really connected to the main character which was likely due to the writing style. The writing style is definitely not for everyone (most people?) and while I normally love weird flowery writing this was just too nonsensical for my tastes. As for the actual story I liked that this is clearly at least partially about the pandemic without overtly feeling 3.5 stars This took me a long time to finish and I'm not sure why because this was a relatively short read page count wise. I think I just was not really connected to the main character which was likely due to the writing style. The writing style is definitely not for everyone (most people?) and while I normally love weird flowery writing this was just too nonsensical for my tastes. As for the actual story I liked that this is clearly at least partially about the pandemic without overtly feeling like it, but a lot of elements of the story were left too vague for me to really feel like I knew what was going on. The javelin throwing and "special" children thing never really feels like it comes to a head and felt a bit pointless. As well as whatever happened with Truda's sister. I did enjoy how this story shows A.S. King's penchant for featuring very imperfect families. I'm discovering that I feel like she does that well and this book wasn't an exception. Overall if you're looking for a weird quick read that feels mostly melancholy but slightly hopeful I'd give it a read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sanya Zulfiqar

    I tried... The concept of this book is pretty fascinating - a world where time has abruptly stopped on 23rd June, 2020. An usual story, which could not hold my attention for long. Around 60-70 pages in I realised this book is not my cup of tea and could not read any further. The narration got confusing at times too.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nev

    I feel like I never have the words or the brain capacity to fully review an A.S. King novel. Her writing is bizarre, which I say with love. Her stories are full of surreal or fabulist elements that serve as a metaphor for things happening in the character’s life. Do I fully understand everything that happened in this book? Nope. It has to do with time / survival / what happens when trauma is ignored I enjoyed the arc of the story, watching the journey of the main character, and seeing how she pr I feel like I never have the words or the brain capacity to fully review an A.S. King novel. Her writing is bizarre, which I say with love. Her stories are full of surreal or fabulist elements that serve as a metaphor for things happening in the character’s life. Do I fully understand everything that happened in this book? Nope. It has to do with time / survival / what happens when trauma is ignored I enjoyed the arc of the story, watching the journey of the main character, and seeing how she processed the events that happened with her family.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    A.S. King is one of my favorite authors so I was always going to push through, but those first 30 pages or so did have me eye-rolling at the Extra-ness of it all. I'm so glad I kept going. This is a quick, rewarding take on the transformative power of giving a shit about one another. A.S. King is one of my favorite authors so I was always going to push through, but those first 30 pages or so did have me eye-rolling at the Extra-ness of it all. I'm so glad I kept going. This is a quick, rewarding take on the transformative power of giving a shit about one another.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Josh Hedgepeth

    How have I heard nothing about this?!

  27. 5 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    First of all, I think Switch by A.S. King was too smart for me, and I am pretty sure some of the point was lost on me. However, that didn't stop me from really liking it, and this is definitely one of the most unique books I have ever read. This list seems to be getting longer, and while I don't always appreciate bizarre books, for some reason this one really clicked with me. I listened to the audiobook and finished it in just an afternoon and I really had no idea where it was going or what was First of all, I think Switch by A.S. King was too smart for me, and I am pretty sure some of the point was lost on me. However, that didn't stop me from really liking it, and this is definitely one of the most unique books I have ever read. This list seems to be getting longer, and while I don't always appreciate bizarre books, for some reason this one really clicked with me. I listened to the audiobook and finished it in just an afternoon and I really had no idea where it was going or what was going to happen. King actually narrates her audiobook and I thought she did a dang good job. She obviously knew the tone she wanted for the story and it came across very clearly through her narration. I was fascinated with the fact that Tru could randomly throw a javelin further than anyone else ever, and I would frankly love to know where King got the idea of this book from. It is all about time and Tru being trapped in a box in her home that her dad keeps building around. I think this part might have been the hardest for me to understand, and even now after I'm done, I am still a little lost. I definitely need someone smarter than me to explain, but on an obvious level, I did slightly get it. I got a kick out of the fact that in the acknowledgments the author calls her books weird because that is really the word that popped into my head for Switch. It is weird, bizarre, and all the other words like that, but it was also strangely engrossing and held my attention the entire time. It is an incredibly short novel, and the audio was even a bit shy of 6 hours, so it is very easy to read or listen to it in one sitting. I liked the human connections talked about in the story, and I found Tru's family to be very interesting. Her mom would hold family meetings which is something I remember my mom doing when I was growing up too, and it was fun seeing that mentioned. King's writing style is very unique which added to the mysteriousness of the book for me and frankly kept me reading as well. This is definitely not going to be a book for everyone, but if you like odd books and YA, I think it would be worth checking out either in print or on audio! Thank you to NetGalley for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    intergalactic introvert

    “To understand anything is to understand energy.” Switch gets an automatic five stars from me because it incorporated so many of my own ideas and ways of thinking that it was almost like reading my internal monologue. An extremely surreal experience that I hope everyone can find through a book at some point. The writing style is unlike anything I’ve read before, including A. S. King’s other eccentric works. There are lots of slashes that separate different-but-related ideas mid sentence, like a sw “To understand anything is to understand energy.” Switch gets an automatic five stars from me because it incorporated so many of my own ideas and ways of thinking that it was almost like reading my internal monologue. An extremely surreal experience that I hope everyone can find through a book at some point. The writing style is unlike anything I’ve read before, including A. S. King’s other eccentric works. There are lots of slashes that separate different-but-related ideas mid sentence, like a switch. This definitely makes the book harder to read, but I personally liked it because it makes the prose more like poetry / a puzzle / an actual train of thought :) The first part is super preachy but this tapers off towards the middle. The plot isn’t cohesive, and the story feels very “slice of life” to me. But, time has literally stopped, so maybe that’s the point… On that note, I think the ending is very predictable. Considering all the strange and fantastical elements that happen in the lead-up, I was a little underwhelmed. I love that Tru exposes the cracks in high school and the education system. I think lots of teens will find this relatable. I certainly did! Finally, you’ve got to stretch your mind to follow this story. If you haven’t read anything by A. S. King before (I’d recommend starting with Dig. or Still Life with Tornado), nothing can really prepare you for this. But, again, maybe that’s the point. Some content warnings: pathological lying, implied psychological abuse and sexual assault, discussion of suicidal thoughts, rape and pedophilia

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tattooed Bibliophile

    Rarely do I finish a book in one sitting. But today I did. Switch by A.S. King (wait - is that a pseudonym for Asking???) I’m absurdly stupidly busy all the time and squeeze reading in like I’m stealing time, and ironically that’s what this book is about. A psychological sci-fi light novel about time stopping. WAIT, if you’re not a sci-fi reader this is still for you. The published synopsis will tell you this book is about a teenage girl who can throw a record breaking javelin throw and has a myst Rarely do I finish a book in one sitting. But today I did. Switch by A.S. King (wait - is that a pseudonym for Asking???) I’m absurdly stupidly busy all the time and squeeze reading in like I’m stealing time, and ironically that’s what this book is about. A psychological sci-fi light novel about time stopping. WAIT, if you’re not a sci-fi reader this is still for you. The published synopsis will tell you this book is about a teenage girl who can throw a record breaking javelin throw and has a mysterious switch in her house that no one knows what it controls. But that’s not what this book is about at all. This book is about mental health and healing and how people don’t SEE each other anymore. This is an onion of a book to be peeled in its many layers of depth and meaning. A book that will leave you questioning everything. “To realize the unimportance of time is the gate to wisdom.” -Bertrand Russell This is a book for anyone looking to further their world view in a single sitting through fiction. For a teacher looking for a book to add to their curriculum to really shake things up. It’s so... timely. So appropriate for the current situation of the world. I want to go buy as many as I can afford and drop them into a free book bin to distribute it to the masses. Luckily I have a platform for that! Dutton Books sent me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and I can honestly say 5 stars. 6 stars! I want you to read it so badly so I have someone to talk about it with. Do it!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    King is on par with Andrew Smith that I never really quite know what's happening. But I'm far more tolerant of King's storytelling than Smith's (though I continue to try!) King took on the challenge of having to explain a world that is topsy-turvy in 2020, so she creates a book with a science fiction twist on time and a girl whose father has built boxes around a switch that she wants to flip. The world is a cruel place. She's got a skill in throwing the javelin. There's family turmoil. She's goi King is on par with Andrew Smith that I never really quite know what's happening. But I'm far more tolerant of King's storytelling than Smith's (though I continue to try!) King took on the challenge of having to explain a world that is topsy-turvy in 2020, so she creates a book with a science fiction twist on time and a girl whose father has built boxes around a switch that she wants to flip. The world is a cruel place. She's got a skill in throwing the javelin. There's family turmoil. She's going to reveal the switch like flipping a pancake. Does she? And what happens if/when she flips the switch? It's a ride and the creativity is breaking the mold because it's not narrative and it's not prose, it's definitely literary. It's offbeat and not for every reader yet the experience of Truda is a teenage experience for many.

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