Changers, Book Two: Oryon by Allison Glock-Cooper and T Cooper
|Changers, Book Two: Oryon by Allison Glock-Cooper and T Cooper|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Book two in this series exploring identity sees the central character transformed from a white girl to a black boy, bringing new understandings on how others shape you in response to what they see, not what they experience.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: May 2016|
|External links: Author's website|
Ethan is a Changer. Changers are an ancient race of humans who change identities four times during adolescence before choosing a permanent persona to inhabit for the rest of their lives. Because of this, Changers gain insight into other people's lives and become better people because of it. They literally walk in another man's shoes, if you will.
In book one, Ethan, your average video-game obsessed boy, becomes Drew, a girl who has to deal with all the insecurities and challenges associated with being a female adolescent - bullying, boyfriends, even sexual assault. In this, book two, he begins his second year as Oryon, an African-American boy. Oryon experiences casual, everyday racism from his classmates and unwarranted attention from the police. He is brought face-to-face with a discrimination he'd only understood intellectually before. And understanding something intellectually isn't at all the same thing as experiencing it in person. He also tries to keep his relationship with Audrey - the girl with whom Drew had an intense-bordering-on-romantic friendship - going, despite opposition from all sides.
What follows is an exploration of a year in a teenager's life, as Oryon tries to navigate high school, his relationship with Audrey, and the ongoing politics of the Changers world. It captures the teen perspective as well as the first book did and you can't help but root for Oryon/Drew/Ethan and the difficult path s/he must follow.
I have to be honest. If you are looking for subtlety and a credible plot without holes, you won't find these things in Changers. As I said in my review of book one, the life-cycle of an ancient species of human has coincidentally evolved to exactly match an American high school career. I don't mind suspending some belief, but this is a little bit silly. There are many minor plot holes. The messages about diversity and marginalised groups who experience discrimination are more sledgehammers than themes. But you know. I feel churlish pointing out these things. Because we do live in a world in which marginalised groups experience discrimination. We do live in a world that needs more empathy. And any contribution to the cause of improving things is to be welcomed. Changers wears its heart on its sleeve and for many readers, it will be all the better for it. I can't argue with that.
I'll end with an invitation from the authors. Changers is more than a book series. It's an empathy project. If you agree with them - and me - that the world does need more empathy, then visit wearechangers.org to find out about the #unselfie mission.
If understandings of self and others are important to you, then other stories looking at issues of identity include Parallel by Lauren Miller, Flip by Martyn Bedford and Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman.
You can read more book reviews or buy Changers, Book Two: Oryon by Allison Glock-Cooper and T Cooper at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Changers, Book Two: Oryon by Allison Glock-Cooper and T Cooper at Amazon.com.
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