Transformed by Debbie Kump
(Summary taken from amazon.com) "Thirteen-year-old Jessica Davis’ dull and average life ends abruptly when a vivid dream turns shockingly real, exposing dangerous family secrets. Flung into a world of shape-shifters, Jessica must begin training on a remote South Pacific Island. At first, homesickness seems her primary concern as she forges new friendships in this lush, tropical paradise. Yet her situation quickly deteriorates when she finds herself despised by a vengeful classmate and haunted with frightening visions of the guy she loves. While confronting these challenges, Jessica grows to realize her true potential, eventually discovering that not only has her physical appearance transformed…but also her soul."
I like the uniqueness of this book. Yes, a girl goes through a transformation, but it isn't a vampire hunter or a werewolf or anything of the sort. It's different, which is good. The part at the beginning when she transforms is quite funny. Jessica's voice is well done. Now, it is teenage talk, but the teenage talk is done well. She adds humor and is a fun character. She is fairly well rounded for being thirteen. Shredder, Dylan, and Allison were done well also. Even though they are young, they are dealing with some very adult issues. Speaking of, I usually do not like political issues in children/middle-grade books because children aren't old enough to form their own opinions of certain issues. They don't have all the information and can't/don't usually make an informed opinion, they just believe everything that is set before them. Anyway, in this particular book it was ok because it wasn't the focus of most of the book, and it doesn't come across as bullying the "other side," which I would have a problem with. And, I'll just step right off that soapbox and get back to my review. It's a clever story with some interesting twists and turns. I do think that some of the kissing and such that goes on doesn't really fit the age group. I know a lot of thirteen-year-old girls and boys, and they don't usually go around kissing. They're just barely getting past the cooties and starting to form little crushes. So, that seemed a bit off, but luckily it only happened a couple of times. I do think the drama and emotions were very close to the norm though. There were some hard issues dealt with in this book: bullying, low self esteem, being different, dealing with your past, and standing up for yourself.
There aren't any swear words in this book; however, she does use the Lord's name a few times. She says, "Oh my.......," which may not bother some people but it does bother me. Luckily, it's really only a few times. There is some violence in this book. The characters fight the "bad guys," and people do get hurt, and a main character dies. There isn't any "intimacy," but there is some kissing and lots of thinking and dreaming about crushes.
I liked this book, I think my boys (11 and 12) will like it. It does have a female main character, but there are enough boys and action that I think my boys will like it. Girls of this age group will also like it. There are some grammatical errors, some cheesy parts, and some parts that aren't written the best, but it was a cute story.
Rating: PG+ (Fighting violence, using the Lord's name, some kissing, the death of a main character, but no swearing or "intimacy.")
Recommendation: 5th grade and up
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.