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Game Changer

Review

Game Changer

Margaret Peterson Haddix, the author of the Shadow Children and the Missing series, brings readers into a compelling, enjoyable story that warps the brain with “what if” questions. Eighth-grader KT Sutton plays travel softball and dreams of her life plan as a player with her famous pitching arm. On the day of an important invitational, she takes two Advil for the pain in her shoulder and gets ready to focus. But after a pitch, she blacks out and wakes up in an alternate universe that has almost no sports. Her school now celebrates Mathletics and “Acs” for academics, and all students exercise during class. Her parents, who used to take her to every practice, camp and softball activity, now pay more attention to her smart brother, Max. KT does not know who she is in this world or how to get back to her own.

"Haddix puts plenty of humor in the new world while showing how unbalanced academics and athletics can be in schools."

With no memory of what happened at the invitational, KT tries to log on to a computer and get answers. None of her Facebook friends are connected to her anymore, and no website discusses softball at all; she is only able to find a reference that says the game is “rarely played.” Her old friends do not even want her to have lunch with them, instead preferring Evangeline, a young child genius who is now highly respected at the school.

Teachers now seem to be irritated with KT for doing so well at her exercise. She is warned about an email she supposedly wrote in this new world about how unbalanced the school has become. To create some sort of balance, she tries to form her own softball league, only to have no one come to play. Instead, Max shows up and she realizes he also knows there are two worlds. As they talk, they both decide something must have happened in the first world to spin them into the second. They are sure someone else must know the truth.

As KT and Max try to figure out what has happened, they come to understand that maybe things weren’t perfect in their first world. They consider that they were both missing out on opportunities. But both also realize something bad must have happened that they must face before returning. Now they have to band together in order to help someone else.

Haddix puts plenty of humor in the new world while showing how unbalanced academics and athletics can be in schools. In the second world, trophies have calculators on top, and schools have academic pep rallies. Readers will quickly sympathize with both KT and Max and may find themselves reading this in one sitting in order to find out what happens. This is a great book for discussion; teens (and parents) will also find themselves and appreciate the differences KT and Max learn to value.

Reviewed by Amy Alessio on November 8, 2012

Game Changer
by Margaret Peterson Haddix

  • Publication Date: November 12, 2013
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0689873816
  • ISBN-13: 9780689873812