Read The Changeover by Margaret Mahy Online


Carnegie medal-winning supernatural romance from Margaret Mahy.The face in the mirror. From the moment she saw it, Laura Chant knew that something dreadful was going to happen. It wasn’t the first time she’d been forewarned. But never before had anything so terrible happened. The horrifyingly evil Carmody Braque touched and branded her little brother – and now Jacko was veCarnegie medal-winning supernatural romance from Margaret Mahy.The face in the mirror. From the moment she saw it, Laura Chant knew that something dreadful was going to happen. It wasn’t the first time she’d been forewarned. But never before had anything so terrible happened. The horrifyingly evil Carmody Braque touched and branded her little brother – and now Jacko was very ill, getting steadily worse.There was only one way to save him. Laura had to change over: had to release her supernatural powers. And that meant joining forces with the extraordinary and enigmatic Sorenson Carlisle…...

Title : The Changeover
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780140365993
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Changeover Reviews

  • Jessica
    2018-12-30 09:14

    I love this book so much that when I could no longer find it at a public library, I hunted it down on the used market. (That probably doesn't sound like a big deal, but it's been one of my public library repeat reads since I was a kid; it was like an every three years ritual for me.)Do I still love this book now? Yes. It's scary, sensual (in a non-graphic way), smart, magical, empowering and in many other ways fabulous. Plus, it's set in New Zealand, which as a kid growing up in one of the landlocked parts of the US, that seemed kind of magical in and of itself. Anyway, I still vividly recall certain scenes, and the wonder of reading those scenes is still there for me as an adult. Here's a quote from one of those scenes. I'm not sure if it's my favorite, but it's a good representation of the heroine, Laura Chant, and her ally, Sorry (Sorenson Carlisle) as she makes an object of power under the supervision of the witch Winter (Sorry's mother):"Stamp, your name is to be Laura. I'm sharing my name with you. I'm putting my power into you and you must do my work. Don't listen to anyone but me." She thought for what seemed like a long time, though it was really only a single second, and in that time, oddly enough, the picture of the old, whistling kettle at home came into her mind. "You are to be my command laid on my enemy. You'll make a hole in him through which he'll drip away until he runs dry. As he drips out darkness, we'll smile together, me outside, you inside. We'll " (she found her voice rising higher and growing a little hysterical) " ... we'll crush him between our smiles." She looked up at the reflected witches and said nervously, "Is that enough?""Quite enough," Winter said, and behind the fine lace of her age, Laura saw a reflection of Sorry's wariness."Terrific!" exclaimed Sorry. "Chant, can I be on your side? I'd hate to be your enemy."

  • TheEagerReaders Violet
    2019-01-23 08:20

    This book is overflowing with excellence. From the perfectly described details of Laura Chant's everyday family life to her charmingly atypical romantic suitor to the threat of a truly sinister villain, The Changeover is a terrific coming-of-age story with a paranormal twist. For a novel written twenty-six years ago, this book does not feel dated, and it quickly found its way onto my favorites shelf to be read again and again. What I Liked:- The beautiful and precise prose. Even the mundane details of Laura's life are fascinating and lovely because every description is infused with personality. From the teapot that screams as if it wishes to be put out of its misery to the suburban tract houses that all look as though they are cousins, if not siblings. I read this book aloud to my husband & found myself stopping to re-read many passages just to enjoy the imagery. This book is not bogged down by lengthy descriptive passages or filler. Every word on the page is there to move the story forward or to actively enhance the atmosphere of a scene, and not a single word is wasted.- Everything about the characters feels authentic. From the way Laura feels about her parents' divorce to the way she interacts with her mother and younger brother. There is nothing forced or contrived about a single line of dialogue, and the emotional undercurrent running between each of the characters feels absolutely genuine from start to finish. It is difficult to describe how much I adored that.- Sorry. He is not your standard romantic hero, but he has a quirky, self-assured charm that is all his own. Socially awkward and notably conflicted, Sorenson Carlisle is a male witch who reads romance novels and somehow manages to be both overly confident and surprisingly vulnerable. He is honest but not necessarily safe. And he may have an impressive school transcript, but he still has a lot to learn when it comes to interpersonal relationships. I've enjoyed a lot of 'broken boy' romantic heroes in various books over the years, but Sorry jumps off the page as completely unique. I was thoroughly impressed by the way Margaret Mahy brought him to life with such an original voice, and I loved Sorry for his unfiltered honesty and his oddities. He is not quite sure who he wants to become or how comfortable he is embracing his own humanity, but the closer he gets to Laura & the more he sees the possible consequences of losing touch with your humanity, the more he begins to open himself up to some new opportunities (even if those bring new frustrations along with them).- Laura! As much as I adored Sorry for his flaws, I loved Laura even more for consistently calling him out on them! She is both an "every-girl" character with many of the standard worries and insecurities of a typical fourteen year old, and a strong, confident young woman who boldly sets out to take her fate (and her brother's fate) into her own hands. Laura grows up a lot over the course of the novel, taking several risks and making a number of difficult decisions. Her motivations and choices never feel artificial or unrealistic, and even the paranormal changes are used to such excellent metaphorical effect that they feel totally natural & believable. You'll find yourself relating to her and rooting for her from the very first page to the very last.- There is nothing fluffy about the romance in this book. Laura and Sorry are frustrated & challenged by each other more than they swoon and sigh over each other, and that fits the characters and their situation perfectly. I don't mean to imply that I dislike sigh-worthy, epically romantic love scenes in books. In fact, I adore those scenes when they suit a particular story & set of characters. In this case that wouldn't have suited the characters well at all, and I strongly respected the author's choice not to toss in a nonsensical fluff-fest. Even Laura's mother's romantic entanglement has a decidedly practical & realistic nature to it. And despite (or perhaps because of) the lack of fluff, I still found both relationships endearingly romantic and moving. - The dark & remorseless villain, Carmody Braque. (<-- How great is that name?!) Not only is he sly and frightening in the spookiest of ways, but he appears in a very commonplace setting, making him twice as terrifying. His particular style of magical wickedness is definitely the stuff of nightmares as he literally devours Laura's young brother from afar. Creepy with a capital "C"!What I Wished:- I wish I'd stumbled across this book ages ago! I would have loved this book as a tween/teen & it may have led me to discover the paranormal & urban fantasy sub-genre within YA literature long before I managed to find that section on my own. - I don't think the subtitle: "A Supernatural Romance" is entirely accurate. In my opinion, the romance, while lovely and an enjoyable subplot, is not the main theme of this novel. This book is about a girl transitioning into young adult territory & evolving into a new version of herself. Yes, there is a boy who helps that change along, but he is not the primary reason for the important choices Laura makes. He is a fairly important companion along this part of her journey, but he is not the most compelling motivation propelling her forward. So I think the subtitle is slightly misleading and may give readers expectations for this book that they will not find fulfilled. However, the romantic elements of The Changeover are memorable and hopeful (in a very realistic way), so perhaps readers won't feel misled by the subtitle after all.I would highly recommend this book to all readers, and I would particularly recommend it to anyone who enjoys paranormal, fantasy, or urban fantasy novels set in a realistic, non-fantastical world. Fans of Richard Peck's Blossom Culp books may like the way Margaret Mahy mixes magic with the common, no-frills world of an intelligent teenage girl. Fans of Meghan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series, may like Margaret Mahy's precise prose that is not at all condescending to its target audience of YA readers. And fans of Frances Hardinge's Fly By Night may enjoy Margaret Mahy's imaginative imagery. I was surprised and pleased by how much I loved this book, and I will be bumping Margaret Mahy's other novels up several notches on my "To-read" list because I enjoyed The Changeover so much.

  • Dylan Horrocks
    2019-01-15 04:55

    Two lines to demonstrate why I love this book:"Outside in the city, traffic lights changed colours, casting quick spells of prohibition and release."and"Given the chance to be cruel did you get cruelty out of your system by acting on the chance, or did you invite it in?"This book is beautifully written, but more importantly it is smart, wise, thoughtful, morally complex and intensely human. As a bonus (although really this is central to the novel), it's also shot through with a powerful sexuality; the sly, ambiguous, difficult pull and tug of emerging adolescent desire. The Changeover in this story has many resonances, and the transition to adulthood is a significant one. Mahy - as always - explores it with a touch of gleeful wickedness, without simplistic judgement, and with great unsentimental kindness.There is plenty of the supernatural in The Changeover, but as Sorry Carlisle says of himself at one point, sometimes "super-natural" means especially natural (rather than outside it). Mahy's characters are strange and unreal, but in ways we recognise. In short: wonderful.

  • Sherrie
    2019-01-09 07:01

    I read this book WAY back in like 8th grade, (were talking over 20 years ago) and although i generally DESPISE romances, this book has always had a soft spot in my heart. Maybe because it has a subplot about Witchcraft at a time when i was becoming drawn to Wicca. Maybe because its "voice" was non patronizing and dealt with issues often not discussed in YA lit at the time, like child abuse,personal transformation, and all the hormonal confusion that comes with emerging sexuality for adolescents. It presents it's heroine in a positive, empowering light. The heroine, Laura Chant, is overwhelmed by the events that unfold, but is unafraid to do what it takes to help her family, find love, and ultimately find her own niche, no matter how unconventional it is. Its honestly more about the transformation as opposed to the romance, and maybe thats why it appealed to me so much. I admit i liked this book so much as a young adult that i pilfered it from the school library, and have it still to this day.

  • Chachic
    2019-01-06 05:16

    Originally posted here.The novel is set in the 80s in Gardendale, New Zealand, where Laura Chant lives with her mother, Kate, and her three-year-old brother, Jacko. The story starts with Laura getting a premonition, a warning of sorts that something terrible will happen. She tells her mother who shrugs it off as irrelevant. Laura is forced to ignore it and she goes to school. At the end of her school day, she picks up Jacko at the babysitter's and they pass by an antique store on their way home. They go inside and meet Carmody Braque and Laura senses something wrong with this person. Carmody Braque looks particularly happy to see Jacko and proceeds to make his mark on Jacko's hand by stamping an image of his face on it. Jacko then becomes increasingly ill and only Laura knows that Jacko is being possessed by Carmody Braque. Laura feels that she has no choice but to go to Sorensen "Sorry" Carlisle, the seemingly harmless seventh-form prefect at her school, for help because she knows that he's really a witch.I'm so glad I decided to read this even if I had to order the book from abroad because it's totally worth it. I now have another book to add to my list of favorites. Even though it was written before I was born, I could still relate to this book and to Laura, as she undergoes changes that she's still coming to understand. It's not enough that Laura has to worry about adolescence, she also has to deal with the supernatural aspects of her life because of what happened to her brother. I love how Margaret Mahy handles Laura's coming of age story. The prose in this one is just lovely, I haven't read anything like it. The descriptions are very real and believable.The subtitle of this book is A Supernatural Romance so give me a moment to dwell on Sorry and Laura. Sorry is not your typical male protagonist. Yes, he's self-assured but his confidence really masks his fears. Because of bad experiences in the past, Sorry has chosen to be aloof and to curb his feelings. Laura even tells him that he doesn't have a heart (Didn't Sophie tell Howl something similar? I'm not entirely sure). But oh he is such a great character. He reads romance novels and is confused when his dealings with Laura don't go according to those books. I think Sorry and Laura are good for each other. They both go through changes because of the other person and that says something about their relationship. If it's not yet obvious, I highly recommend this to other fantasy fans. It's an oldie but goodie. Let me close this review with a tweet from Sarah. I tweeted her to let her know that I was reading The Changeover based on her recommendation. This was her tweet after that:@sarahreesbrenna If I ever write a romance like Gen/Attolia Howl/Sophie & Sorry/Laura I'll die happy even if my last words=Lots of alligators in this hatboxI hope you do write something like that, Sarah! I will be delighted to read it.

  • Wealhtheow
    2019-01-07 09:20

    Laura is a fairly ordinary teenager, dealing with the quotidian worries of being raised by a single mom without enough money in an unsafe area of town. She sees just a little bit more than most people, and when a strange old shopkeeper puts a handstamp on her little brother, she realizes that he's done something terrible. As her little brother Jacko gets rapidly sicker, Laura goes to the one person she suspects of witchcraft: the too-smooth prefect at her school, Sorensen "Sorry" Carlisle. But if she wants to save her brother, she'll have to do it herself--he and his witchy relatives can only show her the way.An absolutely fantastic book. Even as she's learning about magic, Laura is also dealing with coming into an adult-looking body, changes in her family structure, and the push-pull she feels with Sorry. (Sorry is a great character in his own right, as is everyone here--they all feel totally fleshed out and realistic, even though the book is short and quite focused.) I think if I'd read this when I was Laura's age it would have been a revelation to me. She struggles with so many of the things I worried and wondered about myself, in a very genuine way.

  • Kris Larson
    2019-01-23 10:54

    What I love most about this story about a girl who becomes a witch to save her brother is the way the heroine wakes up to the world throughout the book. Everything develops identity and importance, even telegraph poles and toasters."Every telegraph pole stood centred on a single leg gathering wires up, looping them over little stunted arms, and Laura felt her way into being a telegraph pole, or a roof rising to a ridge and butting against itself. The Baptist church squared its concrete shoulders, its doorway touching its own toes, carrying a great weight of square, white blocks on its bent back."And a brief warning: every edition of The Changeover is cursed with a terrible cover. Don't be fooled by it. It is your protection against people borrowing what will come to be one of your favorite reads; my own copy has a worse cover than most, which is the only way I've been able to hang onto it for fifteen years.

  • Rose
    2019-01-04 05:17

    Initial thoughts: This is quite a nice read :) I didn't absolutely LOVE it, but it's definitely really good.——————————————~I received a copy from Hachette NZ and willingly reviewed it~Laura Chant isn't normal. She receives warnings, feelings of premonition which only proceeds bad things. Sometimes, she acknowledges them; but sometimes she ignores them, and what happens after is always unchangeable, set in stone. To save her younger brother Jacko's life, she must talk to Sorenson Carlisle, the school prefect she knows is a witch. But this journey won't be easy...The Changeover is a short book, nevertheless a good one. It's not often that I read books set in New Zealand, with typical 'New Zealand' problems such as a single mum raising a child (or children!) alone, and lack of money. The book has a great storyline of ups and downs, however what prevented me from liking it more is actually just the fact that it has such an ordinary setting.Sorry (short for Sorenson) is another thing I really like about this book. His nickname is quite ironic I think, considering his personality which is unveiled bit by bit. I love his broken-ness I suppose, just the fact that his past still haunts him and certainly has stopped him into the boy Laura meets. His mother and grandmother have their own mysteries about them too; his whole family is an intrigue.One peculiar thing that occurs in this book is Laura telling her mother these supernatural feelings. Although she isn't really believed, in most Young Adult books the main characters just go off on an adventure with little regard or mention of their parents. In The Changeover Laura's mum Kate is still quite a big part of the novel even though they aren't always around. Margaret Mahy has created a next atmosphere in which her characters grow and inspire others.

  • Nafiza
    2018-12-28 12:00

    Still so amazing. Witchy but pragmatic. The prose is out of this world. I hope the movie does the book justice.

  • Hannah Knight
    2019-01-18 07:56

    This little book is a Certified Mess on multiple levels, and I enjoyed reading it very much. Should you choose to venture beneath the silver birches and poplars of Janua Caeli, dear friends, please know that you will likely say "yikes!" aloud and with increasing volume and conviction as you read.

  • Helen Corcoran
    2018-12-24 10:15

    This was awesome. I admit that Mahy's unusual stye takes a few pages to get used to, but once I did I was hooked and couldn't put it down. I finished this in a busy crepe place and didn't even notice the hyper children sitting beside me. Sorenson "Sorry" Carlisle may be one of the best ficitonal characters I've read in years. He's a hilarious contradiction and such a boy: charismatic and aloof; utterly bonkers and a reader of romance novels. While I got this from the library, I actually want to buy my own copy just so I can reread Sorry's lines whenever I want. And don't be fooled by the book's tagline of a supernatural romance--the romance in this is treated wonderfully. Laura and Sorry have no qualms about arguing even while slowly (and grudgingly) admitting their feelings; they're one of the best fictional couples I've read about in ages. Get this secondhand or from the library, or find a new copy online, just please read this. Margaret Mahy (who lives in New Zealand) needs to be far more popular than she is.

  • Punk
    2018-12-27 06:01

    YA Fantasy. An evil spirit has marked Laura Chant's little brother and the only place she can turn is to Sorry Carlisle, seventh form prefect and witch. I have read this book so many times I've lost count. It's the perfect mix of magic and romance and the mundane details of family life. It also takes place in New Zealand, which makes it all the more adorable to me, because Laura might find it boring but it's got a magic quality of its own. It's a very short book, but packs a lot in, and the ending leaves you with a good idea of how things are going to go from there. Laura's only fourteen, and she's a sensible girl. Sorry's three years older, but emotionally stunted, and there's a nice tension between them, sexual, but emotional and metaphysical as well. Sorry is other and Laura's the only one who really sees him for what he is. This is a perfect little book (if a bit excitable at times), and one of my oldest comfort reads.

  • Amelia Volkova
    2019-01-16 10:18

    I have been wanting to read this book for whole year, and now that I finally have read it, I can't stop grinning. It was so much better than I expected, and my expectations already were high as hell because of the movie trailer, that makes it pretty damn amazing. It doesn't even feel that it takes place and was published way before my birth.Now I really really want to watch the movie, hope it will be available in my country.

  • Mel Campbell
    2019-01-02 09:55

    I read this beloved Carnegie Medal-winner when I was a kid. I recently found it in an op-shop and bought it for nostalgia's sake, and then today at lunch I was sprinkling salt on sliced tomato on bread, and remembered this was the snack the Carlisle witches feed to Laura. It made me want to read the book tonight, and I devoured it in a single sitting of perhaps three hours.As a kid I focused on the everyday aspects of the book – the familiar place names and shops and habits – because I was searching for stuff to recognise and identify with. But now I mainly noticed that it's beautifully written, with a lyricism about the natural world. There's also something ambiguous and open-ended about the narrative: it ends on a satisfying, joyful note, but with uncertainty about where life will take our characters. I guess I should feel glad that it's a standalone novel. If it were written today, Mahy would probably have been encouraged to turn it into a seven-book series following Laura and Sorry's witchy adventures.I think when I first read it I was too young to understand what are some quite wise observations about love and sex. The book is also surprisingly raunchier than I remembered, especially since the protagonist is only 14. I remember finding Sorenson Carlisle unsettling – equally because he was older, poised on the threshold of adulthood, and because of his witchy powers – but now I can see he's quite a sexy and alluring character in a more conventional YA romantic hero sense. In the way his 'power' surrounds him like an aura, magnifying the appeal of his physical body, and the playful way he interacts with Laura, he reminds me of Jace, the arch, wisecracking supernatural hero of the Mortal Instruments books.I'm so ashamed to make this comparison! But in many ways, The Changeover is a much better written and less cringeworthy version of that well-worn trope: the cultivation of latent supernatural powers as as a metaphor for puberty and sexual awakening. It's a more modest story than today's big-stakes novels: rather than trying to prevent evil forces from destroying THE ENTIRE WORLD, our hero and heroine must merely save her little brother from one specific threat. Yet it's quite subtle and knowing about both adult and teenage relationships and about the responsible exercise of power, and its supernatural elements are grounded in the real world rather than in a fantasy shadow society overlying our own.There's something a little disquietingly Sarah and Goblin King about the erotic charge between Laura and Sorry, which I think I would have recognised even on a subconscious level, since Labyrinth was such an influential film in my childhood. Like Laura, I have a much younger brother whom I wanted to protect, and like Sarah I was wont to retreat into fantasy worlds from the dreariness of everyday life. I don't know whether to feel grateful or disappointed that I never had an older love interest with a whiff of power and danger to him. The changeover sequence itself was always my favourite part of the book – a surreal and sensual journey into the self. I enjoyed it just as much as ever this time, appreciating the satisfying sense of ritual and risk with which Mahy endows it. Like the best stories about witches (for instance, The Witches of Eastwick) it's a narrative of feminine sexual power. It's no accident that Laura's blood is described as "the juice of a girl", and that the virginal white shift she wears during the ritual ends up splashed with blood "from waist to hem". I was struck by some weird birth metaphors, too: that Sorry feels Laura's cranial bones rearranging themselves like a newborn baby's; and that his kiss reminds her of her little brother as well as "another unknown child somewhere in the future". Heady stuff.

  • Someoneyouknow
    2019-01-08 11:08

    Read this in 2008 and was horrified at how bad this book was. First of all, the plot seems dreadful to me : an evil spirit or whatever that creature was drains the main character's brother body of it of life energy, the main character loves her sibling, so she's willing to do whatever it takes to rescue him which brings her to Sorensen Carlisle (who's called Sorry throughout most of the book). Sorry!!! What kind of a name is that?! Either way, turns out the only way to help Laura is through a changeover that's supposed to turn her into a witch! Just one ritual and poof - she has super powers, that was hard for me to swallow. Using her mojo she vanquishes the villain, who, by the way, is really disgusting (I know that villains aren't supposed to be likeable, but really, why not make him charismatic or something?). Everyone is happy, the curtain falls, all the spectators leave.Speaking about the characters, Laura is your typical good girl, nothing interesting or remarkable about her. That's an archetype that's been done to death, do we really need another rehash? Sorry is mildly amusing, but I found him to be a bit too cynical for my taste. His musings about different things seem to contrast with Laura's shallowness and focus on her big mission aka "save the brother, save the world". Oh, and his stammering was very annoying!Jacko...he's this cliche happy bubbly energetic little boy who falls the victim of the evil "mastermind", but essentially just the writer's pawn to advance the plot. Laura's mother finds a new boyfriend (yay for her) and angsts about her son's sickness, that's pretty much all she does.In conclusion, I don't recommend this book for the aforementioned reasons. I'd rather read a novel that deals with more substantial and interesting topics and has three-dimensional characters.

  • Andrea
    2019-01-08 07:07

    Laura is a girl a little bit separate, with just enough of the Sight to see things which are different, to receive warnings about important things. She received a warning when her father left her family for another. She received a warning about Sorensen (Sorry) Carlisle - the ever-so-perfect prefect, who she knows very well is only pretending to be a model student to distract from his witchy nature.The biggest warning, however, is about her beloved brother Jacko, and she doesn't know what to do with it, can't stop the danger which threatens to sap the life from him. What she can do is ask Sorry Carlisle for help."The Changeover" is thoroughly described by its title. At fourteen, Laura is barely beginning to approach concepts such as boyfriends and sex. She hasn't yet come to terms with her father's abandonment. She's less than ready to deal with her understanding and friendly mother making something new with someone new. This is a story of growing up, letting go. Inevitabilities. But sometimes things happen which makes it necessary to take shortcuts, to swing a sudden right turn, and meet something different.There's so much I enjoy about this novel. The very real family relationships, the tangible awkwardness of fourteen. The language - Mahy makes play with words, sports with them, takes them out for games and whirls them home breathless. And most particularly this book has Sorry, who is so very much a teenager, and yet so very broken, and you'll love him most when he stutters, but almost as much when he is at the opposite end of his vulnerabilities, pushing limits because his heart was beaten out of him.Can't recommend this book enough.

  • Rachel
    2019-01-22 11:15

    This is the book that first introduced me to the supernatural. I first read it the year it came out (I was 11) and from that moment on I wanted to read more. It led me to fanfiction before I knew what fanfiction was - and WELL before the internet, when I tried to envisage what would happen after the ending (even though I knew it was finished), and pushed me on the path to reading Dracula and the multitude of vampiric, witchcraft-based and all the things that go bump in the night. It pushed me towards LJ Smith, Stephen King, Dean R Koontz and, much later on, the books by Sherrilyn Kenyon and her ilk.The story of Sorensen Carlisle and Laura Chant is one that has stuck with me, I have three copies of the book as my first paperback copy (purchased in 1987) is falling apart after so many reads. Even after all these years it's a book I turn to when I want to smile, wonder how Sorry and Chant are going to battle with Carmody Braque and win and also not end up hating each other. The romance is sweet and awkward as first loves are meant to be, and Sorry is the sort of intense hero that, at 11-16 I wished I could find for myself.A well-loved (by me at least) book that I read every year at least once because it's one of those books that I can't bear to believe I have grown out of.

  • Jeanne Stumbaugh
    2019-01-03 10:05

    This was the first Margaret Mahy book I ever read and I fell in love with this woman's writing within minutes of cracking open the first page.This is one of the books that is on my yearly reading list, meaning that I read this book every single year. Sometimes more than once.The writing is beautiful, and richly imaginative. You'll be reading along and it's good, plain writing, but then suddenly you'll find yourself tangled up in such gorgeous prose that you just have to sit there and read over it again a couple times just to savor it.The title states that it's a supernatural romance, and that's true enough, but it's way more complicated than that. It's a strange, modern-day hero's journey and one that, while the writing can be enjoyed by anyone, is intensely feminine in nature. It's a journey that every girl faces as she starts growing up. And it's through that journey, and coming in to her own, that she saves the day.It's a magical story, but it's not a wand-waving, the gods descending on earth, or some darkling hero adventure story. It's magical and subtle, and the story is told as much through nuance as through action.VERY RECOMMENDED!

  • Punk
    2019-01-23 05:59

    YA Fantasy. Laura Chant's little brother is being drained by a malevolent spirit and she's the only one who knows. Her mother takes him to the hospital, but Laura goes to Sorensen Carlisle, 7th form prefect and witch, for help.This is one of my favorite books. I've read it countless times, starting back when I was just a teenager myself. The last time I read it was August 2007, and I didn't have a single qualm about it. Six years later, older and wiser, I picked it up again but was worried that something I had originally thought was romantic would turn out to be creepy instead. It happens, and there is a little of that here. Sorry can be a dick at times, but Laura always shuts him down and often verbalizes why it's a dickish move, and she never feels victimized by it. She knows herself, and her autonomy, and refuses to let him take credit for her own decisions. So, apart from a few moments where I narrow my eyes at Sorry and maybe some lingering unease about their age difference, their relationship remains delightful, and this book is still everything I remember it being.Five stars.

  • Nancy
    2019-01-17 09:04

    Laura's life is complicated. Her father, absorbed by his new wife, never visits; her mom is beginning to see other men. Her little brother Jacko is acting strangely since they encountered a very unpleasant old man in a shop. And there's a boy at school that she thinks is probably a witch.When little Jacko becomes desperately ill, Laura enlists the help of Sorenson, the oddball boy at school, to find a way to heal him. I don't care much for Mahy's style - her characters talk in exclamation points (!!), and sometimes the writing seems sloppy rather than tight. But I did very much like the relationship between Laura and Sorenson, which is complicated, layered, and interesting. It's unusual to find a YA novel in which the younger, female character sets the boundaries of a burgeoning sexual relationship - and the older, male character moves from a sort of dominating attitude to one of respect. Sounds a bit prim? It isn't. This is a teenage novel that celebrates female strength and identity instead of dysfunction. Take that, Stephanie Meyer.

  • Sally
    2018-12-30 11:03

    This has to be one of the most influential books of my adolescence. Margaret Mahy is one of those authors who sometimes gets it wrong, but when she gets it right she's an absolute genius. The characters in this book are perfect - Laura, with her mix of insecurity and confidence, Sorry, with his air of mystery and tragic childhood, even Kate and Jacko, who may be secondary characters but who are just so well drawn. Not to mention Carmody Braque, who must be one of the most twisted villains in YA fiction, but who still has a human past. And I love the way Mahy makes ordinary suburbia so magical - a roundabout is a fairy ring, suburbia is an encroaching army; this truly is a modern fairy tale.

  • Jessica
    2019-01-13 10:21

    One of my favorite and most-read books from my childhood. I always thought a very dark, semi-gothic version of this could be turned into an interesting screenplay idea. I loved the relationship between the two main characters. The 'weird boy' from school turning into some sort of personal guide for Laura's changeover to save her brother. Although I always got kind of a 'Wizard of Oz' type narration from the book, it did nothing to deviate from the storyline of an original and fascinating tale.

  • Emilie
    2019-01-17 06:53

    Hiukan hämmentävä kirja. Jotenkin todella filosofinen. Kiva, mutta odotin suurempaa. Nuortenkirjaksi melko raskas, mutta kiinnostavan puhutteleva ja kryptinen.

  • Nigel
    2018-12-24 09:03

    When Laura's brother Jacko is marked by the revolting Carmody Braque and starts to quickly deteriorate as the life is drawn out of him, she turns to odd and infuriating Sorry Carlisle, Head Prefect at her school and, she happens to know, also a witch. But he can't help her, not directly. Nor can medical science, nor can her mother's new boyfriend. To trick the evil Braque she must become a witch herself.What an incredible storyteller Mahy was. Combining a suspenseful supernatural thriller with a teenage romance, filling it with spiky forthright attitudes to sex and maturity and love and adulthood, The Changeover is a terrific novel full of wisdom and insight about human nature and relationships.

  • Aimèe
    2019-01-11 10:57

    Libro bellissimo secondo me uno dei primi urban fantasy, non vedo l'ora di vedere il film, dopo così tanti anni ❤️❤️

  • Monique
    2019-01-04 10:15

    *I received a copy of this book via Hachette NZ in exchange for an honest review*I wish I had read this as a teen. The Changeover is a stunning coming of age tale with a supernatural twist that will have you hooked. If you're looking to pick up something that is written really well, has an old school vibe but still contains all of your favourite YA tropes, don't miss out on this book. Come fall in love with Laura and Sorry.

  • Has
    2019-01-04 08:20

    The Changeover by Margaret Mahy is a rich, multi-layered tale that I discovered as a teen, and quickly fell in love due to its relatability- in addition to being one hell of a good read! During each reread it has delivered a fresh meaning to me and it’s one of my all time favourite reads.The Changeover focuses on the tumultuous changes that Laura, the heroine, endures throughout puberty and later in the story, supernaturally. The story begins when Laura finds herself and Jacko, her baby brother, caught up in the clutches of a demon (Carmody Braque) who has managed to imprint himself onto Jacko and who is feeding off his life-force. Laura is the only one who realises this and finds herself asking for help from a boy called Sorenson Carlisle at her school, who she knows instinctively is a witch. Sorenson is bemused by Laura’s intuition, but decides to help her and Jacko by getting his grandmother and mother involved who are also witches. Although the witches, who offer help to save Laura’s brother, make Laura pay a cost that would change her life forever. Laura has to become a witch in order to strengthen their coven by magically Changingover.To Changeover Laura has to confront her personal as well as physical fears about puberty, prospective love and magical metaphorsis. She learns and realises that she is unable to stay in the confines of the past and her childhood. But she is resentful of the changes that growing up brings. There are also other obstacles from her own mother, who is moving on with her life post divorce with another man- even though at the same time there is something wrong with Jacko. However, these changes help Laura through her magical metaphorsis as it is the only way she is able to confront Carmody Braque, the demon who is killing her baby brother.As a teen in the 1980s it was hard to come across books that had a leading female character I could relate to. One other book I think that came close to this was Alanna, from the Song of The Lioness Quartet (I will be blogging about this later). Her resentment, fears and ponderings of growing up were things I could understand and relate to. Here, is a supernatural tale of witches and demons in an ordinary setting. Laura may not be a kick ass warrior, but emotionally she is stubborn, resilient and loyal. She faces her fears to protect those she loves. Her relationship with Jacko and Sorenson fleshed her character out. It made her seem real. She is not perfect but she isn’t stupid or whiny.One of the main strengths of this book was Sorenson. As a male witch he feels he is the odd one out in his triumvirate family of witches, who have rejected him for being a male witch- so he ends up being put in an abusive foster home. Due to this he calls himself Sorry, but despite his past and prickly relationship with his family, he does try to portray himself as the perfect, well behaved teen. Although Laura sees through this facade. Sorry is a true rebel at heart and because of his strange heritage, he doesn’t fit into the ideals or desires of what people want him to be. I think he was one of my first fictional crushes and his snarky anti-hero character was a joy to read about.I think one of the scenes that stand out for me is when Laura and Sorry are at his library, and he shows her his collection of Harlequin/Mills and Boons books. His desire is to learn and understand what women really want in romance and love, yet he has a topless poster of a glamour model. I found this quite funny as I would have thought he would be the last person to read and collect romance books, especially dressed up in gothic clothing. Sorry then makes a pass at Laura, which has remained one of the most erotically charged moments I have read in a book.Despite his anti-hero tendencies, Sorry wants a place to belong to and in addition to this, he has to face the feelings and angst of becoming an adult; and dealing with sexuality and love. Sorry isn’t an idealised romantic hero and at times he can be a complete arse, but I think his romance with Laura is intrinsically romantic. Its real and it’s messy. For me, he is one of the most captivating characters I have read about.The Changeover is multidimensional and conveys many meanings, and my understanding of the tale as an adult is on a different level from when I read the book as a teen. It deals with the complicated factors of growing up, as well as being a dark and gritty read. It doesn’t shy away from messy issues and things aren’t tied up in a neat bow at the end. The writing is lush and rich, especially the description of the magical changeover that Laura goes through over the course of the tale. The imagery of rebirth and witchcraft elements was simply fascinating. Mahy juxtaposes the ordinary with the extraordinary, which make you believe that this could truly be real. This is a wonderful book that has remained with me throughout my teens and adult life, and it will always remain so. Only gripe I have is that I wish there is a sequel because I am definitely wanting and still wanting more from these characters.

  • Mya
    2018-12-30 07:21

    Forgot how much I loved the lyricalness of Margaret Mahy's writing. Was great to reread an old childhood favourite.

  • Goddess Of Blah
    2019-01-12 12:18

    If I'd read this as a kid I'd most probably would have loved it and due to teenage nostalgia rated it 5*. However, as an adult you are aware of the poor writing style. Most adults would attest that books catered for children can possess sophisticated writing - try Diane Wayne Jones (Fire & Hemlock is a similar-ish book, however, with depth, evocative descriptions, well paced, the correct amount of angst, and an intricate plot and amazing delivery). The Plot:"Set in a fairly new suburb of Christchurch called Gardendale. It has a fairy-tale plot, with a devoted sister risking her life to save her bewitched brother. In some respects a coming-of-age story, it is also an unconventional romance between an aloof and difficult boy who happens to be a male witch and a strong-willed, psychically sensitive schoolgirl."The plot was pretty good, however, I felt that the author didn't really invest into the story. The subplots dominated the actual main plot (sister saving brother from demon), such as the protagonist's domestic/family life, her budding romance (with Sorry), and Sorry's own domestic chaos and angst. Basically, there were far too many subplots for a short-ish story, while the main plot wasn't fleshed out - it was compromised. The Main Characters:The protagonist - Laura Chant, is a Sensitive (someone who can sense the supernatural elements). I don't think the author invested in her character as much. We know she's olive toned with "woolly" hair (I'm assuming she means she has unruly bushy hair) due to her Maori ancestor 8 generations ago. We have an inkling that she has a playboy body (slim but with all the right curves - although the author is far more subtle using "well developed", "voluptuous" and so forth). And that she's pretty but not beautiful. But other than that her character is rather dull. She's not from a conventional-cereal-commercial-family (would be righteously rude to call it dysfunctional). Her father is an absentee a-hole and her mother is unintentionally self-absorbed (or just irresponsible). Then there is her mother's recently acquired boyfriend (she meets him and within minutes they are in love and he's brought home to meet the youngsters), there's her father's new wife (she's not much of a character), the babysitter (a nosy critical busybody) and then there's Jacko - Laura's 3 year old brother. This tableau forms the remnants of domestic bliss - and takes up a good proportion of the story. Laura is resentful of her parents and it's rather difficult to feel much empathy for them. The author doesn't attribute great qualities to either - rather they are manifested as being weak. I think in the end Laura acquires an understanding of her parents which consists of an indifferent superiority combined with a touch of sympathy for their weaknesses. Hence, Laura's "Changeover" is more than supernatural - it's a transition from child to adult and an adult's understanding of human error and weakness. Sorenson Carlisle (aka Sorry) is a male witch. He has a rather tragic and dark history and this emerges as we get to know him better. Remnants of his character is used in many romance novels (or perhaps remnants of his character are taken from a popular hero recipe). He's not quite a Mr Darcy, however, he does possess that aloof superiority combined with cutting prose and being a Prefect from a well-to-do background - I can see some resemblance. He's very sarcastic, rather well spoken and enjoys witty banter (like Jace from Mortal Instruments). However, he's also a bit of a bad boy, unbeknownst to anyone at school (the Prefect portrayal is a facade). He rides a motorbike, can perform powerful magic and can charm the ladies. He's a well worked out paradox - he possess elements of Lord Byron, Darcy, Heathcliff and Mr Rochester. The author is very clever in combining these elements without losing consistency. She's executed his character in a manner that he can be the stammering Prefect schoolboy and the dangerous debonair male witch without losing focus.In addition to Sorry, there is his family - his mother and grandmother.Carmody Braque - the Demon - he sucks the life out of people (in this instance he's captured the heroine's brother Jacko's life force). He's a rather gentlemanly jolly type. I imagine him as an elderly professor type, wearing tweed, smiling benevolently, but rather cunning. It's here that the author loses focus. She focuses far too much in Laura's domestic disputes that we don't really get to know the demon. The encounters with him were far too contrived and not given much depth. As a character he's well described and I have an excellent image of him. However, for a demon who's been around for a millennia he appears far too naive.Otherwise an ok book.

  • Rachel
    2019-01-21 11:08

    From all the excited chat I'd read about this book, I was expecting it to be the seminal YA romance. What I got ... was cracked-out, leftover-seventies hippie bullshit.Let's examine this: The 'magic' in the story involves drinking herbal concotions and getting high. Throw in some meditation and 'inner landscape' focuses and they might as well be wandering around in flares and discovering the word 'dude'.(view spoiler)[The original witches, Winter and Miryam, are focused on saving their ... farm. I can't say I really feel this. (In other words, make me give a shit.) I can all too easily imagine them dancing 'moon-clad' with the cows, though. There is a smug emphasis on how the terrible commerical beast has taken over all these lovely fields and ... fields, and other fields. YAY FIELDS! is the message. Me, I'm more for: internet connections, television coverage, loads of shops with a huge variety of (gasp! horror!) disposable goods and cars - you know, those things that get you places really fast. I am whatever the opposite of an eco-warrior is, for good reason. I hate the outdoors. Mahy did not even attempt to sell me on their greatness and superlative need to be 'saved': it was just assumed that if you were reading this book, you were pro-trees and anti-nice shoes. That level of superior pomposity made me grate my teeth all the way through. Then there was the description of Sorry (stupider nickname! try harder!) wearing a black dressing gown (I refuse to even imagine the alternative CAFTAN) and rings on every finger. I got the impression that this was actually supposed to be attractive. YEAH I DON'T THINK SO."It needs its battery recharged; probably needs a new one." Kate gritted her teeth. "They're so expensive."I changed my battery for fifty euro. I bet twenty-seven years ago they were even less expensive. It was also creepy reading about people not having telephones - not just mobiles, but landlines - but I forgave that for the time period.Also, Mahy is allergic to the verb 'said'. Clearly it's a fatal anaphylatic reaction, but at this point, I'd rather stand over her with an epi pen than have to read one more piece of dialogue 'exclaimed/cried'.Kate had some good lines, particularly regarding her marriage, but nothing that saves this book from being utter tripe. (hide spoiler)]