5 April 2010


Scroll down to see how you can
win a copy of Abby McDonald's
excellent debut novel LIFE SWAP!

Jenna may hail from the ’burbs of New Jersey, but Green Teen activism is her life, so she leaps at the chance to visit her hippie godmother, Susie, up in rural Canada. Jenna is psyched at the chance to commune with nature for the first time — and the cute, plaidwearing boys she’s certain must roam there.
But after a few run-ins with local wildlife (from a grouchy old moose, to Susie’s sullen Goth stepdaughter, to a hot but hostile boy named Reeve), Jenna gets the idea that her long-held ideals, like vegetarianism and conservation, don’t play so well with this population of real outdoorsmen. A dusty survival guide offers Jenna amusing tips on navigating the wilderness — but can she learn to navigate the turns of her heart?
I've read & loved both previous books by Abby McDonald (Life Swap/Sophmore Switch & The Popularity Rules) so I really couldn't wait to get my hands on her latest YA work and surely enough, it didn't disappoint! Abby McDonald delivers again - honestly, she writes just the kind of either YA or adult books I *love* to read!

This is the story of Jenna, who's 17 and very passionate about the environment, but her family is falling apart. Her parents are spending the summer apart and she suspects they're on the brink of divorce so in order to avoid the drama, Jenna decides to spend her summer with her godmother Susie in Stillwater, Canada. It takes Jenna a while to adapt to the wilderness, but she's determined to become friends with the local boys (Ethan, Grady & Reeve) and not let the bitchy Fiona, Susie's step-daughter, get her down. Her persistance pays off and she indeed spends a glorious summer in Canada. She goes kayaking, climbing, hiking, swimming, cycling, she falls in love properly for the first time, she encounters a moose and a bear and all that while trying to save Susie's bed and breakfast and keep her romance a secret.
Without all the distractions and limitations of the city life, Jenna lears a lot about herself and also has to reconsider everything she's so passionately fought for. She learns that things aren't as simple as she thought and she learns to put things into perspective, but everything she's been through during the summer, she learns she's now tough enough to face the music and deal with what she's been avoiding.

What's not to love about this book? The plot is quite original and far from boring and flows nicely, just like the writing. The novel features an idyllic but a crucial summer of self-discovery, it deals with friendships, broken families, homosexuality, romance, environmental issues, growing up and so much more. It's hilarious and awwwtastic and serious and empowering at the same time. The characters are very well portrayed and great to read about. Everything just works so well together and it's all so fitting - the setting, the plot, the characters, the dialogue and even the lovely cover, which is like the cherry on top.

I'm not saying that I was completely blown away by this book, but I thought it was a fantastic coming of age story that especially teenagers will easily relate to; it was a simple, quick and very enjoyable read, but it was also meaningful and just oh so lovely - it would make a great film actually! Just like the previous two books by Abby McDonald, I thoroughly enjoyed this one too and I cannot wait for more by this author - next up is her adult novel The Liberation of Alice Love (out in July) and then the rumour has it that she's already finished her next YA novel called The Anti-Prom, which comes out in 2011!

overall rating:
plot: 4/5 | writing: 4/5 | characters: 4/5 | cover: 5/5

To learn more about this promising author (she's only 25!), visit her website.
Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Books is officially released on April 13 and you can read the first chapter online.

* * *
And now for the GIVEAWAY! I ended up with an extra copy of Abby McDonald's fabulous debut novel LIFE SWAP (also known as Sophmore Switch in the US, my review here) and I thought this was a perfect opportunity to give it away to one lucky reader.
  • the giveaway is open internationally
  • it ends on April 12 at midnight your time and the winners will be announced on April 13 when Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots is released
  • you don't have to be a follower to be entered, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me WHO you would swap your life with (+1)
For extra entries:
  • follow my blog (+2)
  • follow Abby McDonald on Twitter (+2)
  • tweet about this giveaway - provide link (+2)
  • post about it on your blog/sidebar (+2)

Good luck, everyone! :)

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Becky said...

Lovely review. This doesn't really sound like my kind of book but then these days I am at a complete loss as to what is my kind of book. So you never know. It certainly sounds romantic.

Geri said...

I'd swap with Angelina Jolie, her love-life is The Pitts, just one teeny proble, don't think her wardrobe fits!

Rhiana said...

Great Review! I've never read anything by Abby Macdonald but I'll definitely watch out for her books.

Milka said...

I would swap my life with Stephenie Meyer, it would be interesting to be in her shoes because of all the Twilight hype.

+2 I am a follower


Sarah said...

I would swap my life with Leigh Anne Toughy - From the Blindside.I just love her - she doesn't take no for an answer

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Wow that is a tough question.... reminds me of a book I read a long time ago....

I guess I would switch lives with JK Rowling - just long enough to get her moving on more books.... the kids of Harry or something :)

journey through books @ gmail dot com

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Fab fab!
Love your reviews.
(not an entry)

Tina said...

I haven't read any books from this author, but I have been intriguied ever since I saw the cover to Boys, Bears, Hiking Boots...

Who would I swap places with? No one. I'd miss my little boys to much. Ask me again when they are teenagers and my answer might be different.

+2 I follow your blog.

Queen N said...


I actually ordered Boys, Bears, Hiking Boots after I read your IMM :)
Hm, who would I swap life with. Don't know actually...Not being me would be pretty boring, haha, cause then I wouldn't have anything to whine about :P..But maybe someone who lives in a warmer place, I'm still freezing my *** off here in the North! Or maybe someone who's more of a morning person than I am :)

+2 I follow your blog.
+2 I follow Abby McDonald on twitter
+2 I RT your update on twitter

I still don't understand the whole sidebar thingy..haha :)

elizabeth said...

Wow! I haven't read any books by Abby McDonald as of yet, but I definitely want to now!

+1 I would swap my life with....I'm not sure. Maybe Luisana Loreley Lopilato de la Torre because she is Michael Buble's girlfriend. How awesome would it be to spend the day with Michael Buble as his girlfriend!

+2 I follow you blog
+2 I follow Abby McDonald on Twitter
+2 I tweeted: http://twitter.com/_elizabethjoy/status/11650252541

prophecygirl said...

I don't need to enter your contest, but I just wanted to say I'm very glad you enjoyed the book, as I'm very excited for it. I LOVED Sophomore Switch!

Rogrady - Book Lover! said...

Loved reading the review!
+1 Wow- I would like to swap life's with a lot of people- bit only for a day or so. I would want to go back to being me, with my family, friends, blog, music etc. But would want to know what it feels like to be one of these people:
1. A suffragette
2. Tavi Gevinson
3. J.K Rowling
4. Lily Cole
5. Malorie Blackman
I think they're all interesting, and would LOVE to know how they think, and what they're like :)
+2 I follow your blog
+2 I follow Abby
+2 I tweeted www.twitter.com/tbrbookreview
+2 I put this on my blog roll

ANOTHER great contest, thanks for this giveaway!

**NeonGlitter** said...

Wow I've wanted to read this book for ages!! I follow your blog and I follow Abby on Twitter so I think thats 4 entries. ;-) I'd like to swap my life with....erm....maybe an actress or someone because they get to act loads and I love acting <3 Maybe Emma Roberts, she's a really good actress. Thanks for posting this contest!

Emidy said...

This sounds like a cute read! I've only heard positive things so far. I don't think it's quite my kind of book, but I'm glad you liked it!

Luisa at Chicklish said...

I already have my own lovely copy of Life Swap so please don't enter me, but I just wanted to say thanks for a wonderful review. I really enjoyed reading it!

Robby said...

I wouldn't swap my life with anyone. I am content where I am, learning to love myself.
Abby sounds like such a wonderful writer. All of her books sounds great. :]

•follow my blog (+2)
•follow Abby McDonald on Twitter (+2)

Nikola said...

I've heard only great things about Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots, and the author herself is just IMPRESSIVE to me.

As for the giveaway, I would love to enter!

+2 for following (since now!)
+2 for following Abby on Twitter
+2 for tweeting http://twitter.com/rblprince89
+2 for linking from my blog http://cunninghamfan.blogspot.com

Oh, and I would love to swap my life with my someone of my favorite authors. Wouldn't it be great to actually live and experience things that inspired so many books you cherish? I think that would be just fab! :)

Jo said...

Brilliant review!

+1 I'd like to swap my life with Ashley Green, because for a little while, she gets to pretend she's married to Jackson Rathbone. Haha!
+2 I follow your blog
+2 I follow Abby McDonald on Twitter (@jo_scrawls)
+2 Tweeted:
+2 Blog post:

Email: joannestapley[at]googlemail[dot]com

GABY said...

I would like to swap my like (just for a couple of days) with some princess, hehe. Not really original, but I've always wanted to be a princess ;)

follow my blog (+2)

follow Abby McDonald on Twitter (+2) (@magabygc)

tweet about this giveaway (+2) --> http://twitter.com/magabygc/status/11667175262

post about it on your sidebar (+2) --> http://historias-imaginarias.blogspot.com

magabygc AT gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

I would like to swap places with the person who allocates social housing in my area,just so the most deserving get a home,and the scumbags do not.

Liz said...


WHO you would swap your life with (+1)

me? With Peter Fascinelly... HE makes me smile... a lot^^

For extra entries:

follower of your blog (+2)

follower of Abby McDonald: @lizzyrm(+2)

tweet about this giveaway - provide link (+2)

post about it on your blog/sidebar (+2)
http://elreinodelsapo.blogspot.com/ sidebar ^^

ELizabeth R.

mariska said...

Interesting book ! enter me in please :)

* WHO you would swap your life with (+1)
--> someone that has a huge collection of brand new books that very willingly send out to others around the world as a gift for FREE. (ohhh, i love books :)

For extra entries:
* A follower (+2)
* following Abby McDonald on Twitter now (+2)(@becunique)
* tweet about this giveaway(+2)
---> http://twitter.com/becunique/status/11670291767

uniquas at ymail dot com

angie said...

As I've gotten older I've realized I wouldn't swap lives with anyone. We think the grass is greener on the other side but each of us has problems just different types:)
follow my blog (+2)
follow Abby McDonald on Twitter (+2)
tweet about this giveaway - provide link (+2)http://twitter.com/bangersis/status/11672309900
email bangersis(at)msn(dot)com

Emma said...

i'm a follower! thanks for following me :)

i would swap with Emma Watson...cuz we have the same first name, and i've looked up to her forever

Sharli said...

I'd love to swap my life with a successfull YA writer for a day, just to see what it really feels like and to be sure that's what I really want to do :P

Blog follower (+2)
follow Abby McDonald on Twitter @Entre_Libros(+2)
tweet: http://twitter.com/Entre_Libros/statuses/11674348489 (+2)
blog/sidebar: http://blogentrelibros.blogspot.com/ (+2)

Thank you!
entrelibros_blog at hotmail dot com

Stella (Ex Libris) said...

Oh, this book sounds lovely! Please enter me :-)

+1 I'd like to swap for a short time with a makeup girl on True Blood, I would like to be near Alexander Skarsgaard and charm him! ;-) lol!
+2 I'm an old follower
+2 tweeted here:http://twitter.com/Stella_ExLibris/status/11692926877

stella.exlibris (at) gmail DOT com

Aik said...

I'd love to enter!

* I'd like to swap my life for a day with a famous author/artist and see what it's like to be a VIP.

(+2)I'm a follower.

(+2)Following Abby McDonald on Twitter @aikchien


(+2)Posted on my blog sidebar

aikychien at yahoo dot com

skyla11377 said...

+1 I Would Swap My Life With Well If I Was Switching With AN Author It Would Be A Toss Up Between Stephanie Meyer And Richelle Mead. Both Of These Author's Have Such Incredible Imaginations And Such Awesome Characters That I Would Love To Be Able To Write The Kind Of Stories They Write. If I Were To Pick An Actor It Would Be Sandra Bullock. I Think She Is An Amazing Actress Who Has Her Feet Planted Firmly On The Ground As Well As Being A Good Person Who Always Thinks Of Others.

+2 I Am A Blog Follower (skyla11377).

+2 I Am Following Abby McDonald On Twitter (@skyla11377).

+2 I Tweeted About This Giveaway (@skyla11377).

+2 I Blogged About This Giveaway.



Nina said...

Great give away for a wonderful book!

I would love to enter it;
To answer your question, I love to swap lives with...a famous, beautiful, rich person..just to see how it feels like when you could buy everything in the world.

Anonymous said...

Jude Dunn

I wouldn't swap my life with anyone, I love my life and all the people who are in it.

Would love to win this book though x

Following on twitter @jadlgw +2
Have re-tweeted on twitter +2

Kate said...

+1 I would swap my life with Jennifer Aniston. She is an amazing, gorgeous, actress and that's who I wanna be!

follow my blog (+2)

follow Abby McDonald on Twitter (+2): @kpic724

tweet about this giveaway - provide link (+2): http://twitter.com/kpic724/status/11725277371

post about it on your blog/sidebar (+2): http://ijustwannasithereandread.blogspot.com

Jami said...

Fabulous review! I haven't read anything from Abby McDonald before, so I hope I win!

+1 I would swap lives with Maggie Steifvater. She is amazing and her life just keeps getting more exciting.

+2 following
+2 following Abby McDonald on twitter (@YAaddict)
+2 Tweeted


Carol Christo said...

I would swap lives with J.K Rowling.+1

following the blog +2
following on twitter +2



Christa Holland said...

WHO you would swap your life with (+1):
Would it be a permanent swap? Because, this will sound cheesy, but I wouldn't want to permanently swap with anyone unless I get to keep my family. : ) However, I'd choose someone not famous, probably someone in publishing just to see what it's like to get to be the first to read books... I know I'd probably get tired of always working overtime eventually, but I think it would be fun for a while... & since I would only want to swap temporarily, it sounds good. : D

follow my blog (+2) - Christa Holland
follow Abby McDonald on Twitter (+2) - wordsrollon
tweet about this giveaway - provide link (+2) - http://twitter.com/wordsrollon/status/11735938215
post about it on your blog/sidebar (+2) - http://wordsrollon.blogspot.com/2010/04/i-heart-contests-take-3.html

Spav said...

Nice giveaway. It looks like a really interesting book! I would swap my life with a top ten tennis player to see how it feels to be the best, but only for a while, then I would like to return to my normal life.

+2 Follower
+2 Follow Abby on Twitter: (@Sparima)
+2 Tweet: http://twitter.com/Sparima/status/11738526918

Vampires and Tofu said...

That book sounds great, I'm a vegetarian and you don't often come across us in books!! (Well, unless they're vampires, lol)
Who would I trade my life with?? I really have to say no one, I truly love the life I live :)

YA Vampire Books said...

Awesome contest! I've been wanting to read this book for a while!

+1 Hard question! But I would probably swap life with Paris Hilton - it would be interesting to find out what's going on in her mind! And I wouldn't mind being as rich as her ;)

+2 Blog follower
+2 I follow Abby McDonald on Twitter (I'm @brasir)
+2 I've posted this contest on my sidebar: www.yavampirebooks.blogspot.com


bookaholic said...

+1 That's a difficult one but given a chance,I would probably swap my life with Kathryn Bigelow. I would then be the first woman director to win the Academy! (and also get to meet all the Hollywood superstars :P)
Another option can be any author in the world...I would love to see my name on the cover of a book that people love :) I love books!
+2 Blog follower
+2 Follow Abby McDonald on Twitter(@Debasmitadhar)
+2 Tweeted-http://twitter.com/Debasmitadhar/status/11891440829
+2 Blog post-http://bookaholicsoye.blogspot.com/2010/04/win-life-swap.html

I'd love to win this book please!

Precious said...

Great contest!

+1 I'd swap life with Maggie Stiefvater. It would be so awesome. PLus, i'd get to read linger and the draft of forever. :)

+2 blog follower
+2 sidebar: http://shusky20.blogspot.com/
+2 tweeted: http://twitter.com/precious_shusky/status/11892563189


Dwayne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I wdnt swap my life with anyone as like mine:)

@kikicomp have rt

Anne Cater said...

I'd swap with Vanessa Paradis - she lives with Jonny Depp - need I say more?
I'm following both of you and have re-tweeted your giveaway

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