Oh, the fun of being a bookaholic and getting fresh new books. I especially enjoy the chance to review books from small and indie authors, which is a little taste of what I’m sharing with you today.
Anything But Groovy, by Amanda Lauer, is a YA novel that has me flashing back to the approximately 500 times I remember watching Freaky Friday.
If you never watched Freaky Friday, it’s a 2003 movie starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsey Lohan. It’s memorable in many ways, but to be honest, I’m not sure if, watching it now, I would laugh as hard or enjoy it as much. But in 2003, when it was in the movie theater and I took my niece to see it, I very much fangirled it.
As the mom of teenage daughters, I’m as horrified as they are at the thought of body-switching.
Anything But Groovy, though, takes the body-switching to a different level than Freaky Friday: Daughter Morgan doesn’t just end up in her mom’s body, but she ends up in her mom’s time, as in 1974.
Though the math doesn’t quite add up unless Mom had Morgan at age 46 (and maybe she did, we don’t know for sure), it is quite a bit entertaining as a mom-reader. I’ve had to explain to my own kids about how our phones used to be attached to locations (“You mean you didn’t take them with you?!?”) and we used to have to change channels using a dial (“Wait, what about the remote?”).
There were quite a few entertaining scenes: Morgan waking up in her mom’s body was definitely one of them. You won’t find foul language or, really, anything worse than bullying–it’s mostly set in 1974 as Morgan navigates her mom’s life and wonders just when (and if!) she will get back to her own life.
As a mom-reader, I’m the first to tell you that I am NOT the target reader for this book. (Or maybe I am. I enjoy some YA, yes I do.) My enjoyment of it might get it in the door and on the shelf, but that won’t get my girls to read it.
Morgan is pretty relatable (from a mom-perspective): She’s thinking of herself and she’s booked with sports and she’s facing a lot of challenges that she doesn’t think her mom has any clue about. As she works her way through life in 1974, she’s horrified and fascinated in equal measure (and the reader may laugh or eye-roll right there with her).
If you have a teen reader in your house, or you’re looking for a fun (and clean!) look into the mid-70s, give Anything But Groovy a read!
Excerpt of Anything But Groovy, used with permission:
When the last bell finally rang, I let out a drawn-out breath. Longest school day ever. Scrambling back to homeroom, we grabbed the clear bags and shoved our Math, Literature, Science and Social Studies books inside them. Between the four books, they must’ve weighed ten pounds. Juggling the bag in my arms, I exited the classroom via the back set of stairs that led to the front of the building. “Wait up!” Vicky hustled to catch me on the steps. “Hey, Vicky.” “Not too bad of a start today, huh?” Easy for her to say. She hadn’t woken up in someone else’s body, been laughed at by a group of snotty girls for wearing the same shirt that one of them had on, or been humiliated by the class jock, twice at that.
After enough time perched on the wooden phone bench, I tested to see if the curly phone cord was long enough to get out of earshot of Grandma. She putzed around the kitchen, no doubt listening to every word of our conversation. Couldn’t get any further than the den. So much for that. By now, the phone was so warm it was burning my ear. And they say cell phones are bad for your health? “Hey, Vicky, gotta go. My mom needs something.” “That’s fine. I’ll see you at my house in the morning. Quarter-to-eight?” “Sure. See you then.” I hung the phone up, grabbed my books off the kitchen table and started the trek through the dining room and family room to get to the stairs. “What exactly do I need, Ally?” Busted. I sheepishly pivoted to address Grandma, who was sitting in the chair Mom usually occupied at the dining room table. One glance, and I froze. A cigarette dangled from her lips. Lit. Inside the house. Maybe Grandma was the one with a head injury. She hadn’t smoked since before I was born. “What the heck are you doing?” She took a drag and stamped out the cigarette in a gold ashtray. “That’s what I was going to ask you.” My eyes as big as saucers, I backed slowly away from her. Making it to the family room, I took off for the stairs, streaking up to the second floor. Racing down the hall, I stumbled into my room and slammed the door shut behind me. Get me the heck out of here!
***Yes, I am using Amazon affiliate linkage. In case you don’t know the drill: Use my link, I get a few cents and you pay the same. I always advocate going to an IRL bookstore, but these small authors don’t have the supply chain to always appear there.