Title: The Switch
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Publisher: Philomel Books
Concepts: poverty, scarcity, class, wealth, business ethics, incentives
Review: Spoiled rich kid Tad Spencer had grown accustomed to having everything his heart could possibly desire and to always getting his way. So the one day when his parents said no to what seemed like a reasonable request, Tad wished he could be someone else. Unbelievably, the next morning he woke up in someone else’s body, in a filthy bed in a tiny ramshackle caravan, to the most hideous parents imaginable.
Not only had the former inhabitant of this body, Bob Snarby, lived on the edge most of his life, he was also dangerously intertwined with corruption and crime, activities that Tad seemed to have little choice but to undertake. What follows is a hair-raising quest for Tad to protect himself from harm and solve the mystery behind the body switch. Along the way he has some surprising revelations about the vulgarity of his former lifestyle and of his parents’ actions.
Clearly wrapped into the story line from start to finish are a set of interesting economics themes, including the dichotomy between wealth and poverty, the role of incentives in motivating behavior, and the importance of ethical standards in doing good business. While references to drug use and murder make the book less appropriate for younger readers, The Switch will certainly satisfy readers who have come to expect engrossing, action-packed adventures from Anthony Horowitz.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children