The Swap by George Layton

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Life in a town in the north of England in the 1950s can be tough on a lad. This lad especially. At home, his mum is always embarrassing him, his dad is not around, and money is scarce. At school, the bully is always thumping him, and his best friend, Tony, is put into a different classroom; the class scapegoat is always making him feel guilty. The one time he actually sticks up for someone, he ends up getting sent to the geadmaster.

No wonder he can't wait to swap. On the school exchange, he'll swap houses for a week with some lad from London. There, he'll get to live in a posh house, like a mansion, with three toitlets. "With a bit of luck," his mum says, "I'll get a nice young man who'll keep his room tidy and make his bed. . . .Now that'd be a grand swap." But when he finally gets to swap, he's horrified to find himself fighting tears on the entire bus ride,same as Keith Hopwood, who's blubbering behind him. Least he doesn't throw up, like Keith Hopwood. . . .

George Layton brilliantly captures the balancing act of one boy's eleventh year, when he faces prejudice and poverty and pride, and unwittingly discovers who he is. . .and who he isn't.

About George Layton

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Layton is an actor and writer.
Published September 22, 1997 by Putnam Juvenile. 167 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Swap

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The schoolyard adventures of Arthur, 11, set against the background of northern England in the 1950s, form the anecdotal plot of this charming novel.

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Publishers Weekly

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Situated somewhere in the middle of the grammar-school pecking order, the unnamed narrator is dissatisfied with his life: he dreads getting ""thumped"" by the school bully (""He'll hit you for anything, will Arthur Boocock"") and feels sorry for his underling classmates, who stoically withstand c...

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