Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Both Sides - Guaranteed to be a Best Seller

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Imagine if you were in a tragic accident – unable to move or speak but otherwise cognizant of everything around you. Imagine hearing doctors deciding your fate without you having a voice in the outcome.

Alex is a 16-year-old girl who finds herself in that exact situation in Both Sides, a novel that begins when – while on a class field trip – Alex and another girl, Sandra, end up in a horrible accident.

If the doctors act quickly, they may be able to save one body…and one brain. Amid the confusion and uncertainty, we hear everything that’s going on in Alex’s mind – from her initial disbelief to her quips about the absurdity of it all to her realization that she may have to go through the rest of her life living in the body of a girl she couldn’t stand. If she survives.

Both Sides tackles these issues and more. Within its pages every reader will find her own answers and discover, in the end, a story of courage and a girl who never before existed.

Award-winning author Paul E. Stawski captures the minute-by-minute struggles of a 16-year-old girl whose world is suddenly turned upside down in Both Sides. Radical brain surgery is the only option. Time is running out and Alex’s mind is racing: will she still be the same person when she comes out on the other side?


Both Sides by Paul E. Stawski is bound to become a best seller with teens. Teens will love that is about a girl their age and that the point of view is from the teen’s perspective. I definitely found that the book sounded like a teen, and not an adult trying to sound like a teen. It is a quick read, and not full of long difficult paragraphs that most non-readers are more likely to read.

Teachers and parents will love the discussions that this book initiates. You have so many ethical questions like whether or not it is a good idea to transplant a brain. Then there is the concept of the soul – is it attached to the brain or is it separate. Another question would be is who are you. Is who you are based on the way you look or who you are inside. Who should have custody if you are a minor? Who should have to deal with the funeral and expenses? Which family will be responsible for all of the medical expenses? And so many more questions.

This is definitely a book that can generate plenty of critical thinking, while entertaining the reader. While I do not know if this fits in with “Common Core” standards (especially since they just want non fiction), I think it would be perfect for English classes. Kids would love reading this, and teachers would love all of the questions the story brings up. It can be related to the real world. Plenty of essay questions can be generated from the book. So, what is not to like about using this in the classroom.

Both Sides grabs your attention from the very beginning. You will have a hard time putting this one down. I can not wait for the next book. I definitely recommend this book. I know that is geared towards teens but I think just about anyone will enjoy this book. I have already passed this one on to an English teacher where I am a substitute teacher. However, this is one I will want back, and want to hang on to. I give this one 5 stars.

Buy the book from....
Barnes and Noble

About the Author
Paul E. Stawski won the Highlights for Children fiction contest for his short story, Code Red, a science-fiction story about a little girl who has to make a very grown-up decision. As a child, Paul was the subject of Newbery-Award winning author Lois Lenski's We Live in the North. Then, as an adult, he taught at an all-girls' high school before becoming a full-time writer. Both Sides is his first novel, he is currently writing the second book in the Both Sides series, Taking Sides due to be released January 2014. He lives in Troy, Michigan, with his wife and two cats.

Follow the Author
Website,  Facebook,  TwitterGoodreads and YouTube

Taking Sides is the second book in the Both Sides series. In BOTH SIDES, Alex grappled with the idea of her brain being transplanted into Sandra’s brain-dead body. In TAKING SIDES, she struggles with her new reality, starting with the ride home from the hospital and the ensuing media circus. She’s now a celebrity who literally comes face-to-face with her new identity every time she looks in the mirror – and every time someone else looks at her. How will her friends react? How will Sandra’s? And what about their classmates and their parents? With everyone taking sides, Alex begins to wonder: is anyone on her side?

Tour Dates

I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.


  1. Couldn't agree with you more an absolute bestseller that i think everyone should read !!