Switched (Trylle Trilogy)

Switched  - Amanda Hocking Once upon a time, there was a troubled girl who came from a broken family. Her father died young, her mother tried to kill her and ended up in a mental institution. While she was raised by people who loved her, the girl (Wendy) wasn't very happy. She didn't belong, people were mean to her, and she always got in trouble. Wendy moved with her family constantly, and finally arrived at a place where she felt she could truly "start over."Wendy also had a secret - one she tells no one about, until she meets a strange boy who watches her every move. She tries to engage him, but he's mean to her, so she brushes him off. He tries to apologize, but at the same time the strange boy (Finn) seems to discover her secret, and has a secret of his own as he reveals to her who she really is, and why it's important that she leave her past behind in order to embrace her destiny.Sounds like an intriguing fairy tale, right? It might from that particular blurb, but Amanda Hocking's first entry in the Trylle trilogy, "Switched" comes across as a bit haphazard in places. Wendy herself is a difficult character to like - extremely choosy and sometimes bossy, but her demeanor's explained by some of the rough experiences she's had to endure during her childhood. But reading further along in the story, Wendy discovers from Finn that she's really a princess of the Trylle (a.k.a. Trolls), and that she has to embrace her destiny in order to keep the kingdom from falling into the wrong hands.I actually wanted to love this story more than I did. The writing style that Hocking employs - for the most part - is good. The story was a much faster read than I anticipated, and it kept me reading through the end without any stumbling blocks. There have been comparisons of this story being "The Princess Diaries" meets trolls, and that's true - to an extent. Only the trolls are beautiful figures whom are adored and desired, and lack any significant features that would distinguish them from any other paranormal creatures that could've just as well have been substituted and given a beauty complex. There's a distinct lack of worldbuilding in this book that disappointed me in the world that Wendy travels to, but probably far more jarring was the fact that Wendy's thrown into this world without any distinct guidance. There are many characters that expect her to know these details (including Finn, who's technically entrusted with informing her of what she doesn't know) without prompting. They become unjustifiably irritated with her when she doesn't conform to those standards. For me, that was the conflict forcing its hand a bit, and I didn't like it very much. It came across as far more emotive than it had to be.On a positive note, the pacing of the novel doesn't drag its feet too much, and it's an engaging story when the action starts rolling and when Wendy stands up for herself against the Troll queen, among other moments. But I felt some of those moments came few and far between with Wendy mostly being tugged along against her will.I did like the build-up of Wendy's changeling role, and how she connects with the boy who was said to be the real son of the family she was raised by. I never really liked Finn - his unnecessary gruffness toward her in the initial parts of the story wore on me, and not only that, his semi-jealous streaks didn't make him any more endearing. I did see some moments where his walls were broken, so there's a spark of something that seems likable, but it was hard for me to fully connect. I didn't really love "Switched" as an overall novel for its distinct flaws, but given the way it kept me reading with the prose and the rolling action towards the ending, I'm going to try the next book in the series to see if it comes across stronger than this.Overall score: 2/5