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Gender Blender

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  544 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
Wants Jeff Matthews to notice her.
Hates sexist boys.
Wonders when she’ll get her period.
Must avoid looking like a wuss.
Must deal with his blended family.
Must get a chance with Kelly A.
Then something freaky happens: Emma and Tom switch bodies. And until they can find a remedy:
Can’t believe she has a . . . thingie.
Hates mean girls.
Finds out secondhand tha
ebook, 192 pages
Published February 25th 2009 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published March 28th 2006)
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Community Reviews

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Feb 22, 2012 Abi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
When you see the cover to Gender Blender you might, like me, except a YA or middle grade book that investigates gender non-conformance, perhaps through the story of one or more youth who is a "gender blender." In fact, it is NOT this kind of book.

While it was published in 2006, the approach to gender (which is completely linked to sex characteristics, to male or femaleness) it takes would have been more interesting if it was written in the 1950s.

The premise is that we have two sixth graders who
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce for

GENDER BLENDER is a fun but thought-provoking novel about gender differences for middle-schoolers.

Since they started middle school, Emma and Tom haven't been able to get along and be friends the way they used to be.

Emma hates boys--except Jeff, the cutest sixth-grade boy in school. She can only hope that he'll notice her! She gets straight-A's and is involved in a ton of after-school activities. She's worried about getting her first period, among
Despair Speaking
I had finally decided to award this book with three stars because it got me reading to the end and it managed to amuse me at various points along the way. This would have been four or maybe even five if it weren't for some things:

1. The vulgar words constantly used in the book. Yes, I know. A lot of children already know these words thanks to the wonderful world of media. But it certainly doesn't mean one should just flaunt it. It makes them think that it might be "okay" to use those words, whic
Dec 29, 2014 Lo rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Switching bodies to learn about gender differences? Awesome!

Except...this books teaches exactly what we trying to help children, and much of society to unlearn. That gender isn't informed by your sex at birth, and the constructs around gender (such as the ones the children discuss with Miss Andre) are masculine versus feminine, not male versus female. Sex Swap would be a perfect title, but gender blender just completely misleads the reader, adult and child alike.

For a book that is supposed to
Dec 05, 2008 P. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yyay
Disclosure: I am sort of biased towards Blake Nelson because he wrote a poem I really like and I first read his fiction in Sassy magazine.

This is a nice read for middle schoolers--it's not preachy and still tries to get at some of the frustrations of gender stereotyping, by using a Freaky Friday premise (but actually done in a way that tries to make sense, rather than just being general magic). Of course the cover could use an update because it's kind of dorky-looking and that decreases the chan
Cute middle grade book that tries to cut through some of the dumb stuff about gender but, unfortunately, I think, also contributes to some of it too. I wish that the stereotyping had been shown to be more about societal differences - though I think that's what Nelson was going for. Just think it could have been illuminated on better.

Also: funny!
Jun 26, 2008 Alexis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-books
THIS WAS MY FAVORITE BOOK!! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!!!! THE PLOT SUCKS YOU IN!! I got in trouble a couple times for reading it so much and not coming down to dinner or to do my chores!! ( Now you know why , Mom! )
Originally from

Gender Blender is a treasure from my childhood. I remember reading it when I was in 4th or 5th grade and LOVED it. It was one of my favorite books. Now that I'm almost in 10th grade, I decided to go back and re-read this book that I had loved so much.

This story is about a 6th grade girl and boy named Emma and Tom.

Emma hates boys. Except for the adorable Jeff Matthews, of course. She loves school, gets straight A's (except for that one B last year), and i
May 18, 2014 AbsentLibrarian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book thinking it might be a fun introduction for middle schools discussing gender roles and challenging the societal expectations of gender. What I found instead was a light variation on Freaky Friday.

The author starts to identify the daily pressures that both genders face from parents, peers, society and themselves. The concept of gender expectations was lightly touched on but quickly fell way to the behaviours of the "mean girl" and "tough jock" stereotypes. I think setup for
Sarah Crawford
Jan 15, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty funny book about two students in elementary school. Emma is an A student with an extremely complex schedule of extra-curricular activities which her mother has devised. Tom, on the to her hand, loves baseball but is still an immature male. Although he and Emma have known each other for years they fight verbally all the time.

The classroom teacher assigns a project on gender differences, where students are paired and they are to observe their partner and try to figure out what kin
Feb 28, 2012 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-and-ya
This was a fun, quick read--a fantastic premise with a pretty good execution: a twelve-year-old boy and girl switch bodies and must live as each other, exploring how the other experiences their gender, until they can switch back.

I adored the Freaky Friday books as a kid and was fascinated by the idea of switching bodies, of actually living as someone else--and I wondered why the Freaky Friday books didn't explore the actual body part in too much depth.

This book explores that with grace and humor
Apr 04, 2013 Filo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sgb
Emma und Tom waren mal beste Freunde. Vergangenheit, schließlich sind sie jetzt auf dem Gymnasium, und da hat man eben andere Interessen. Während Tom mit seinen Kumpels Baseball spielt, steckt Emma mit den Mädchen ihrer Klasse, den Grrzillas, zusammen. Warum also noch befreundet sein? Als die beiden jedoch plötzlich im Körper des anderen feststecken, finden sie mehr über das Leben des anderen heraus und stellen fest, dass vielleicht doch nicht alles so ist, wie sie dachten.

Mir hat die Idee für d
Jul 11, 2009 Jacqueline rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jf
“Gender Blender” is a book for 'tweens and early teens. The plot is basically boy and girl are longtime friends, boy and girl stop being friends when they enter puberty, boy and girl switch bodies.

This book is written in easy-to-read prose, perfect for reluctant readers. There are a lot of funny parts, and I found myself occasionally laughing out loud. The book also does a good job at showing how life is not easy regardless of your gender, making it a great story for both boys and girls. The cha
Ali K
Mar 11, 2014 Ali K rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book, and honestly the ending was a drag. The ending was talking about how Emma and Tom's life are going to continue now that they are un-switched, and again, they start arguing. The final words were "Let's not argue,just to be safe." So pretty much the whole book is about trying to get Emma and Tom to not argue anymore, when it doesn't work out so much...

The lesson in this book that I learned is to look at things at a different point of view, because of Emma and Tom not agreein
This is one of those book I would have enjoyed 12 years ago. Well, to be honest, I did enjoy this. It was cute and funny, but we're talking about 6th graders. Surprisingly, I'm much too mature for the level of thought displayed through this book.

Basically, it follows the typical boy and girl used to be friends, but don't like each other anymore. In school they learn about gender differences and magically end up switching bodies. They have to learn to appreciate/understand each other in 4 days or
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Cute. I enjoyed it and thought it was funny and liked the idea of unpacking some ideas about gender but I don't think it's clear enough, even though it borders on the edge of didactic. I really wanted the book to focus on the idea of individual people instead of stereotypes which isntead the book seems to perpetuate- maybe even going so far as to promote the widely accepted theory of gender as a social construction rather than biological fact. It also seems to let a lot of issues slide- like the ...more
Jun 03, 2012 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan Bazzett-griffith
Ordered this book just because I was curious to read something newer from Blake Nelson-- had I read even the summary, I may have realized before I picked up my latest set of library books that it was a kid's book, barely young adult, more like middle-school/intermediate, than I may have passed. That said, the story is basically Freaky Friday, except instead of with a parent/child, it is with two childhood friends, one male/one female, who accidentally switch bodies and lives for a couple of days ...more
Aug 28, 2008 T. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit
In some ways, I can see this being another perfect book for young teens (13-14) but unfortunately, reading it as an adult it seems contrived and in poor humor. There are tons of gender stereotypes and the author seems to beat you over the head with the message of "Don't stereotype genders." There are many times while reading the book I thought "The author did not go there" and then he did. (Chapters titled: Tom's First Naked Girl, another: Morning Wood). The plot is an interesting concept, the b ...more
This book was OK. It was moderately funny at times, but it relied too heavily on stereotypes of guys and girls. It tried to address a serious topic in a fun way & basicly succeeded there. However, in keeping the plot simple & accessable, it failed to acknowledge all the other types of girls and guys (especially guys) other than girly girl & jock or immature idiot. Read it for some of the snickers about what it might really be like to have a girl and guy switch bodies in Jr. High. Jus ...more
The "mod" cover should have been my first clue--a stereotype of a stereotype of a tale. Sixth grade boy and girl who used to be best friends but forced apart by supposed gender differences (grrlzillas?) have a trampoline accident, and the magical powers from an ancient arrowhead he just happens to have in his pocket makes them switch bodies. Yeah, you guessed it--breast and erection jokes. A waste of an afternoon. If this had been written in the 50s, it would have made more sense...but 2006? Ser ...more
Aide Laura
Jun 13, 2012 Aide Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was surprisingly amazing. I say surprisingly because the characters were in middle school and I was pretty sure I wasnt going to relate to them but I was soooo wrong.Emma and Tom hate each other but end up switching bodies while they were fighting. Emma and Tom both discover how wrong they were about each other and the people around them. soon enough they find comfort in each other and form a great friendship willing to pretend there each other.
Ashlyn A
Dec 20, 2011 Ashlyn A rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book!! It was about these two friends who have been friends forever, but are not as close because of there gender differences. But when they are jumping on the trampoline together and hit heds, they both become very unconsious. And when they wake up, they soon realize that they have switched bodies. How can they live life like that? How will they swith Back? You will find out there adventures if you read the book!
Oct 19, 2011 Brittney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a really good book. It is about this guy Tom Witherspoon and this girl Emma Baker who were best friends when they were little and now literally hate each others guts. Tom cares alot about sports and Emma has alot of after school activities. Tom and Emma argued alot and then they had their bodies switched. Emma and Tom had 4 days dealing with each others family and life. They learned to get along with each other and they learned about their gender differences.
Feb 27, 2010 Martha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, juvenile
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tani B
Feb 24, 2013 Tani B rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Originally reviewed - 2/25/08

With just under or possibly a tiny bit over 200 pages Gender Blender is reminiscent of all those movies where two people switch bodies-- Freaky Friday, Wish Upon a Star, The Hot Chick and It's a Boy Girl Thing to name a few. It was funny and different from the rest (something I wasn't really expecting). Blake Nelson did a good job writing both Emma's and Toms side of the story. Hope to read more from him soon.
Feb 27, 2010 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rebecca by: Susan
A middle-school boy and girl have a collision on a trampoline and switch bodies. Hilarity ensues. Plays on gender stereotypes, but most people are one big stereotype in middle school anyway. That age group should find this a fun and accurate glimpse into the mind of the opposite sex. Some frank discussion of body parts.

Booktalk idea: read from the "gender differences" assignment, p. 27, to stimulate discussion.
Jan 25, 2016 Autumn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 20, 2011 Amt02439 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 10, 2014 Hiran rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For Teens, This is a good book for a short quick read that is rather light. I've been reading deeper, more mature material so this is a welcome change in that atmosphere. It is fun and quirky and it's a great book to sit down on a rainy day when you are in between two sad books. Not a particularly memorable and it has some definite flaw, but if you're not too picky, it's okay.
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Blake Nelson grew up in Portland, Oregon. He began his career writing short humor pieces for Details Magazine.

His first novel GIRL was originally serialized in SASSY magazine and was made into a film staring Selma Blaire and Portia De Rossi.

His novel PARANOID PARK won the prestigious International Grinzane Literary Award and was made into a film by Gus Van Sant.

His most recent Young Adult novel
More about Blake Nelson...

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