Two girls trade places in time to solve a legendary art heist across two centuries!
As the daughter of a caretaker for a mansion-turned-museum, twelve-year-old Hannah Jordan has spent nearly all her life steeped in the history of the Gilded Age of Newport, Rhode Island. The Elms, the mansion where her dad works (and they both live), is one of the most esteemed historical properties on famed Bellevue Avenue. Mysterious legends and priceless artifacts clutter every inch of the marble floors and golden walls, but Hannah is most drawn to the reproduction portrait of Maggie Dunlap, the twelve year-old subject of a famous painting stolen in a legendary art heist on the day of its scheduled unveiling in 1905.
Hannah dreams of how glamorous life must have been for the young oil-heiress, Maggie, at the turn of the century, but she never expects she’ll have a chance to experience it herself… until the day a mysterious mirror allows the two girls to change places in time!
In 1905, Hannah races to stop the art heist from happening—something she is convinced will allow the girls to trade back to their own eras—while in current times, Maggie gets a hilarious introduction to the modern digital age and a new perspective on women's roles in society while reveling in the best invention of all: sweatpants. So long corsets!
As the hours tick off to the recorded moment of the legendary art heist, something’s not adding up. Can the girls work together against time—and across it—to set things right... or will their temporary swap become a permanent trade?
Kristine Carlson Asselin's second YA novel FALLING FOR WONDER BOY is available now from Wicked Whale Publishing.
Asselin's debut YA novel ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT (originally published with Bloomsbury Spark, rereleased by Wicked Whale Publishing) is now available.
THE ART OF THE SWAP (Simon and Schuster), co-authored with Jen Malone, came out in spring 2018.
She has also published sixteen nonfiction books with both Capstone Press and Abdo Publishing for the school library market. She tweets at @KristineAsselin as well as her alter ego @QueryGodmother, where she tweets query tips and suggestions.
4.5 stars for this ARC. Thank you to Aladdin and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read this book before publication.
In The Art of the Swap we have historical fiction with a mystery, an art heist and time travel. Yes, please. Really enjoyed watching Maggie and Hannah cope in their new environments. The mansion at the center of the plot is a real place and still a tourist attraction in Newport. Loved the ways the girls modeled friendship to each other and those they encountered during the swap. Highly recommended.
I thought this book was pretty good! It was just a good and quick read! It was a pretty quick read so if you want a quick read then this is a really good book for that! I really liked how you could see both perspectives in this book! All in all it's pretty good!
The story of the time travel that takes place between Hannah and Maggie. Hannah is a girl who is in the present world while Maggie is a girl from 100 years ago. This exchange takes place when each touches a magic mirror.
Hannah lives in a museum where her father works there as a caretaker. Everyday she spent there made she love history more and more. Just mention the history displayed in the museum and Hannah will surely answer and explain well.
There is a story related to the heist of a valuable portrait 100 years ago. The heist left 1001 mysteries while the portrait described by historians is about the painting of a girl.
When Hannah entered one of the art galleries in the museum room, she was tickled to see her face in a mirror that was there. When she touched the mirror, it was as if there was a magical attraction that she could not control. She was in a castle while Maggie was in the next 100 years, in modern times.
They tried to switch places back but unfortunately the magic power didn't work anymore. All they can do is try to explore that era.
Hannah took this initiative to prevent the heist of Maggie's portrait from happening while Maggie who was in Hannah's place took the opportunity to feel the freedom as a child. What Hannah felt, Maggie couldn't feel because she was bound by the palace custom that women only had to sit quietly without mixing with random children.
The plot happens when Hannah feels that she has solved the problem of the portrait and wants to return to her world again. But the magical power can't convert them back.
What might be lacking in their actions? Could it be because they have tried to change the history that happened? Or will they be trapped forever without being able to return to their respective times?
Asselin, Kristine and Jen Malone The Art of the Swap, 333 pages. Aladdin (Simon), 2018. $17. Content: G.
Hannah, 12, loves living in The Elms museum with her caretaker father. She does, however, sometimes get I trouble for correcting the docents in front of the patrons. Always fascinated by mystery of the missing portrait of Maggie Dunlap, the tween heiress who grew up in the home over 100 years ago. One day while looking at the replacement portrait, Hannah sees something in a mirror – Maggie! When Maggie sees her, they can talk; but when they both touch the mirror, they trade places. Now Hannah is in the perfect position to solve the ages old mystery and Maggie can help on the modern end – while adjusting to a world where girls are allowed to run and wears shorts!
I love a good time switch novel – from all the way back to Switching Well by Peni Griffin. Asselin and Malone keep the narrative interesting and moving while letting us see the challenges and success of each girl. If your students enjoy this one, you should recommend The Sixty-Eight Rooms series by Marianne Malone as a follow-up.
I personally do not like books that alternate between the characters narrating the chapters. For me I just get into the flow of the story and wham I have to reestablish the story in my head and try to get back into reading. Then wham it happens again and again. I suspect there are many people like me and perhaps especially many young readers starting out. As a result I don't recommend this book.
I had to power through a book hangover, when I started this, but I really enjoyed it.
Maggie and Hannah were great characters with relatable strengths and weaknesses. It was interesting to see that even though they were so different, they were a perfect pair. I found it refreshing that this book featured two female protagonists and they weren’t whiny and didn’t waste time bickering.
Maggie and Hannah responded to their time travel, in ways, that I felt truly fit their characters. Each made mistakes and fumbled, although, they were able to regroup and stay on task. I liked that their experiences, outside of the time travel, were believable. Their were no quick fixes or miraculous abilities. They had to work with the skills they had and that was really interesting to see. It was also nice to see that each girl got to step up and take the lead. The book even addressed the weirdness of Maggie and Hannah’s situation after they time traveled and I thought that was a fun bonus.
Jonah was a great character as well. He was easy to like and I though he was wise. The method of time travel was unique and I liked how it fed into the history of the story. The book also does a good job of incorporating women’s rights, pop culture, family, friendship, mystery and other typical tween situations. I really appreciate the authors, for all the additional resources, they provided at the end of the book.
As for flaws, their was a point when I felt that the pop culture references were excessive and sometimes the slang dialogue felt forced. It also seemed like things wrapped up a little too easily, especially for Jonah. Overall though, this book was a fun read and I’m glad I was able to get my library to pick up a copy.
A few years ago I wanted to see the Christmas lights at The Breakers, one of the Preservation Society of Newport's properties. This amazing mansion is one of the Gilded Age summer cottages that are available for touring in Newport, RI, about 40 miles from where I live. This novel for young readers takes place at The Elms, a house built in 1901, so it's a bit more 'modern' than other mansions. This is a book geared toward middle grade readers and mainly girls since there are 2 girls at the center of the story. It was especially fun to read since we had only recently toured The Elms, including taking an additional Servant Life tour.
The book is fiction mixed with facts about the home and its caretakers over the years. There's time-travel and a mystery at its heart. I really enjoyed this book although it was a lot longer than I expected a novel for kids to be!
Two girls live in the same mansion — centuries apart. One is wealthy beyond imagination, but living in an era that put tight constraints on the work, and worth, of women. The other is a modern child, the daughter of mansion’s manager, free to roam the house when it isn’t open to visitors, but relegated to live mainly in the attic apartment with her dad. One is the subject of a famous painting that was stolen almost upon completion, and the other wants to discover whatever really happened to it. Through the magic of the painting, they are able to trade places, in hopes of setting things right. Great premise, poor execution, as I found it hard to want to finish the book. It took me about three times as long as it should have to read, and I would have set it down for good except that I wanted to give it every chance possible. It is pretty clear from early on what the ending will be, and there are few surprises along the way. What the main lesson should be is that you can’t really change one part of the past without seriously impacting the future: in the end, only part of the “mystery” was discovered and redeemed, which made me feel like it all kind of fell flat. Am I grading what is truly a middle grade book too harshly? I struggle with that sometimes, but there are so many other, much better books out there for even this age group.
So...I hated everything about this book. It's pretty terrible. I was bored the whole way through. Every plot point was obvious. It was evident that this book was written by an adult trying to sound like an eleven year old. The biggest problem with this book was, by far, the completely vapid main character and the sad shells of characters that follow her lead.
Hannah is one of what is supposed to be two main characters, but the book really is all about her. In fact, according to Hannah, the whole world is about her. She's obnoxious and full of herself. She lives in The Elms, a turn-of-the-century mansion that has been turned into a museum. Her dad is the caretaker there. Hannah is obsessed with the house and the time period and knows everything there is to know about it. She follows the docents around while they're giving tours so she can correct them if they mess up any historical facts. She is highly irritated that no one thinks a kid is capable of giving tours, so she uses this huge chip on her shoulder to guide her behavior...like a kid. This is the heart of my issue with Hannah. She is so miffed that no one takes her and her knowledge seriously, that she is treated like a child. Well...she acts like a child. A really, really immature child. There is one docent that particularly irritates her and she makes it her mission to frustrate him daily. When she concocts a plan to find the painting, she says, "I will finally, finally get the respect I deserve from the docents and everyone else who thought I was just a bratty kid getting in their way." Yet a few paragraphs before that she details how this docent she doesn't like took issue with her swimming in the fountain on the grounds after hours, so she puts on a werewolf mask, hides out in a wardrobe, and jumps out to scare him while he's giving a tour. Yeah, if that isn't bratty behavior, I don't know what is. Hannah is an entitled brat and she doesn't grow at all by the end of the novel. I really disliked her and she isn't a character that I would want my kids model themselves after.
Maggie is the other character in this book. She is zipped forward into Hannah's time and Hannah's body in this story. I think that her part of the story was supposed to have been interesting because she would be exploring what the future would look like and feel like to someone from the past. Honestly, this was an opportunity wasted. I feel like this was supposed to be a platform for women's rights and equality, but it was poorly handled.
Jonah is the third major player in this story and he is nothing. There is no substance to him and he exists merely to move the "plot" forward. He does everything that Hannah as Maggie tells him to do. He's mild-mannered and good-humored. After he is completely betrayed by Hannah, he forgives her instantly. He takes a few trinkets of Maggie's to pawn, moves out west, and changes his name. Whole new life. Everything wrapped up in a nice, neat, little, unbelievable bow.
If you could switch places with someone, who would you choose? For Hannah Jordan, daughter of the caretaker at The Elms Mansion in Newport, RI, it’s Margaret, a.k.a. “Maggie” Dunlap, the young heiress who summered at The Elms in the early twentieth century.
In a “Freaky Friday”-like time travel experience, Hannah no longer has to wonder what it was like to live in the Gilded Age. Her wish is granted when both girls appear on opposite sides of a mystery mirror, completely swapping full-body identities – Hannah moving back in time, and Maggie leaping forward into the 21st century.
Maggie is initially horrified to find that she’s wearing trousers instead of a dress, but rather enjoys the freedom of movement they allow! And what is the small rectangular object that vibrates and lights up with letters and a photo? She frets over how she will possibly be able to play soccer without perspiring. What would Aunt think about all this? Meanwhile, Hannah marvels at how much is exactly the same at The Elms in 1905, and quickly learns that she/Maggie enjoys many freedoms not afforded to those keeping the house running smoothly beneath her in the basement. She puts all her efforts into trying to prevent the commissioned painting of Maggie from being stolen in the famous 1905 art heist.
Will Hannah’s best be enough? The girls can’t help but wonder if the grass greener on the other side. A temporary swap threatens to become permanent and the girls reflect on their old lives with yearning. In a race against time, Hannah and Maggie try to solve the mystery of the missing portrait without affecting the rest of history as written in the books.
Spending most of my childhood summers in Newport: on the beach, walking through the shops in historic downtown, and visiting The Breakers and Rosecliff on school field trips, I appreciated all of the historical references embedded in the story, then and now.
With equal parts mystery, science fiction, and ultimate girl power, The Art of the Swap, co-written by Kristine Asselin and Jen Malone, is a delightful title to seek on or after it’s Book Birthday on February 13, 2018.
This is the story of Hannah Jordan and Maggie Dunlap. Hannah lives in a mansion that was turned into a museum. It is the Elms in Newport, Rhode Island. Hannah's father is the caretaker of the museum, and Hannah has spent her time learning about the family that lived there. She seems to know more than ever the guides who take visitors through the museum.
The biggest mystery of the Elms is an art heist that took place in 1905. It involved the 12 year old niece of the homeowners - Maggie Dunlap - and a painting of her that her aunt had commissioned. Hannah has always been fascinated by the story of the heist, and Maggie. One day, she is cleaning a mirror and touches a spot on the mirror that sends her swirling into the past. The next thing she knows - she is Maggie in 1905 and Maggie is her.
The girls have no idea why this happened, but they are determined to find out. Hannah gets her wish to see what it was like to live at the Elms while it was a house and Maggie gets a chance to see what it is like in the future. The girls think that the art heist is the heart of the reason they were switched, and now they must work together - and quickly - to set things right.
This was a great book. I actually know the author, Kristine Asselin quite well. She is an amazing person in real life, and her personality shines in this book. There is a nice message woven within the pages of the mystery, and my daughter, especially, was tuned into that. Plus, there are a lot of true to life elements in the book that I was drawn to. (The Elms, The Berwinds, Maggie, etc - all real places and people).
I am glad we had a chance to read it and I cannot wait to see what Kris writes in the future. Bravo!
What a delightful story. I loved every part of it.
Hannah has the privilege of living in the stately Elms manor, a remnant of the Gilded Age of the early 20th century. She's big on history, and often gets into trouble because she knows more about the place than the docents who give tours. One day, she happens upon a hidden mirror which gives her a tiny window into the past. She sees Maggie, a girl her age from 1905 whose portrait Hannah has admired for many years. Both girls, full of curiosity, touch the mirror - and switch bodies.
Hannah is magically transported to 1905, where her devil-may-care attitude is NOT proper. Meanwhile, Maggie now finds herself in a time with technological marvels such as cell phones, airplanes, and television. Both girls find themselves trying to solve a century-old mystery of a missing painting, not to mention how they're going to get back to their proper times!
The amount of research the authors did is obvious - every detail was crafted with loving care. I adored the personalities of both girls, despite them being polar opposites. The character of Jonah, a servant boy who becomes embroiled in the mystery, was also wonderful. The story was full of suspense and intrigue and funny moments, and I found myself turning page after page in anticipation.
Young readers who love history and mysteries and GIRL POWER! will take to this story in a heartbeat. I highly recommend it.
4.5 stars! The Elms own twelve-year-old historian Hannah Jordan has always thought she would be friends with Maggie Dunlap who lived in the Elms in 1905, but when she sees Maggie in a mirror and switches bodies with her she realizes that she has to solve the over one hundred year art heist. Maggie and Hannah both have trouble adjusting to their new time periods, Hannah has to act proper, while Maggie soaks up the future where women can do anything. While Hannah attempts to figure out who is behind the art heist, she befriends Jonah, the accused art thief. In three days, the girls solve the mystery of the art heist and switch back to their proper timelines. An added bonus is that the Elms and Berwinds were real people! The mansion looks astounding and I wish the author had put that information in the front of the book instead of at the very end. I honestly wasn't sure how I would feel about this book because I haven't read a juvenile book in a long time, but this book blew my expectations away for the first book of Children's Sequoyah Masterlist 2020. This book was such a joy to read, although it took about forty pages for me to get into the book. The girls were so fun to follow around in 1905 and present time. I did feel a little let down with the art thief, but I regress because this is a children's book.
Twelve year olds Hannah Jordan and Maggie Dunlop both live in Newport, Rhode Island in the same house, except Maggie lives there in 1905 and Hannah lives there now. Maggie is the niece of the estate's owner, and enjoys the many luxuries (and restrictions) of a girl from upper class society in the gilded age. Hannah is the daughter of the caretaker of the museum that the house has become. Through a twist of fate, the two girls manage to switch bodies and places in time. Suddenly, Hannah is in Maggie's body in 1905, living in the world she has been obsessed with for years. For Maggie the future is a strange place indeed, but she begins to enjoy the freedom that girls have in many aspects of their lives (No corsets! Wearing pants! Running on the soccer field! Running for president!). Hannah decides that they must have been switched so that she can stop a theft from happening, but it is not as easy it seemed to be from the future. A very fun time-travel, body-swapping adventure! Highly recommended to grades 4 and up.
I was so happy I got this book. Normally, I don't read a lot of Middle Grade books, but what drew me to this book was the time travel aspect (one of my favorite genres) and the fact that we (the readers) not only get a view of the past from a present girl, but a few of our present from a girl from the turn-of-the-twentieth century.
I cannot name all the parts of the book I liked, but here's some of the most that stand out (and I'll try to be discreet and not spoil anything). I liked when Maggie (in Hannah's body) tried to play soccer, and her view of the Mansion-turned-Museum when she first arrived. I also liked seeing the past from Hannah (in Maggie's body) point-of-view and realizing what girls couldn't do back then.
I am really glad I got this and any fans of time-travel or "switched" (two people switch places) stories, this is a book that will not disappoint. Good for any age, including fans of the Samantha series from American Girl.
The Art of the Swap is truly a mesmerizing and engaging children's books incorporating three of my favorite genres, Children's Literature,History and Mystery all into one. To start out in the modern times as the character Hannah Jordan, and to mysteriously end up in 1905 as the well to do Maggie Dunlop at her family's estate which you live in now in the modern times as it is a museum, and Maggie then ends up as Hannah to work together to unravel a hundred year mystery of what really happened to portrait of Maggie Dunlop painted by Mary Cassatt. The Art of the Swap is a historically accurate and humorous page turner from start to finish. You get the sense of both Maggie and Hannah's experiences oof switching roles, and seeing at first that Hannah adjusts better to being Maggie than Maggie does of being Hannah by tossing Hannah's cellphone under her bed as she awakes as her. This book is truly a must read of 2018.
This was an interesting way to incorporate time travel, a mystery, and learning from others all at the same time.
The idea that two girls, separated by 100 years, would look in the same mirror, at the same time is plausible and a perfect way for them to switch places in time.
Reading the end of the book (author's notes) about the real parts of the book vs those they made up just adds to the uniqueness of the book.
While Hannah and Maggie might be better off not being able to talk with each other through the mirror, here's hoping for some kind of sequel where Hannah discovers a diary written by Maggie that describes another mystery that needs to be solved (the tree could be a perfect way to go back in time, especially if the two girls could somehow end up being back in time together!)
Two girls living in a Newport mansion 100 years apart- and their lives intersect because of a famously stolen painting. On the surface they seem mismatched, but Hannah and Maggie soon find out they can work together to solve a mystery and change history. The mystery was intriguing, the setting breathtaking, and the differences they encounter by being swapped in time are entertaining. But what I loved the most was how Asselin and Malone made sure to highlight societal issues in both eras. From class structure, to women's rights, Asselin and Malone carefully introduce inequality in the 1900s and present day America. Multiple copies will be on my classroom shelf, and this is one I'll be sure to put on my granddaughter's shelf as well! Highly recommend.
In this historical fantasy, twelve-year-olds Hannah Jordon, who considers herself an export on the Elms, a mansion and museum in Newport, Rhode Island, where her father is the caretaker, and heiress Maggie Dunlap, who lived there in 1905 when her portrait by artist Mary Cassatt disappeared right before the unveiling, swap places through a magic mirror portal. As the girls experience the differences that a century makes in the evolution of society and women’s rights, Hannah discovers that she can’t undo the heist before the big reveal, even when she’s learned what really happened, without changing history and their exits back home. Authors’ notes describe the writing process and include resources on The Elms and the Gilded Age, as well as the fight for women’s equality.
I am always fascinated with time travel and with what our world would look like to someone in the past, so this book about girls from different time periods switching places was an enjoyable read. I had some disappointment with believability of the characters - Hannah knew all about the history of the mansion and the time period that Maggie comes from, yet she persists in talking to people in modern slang and expecting to fit in. She also leaves poor Maggie with almost no idea of what she will have to do or encounter in the modern era.
I was excited to learn that the mansion is a real place and that the story was inspired by a caretaker and his daughter very much like Hannah and her father. I plan to visit when I make it to Rhode Island one day!
A time-travel story, reminiscent of Freaky Friday. Written from the perspective of Maggie, who spends her summers at The Elms, a Newport mansion during the Gilded Age, and Hannah, who lives at The Elms in the present-day with her caretaker father. The girls travel through time and work to solve a decades-old mystery of a missing portrait, while also experiencing and adjusting to a time/life so different from each of her own. I enjoyed the back matter, which includes information about the parts of the story that are fact, Newport mansions and tours, and info about other “girl-power” books and resources.
The Art of the Swap is about two 12 year old girls (Hannah and Maggie) that live a century apart in the same residence. It resonated deeply with me, as I am a lover of mysteries. And the mystery of the stolen portrait is intriguing. But this book is so much more. It discusses the class systems that were the staple in America. It discusses women’s rights before women had the right to vote and today. I absolutely loved the strong female leads. I have already recommended The Art of the Swap to my librarian, and I preordered a copy for my niece. Thank you to these authors for writing such a wonderful book!
really enjoyed this time traveling story! I liked that the story switched back and forth between this century and the last century. It was very interesting to see how different the two centuries have become and how a 21st century kid might fare in the 20th century and vice versa. Maggie and Hannah are both in for some shocks as they try to navigate the others world without permanently messing anything up for each other. As Hannah tries to solve a century old mystery in the 20th century, she realizes that her actions could change history and therefore change the life she knows back in her own century.
Hannah Jordan has been living at The Elms mansion for as long as she can remember. She and her father live in what used to be the servents quarters, but is now a home to the 2 of them because The Elms has been turned into a muesem. As much as Hannah is a history smartie and how she always corrects Trent's facts on tours, it is the portrait of Maggie Dunlap, an original family member of The Elms, that always fascinates her. That is until one day thanks to a magical and mysterious mirror, they swap places in time. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction, adventure, and mystery.
If I could do half stars I would rate it 3.5 stars. The chapters were short and quick to read. I think the book dragged in the middle and could have been a bit shorter. I enjoyed the plot and the main characters. There were lots of references to feminism but I didn't think they were over the top. This is a good book for kids who liked Serafina and the Black Cloak (except there is nothing paranormal). I didn't realize until the end that the mansion in the book is real as are some of the characters. The authors placed references in the back of the book for further exploration - a definite plus!!!
I explained this book to a group of students today and a boy raised his hand and said, “it’s kind of like Freaky Friday?” Yes, it is.
Maybe because I’m an art major and I spent my honeymoon in Newport, RI, I enjoyed this story of girls who trade physical bodies to try to prevent a painting from being stolen. I love the focus on important women (including Mary Cassatt). I had never thought about how weird it would be to physically be in someone else’s body. This book did a good job helping students to really think it through.
I think this book will spark creative thinking in readers. I enjoyed both viewpoints and the thoughtfulness of explaining time periods, too.
I'm so very very sad that I've finished reading this book. Right from the start the characters of Hannah and Maggie pull you in and drag you by the hand through this whirlwind adventure. I couldn't put it down and only wanted to pick it back up again when I did. The storyline is similar enough to Freaky Friday (book and movie) but takes on a whole new level of intrigue with solving a mystery and dominating with GIRL POWER! These two authors have combined their voices seamlessly into one fantastic tale. WTG!