Switchers is Stand by Me meets Slaugherhouse-5, or maybe Dark Matter meets The Hunger Games.
It was the last day of school, in a version of 1996 that very few of us remember. Kurt Stephens and his friends (Andy, Dylan, and Birdie) are enjoying the beginning of summer break and drinking Slurpees. While checking out the abandoned farmhouse behind the 7-Eleven, two bullies sneak up on the guys and jump them. They give Andy a good shiner, then force Birdie—the weakest of the group—into the basement of the creepy house. Once Birdie confirms he’s down there, Andy’s allowed in to go get him. They wait, and wait some more, but hear nothing. Finally, Birdie runs out of the house screaming, “Something happened to Andy!” and speeds off on his bike. When Andy comes out he seems OK, just…different. Before the night’s over, Andy nearly kills one of the bullies, then warns his friends something big is going to happen. Soon. They ask questions, but all he says: “You’ll know it when you see it.”
The next morning, Kurt wakes up to a military airstrike. Andy shows up, oddly unaffected by the frightening levels of panic and chaos building outside, to take Kurt to safety. They journey through the woods, avoiding bomb strikes, patrol helicopters, and gunfire on their way to meet up with Birdie and Dylan. But, to Kurt’s surprise, three girls and one of the bullies from the night before are there as well. Then Andy spills it. He isn’t really Andy; he’s a switcher—an older version of Andy who switched bodies, and places in time, with their Andy. The rest of the assembled group are important to the switchers for reasons unknown to the teens, and are all at once sent to an apocalyptic future with a terrifying, out of control parasitic fungus that threatens to end humanity. But they don’t all arrive at the same location.
From that point on, Kurt and his friends—both old and new—must stay alive, escape the switchers, and find a switching device, all while constantly regrouping and bouncing between two worlds: one where they are older, split up, under attack by multiple factions, and must avoid the parasite; and one where they are together, young, and under attack by a occupying force of malevolent time travelers. The kids must travel time and distance, learning about each other and who they become, who they can and can’t trust, and how to get home before the switching window closes.
“The kind of book you don’t want to put down until it’s done. Christopher Tallon really raises the bar on sci-fi story telling and keeps you guessing till the end. Well done!”–Mike D.
“This story is so much fun! I like to think of whether I can see a book being turned into a movie or not (because that’s how so many great movies are made nowadays), and I could picture this in that medium every step of the way! What a cool idea, and the execution of each turn in the story was spot on! Loved it!”–JoAnn C.
“A battle between the future and the present entangle the unsuspecting lives of a group of young friends and drives them into a fight for their lives…and their future. [Switchers] keeps the reader guessing, draws the reader into the story, and leaves them on the edge of their seat all the way up to the climatic, breathe-taking conclusion. Switchers is a must read…”–Nate W.