With a title like this, how could this not be an instant hit? Two siblings I know jumped at the chance to read it and I had to literally wrestle it off them in order to write this review.
Jo Simmon’s premise is simple, but genius. A younger boy, fed up of being tormented by his older brother, sees an advert on the Internet which offers to swap his sibling for a brand new one. What child with siblings would not be tempted? Jonny fills in the form and clicks ‘send’. And waits.
Sure enough, a new sibling is delivered the next day and at first things do indeed seem to be perfect. This brother is funny and friendly. So what if he has never ridden a bike, or has an amazing ability to eat fish fingers by the dozen, or spends a REALLY long time in the bath? But then Jonny discovers he has a secret and they both quickly realise that this swap is probably not going to work.
What I love about this book is that, unlike other stories that would spend a long time trying to sort out this problem, author Jo Simmons does a quick reveal, then quickly and kindly finds a way to get on with the next part of the story. Sibling one dispatched, sibling two arrives. And this brother is even more bonkers than the first!
So it goes on, with Jonny meeting many new brothers, each with a secret and each destined to move on. I won’t give too much away about the brothers, except to say that Jonny soon begins to regret not ticking the ‘must be human’ and ‘must be alive’ boxes on the Sibling Swap questionnaire!
I Swapped My Brother On The Internet explores the ideas of family relationships and wish fulfilment and has a lovely message about what really matters in the end.