***** (5 Stars) An amazing debut by a new author! Kept me turning the pages.
Changed by Heather Dahlgren was a wonderful book. The title is fitting as the main character, Kennedy (Kenz), changed herself – her change from what and who she was in high school to what and who she is in college is akin to a caterpillar changing into a butterfly. Nobody would easily realize that the new Kenz is the one they knew in high school. Although Kenz has changed a lot, the irony of it is that she doesn’t accept that others could change as she did.
Kenz and her roommates meet Campbell and his roommates at a bar. Kenz and Campbell seem to really hit it off until Kenz suddenly leaves the bar without warning. Even though she has Campbell’s phone number and really liked him, she chooses to not pursue a possible relationship with him. However, fate has something different in store for Kenz – people are moving into the vacant apartment across the way, and surprise, it is Campbell and his roommates. This chance encounter causes something to click with Kenz, and even though her past is telling her she shouldn’t look twice at Campbell, her heart is telling her that she should. What secret does Kenz hold? Will she reveal her secret to Campbell?
Ms. Dahlgren does a spectacular job with the development of unique characters that all have different personalities ranging from sweet and sensitive, secretive, goofy, and romantic and protective. The secondary characters (the roommates of both Kenz and Campbell) mesh well with the main characters and support the story line rather than detract from it.
Changed is full of funny moments, romantic moments, steamy scenes, angst, sadness, and love. Ms. Dahlgren not only has her characters experience a wide range of emotions, but develops a bond between her readers and the characters so they are feeling the same things the characters are feeling. I am not ashamed to admit there are parts that made me cry, just as there were parts that filled me with joy and made me laugh.
I cannot wait to see if Ms. Dahlgren releases more books that tell the stories of the roommates. I would enjoy getting to know more about Young, Maddie, Becca, and Dick. I would definitely recommend this book to others.