Changeling (Changeling, #1)

ISBN: 0670059676
ISBN 13: 9780670059676
By: Delia Sherman

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About this book

Neef is a changeling, a human baby stolen by fairies and replaced with one of their own. She lives in "New York Between," a Manhattan alongside our own, home to creatures of folklore. Protected by her fairy godmother until she breaks a Fairy Law, now she must face the challenge of the Green Lady of Central Park or be sacrificed! Neef is determined, but time is running out.

Reader's Thoughts


Neef is a changeling, a human baby stolen by fairies who lives in the Central Park of New York Between, an Otherworld Manhattan that co-exists with our own, inhabited by all sorts of Fairy Folk. Neef (whose real name she doesn’t care to disclose to just anybody since – as you know – real names have power) has been brought up by her fairy godmother the white rat Astris and lives under the protection of The Green Lady, the Genius of the Central Park. Neef’s days are spent in relative tranquillity, learning about Folk Lore and attending lessons at her world’s (awesome) version of the Metropolitan Museum.But Neef is super curious and yearns for adventures. And it is that curiosity that lands her in trouble and she ends up (unknowingly) violating a geas put on her and breaking Fairy law. The result is that she is to be banished from home after losing the protection of the Green Lady, effectively becoming prey to the Wild Hunt. But there is always a way out or a bargain to be made when it comes to the Folk and so Neef and her friends convince the Green Lady to accept a deal: Neef is to go in search of three objects, all of them close to impossible to obtain. Even as scared as she is, Neef takes the challenge as it ought to be taken: as an opportunity to go on a quest and to finally live a Grand Adventure. And a Grand Adventure she has – from being kidnapped to meeting her fairy changeling, from facing mermaids and dragons to meeting the Bull of Wall Street, it’s all very worthy of a cool heroine who deals with all the obstacles with smarts and determination (and sometimes, tears).At the end there is definitely some growth (as any real quester will tell you) and so Neef grows up but interestingly enough, she doesn’t grow human – or at least, I didn’t read it as such. Her sense of ethic is shaped and determined by the Folk stories she knows. She has been completed integrated to her life – she never once thinks about leaving her fairy life for a mortal life, for example. She also knows all the supposed rules of a Quest and everything that relates to stories and she uses this knowledge to her advantage, even when it means breaking those very rules. Part of what made this book such a pleasure to read was the fact that Neef has so much awareness about Fantasy and Folklore tropes. I also loved how varied those stories were as the premise is that the mortal immigrants who moved to NY from all over the world have taken the Folk – and their stories – with them and even beloved book characters become alive in New York Between.That said, I picked Changeling to read after reading and loving Delia Sherman’s amazing The Freedom Maze and I was curious to see how both books compared (or not). I am saying this as a matter of full disclosure: this is how I read this book. So, they are very different books in the end, with very different stories and motives. But I thought it was very interesting that both heroines shared a couple of traits. Both departed on their stories because of the similar impetus that both protagonists shared: the desire to go on an adventure. Plus, both of them loved stories and had a certain awareness of tropes relating to fairytales. The difference lies in how The Freedom Maze’s heroine awareness did not help her at all because, even though there were fantastical elements in that story, she was living in the “real world” whereas Neef uses those to her advantage and with success – but then again, Changeling is a Fantasy story through and through.That also transcribes in how the two stories progress: Changeling is a very, very light romp – even when Neef is at dangerous moments, that danger never really comes through. In fact, that is my biggest problem (if I can even call it that, considering how I enjoyed it) with Changeling: considering the stakes, considering the creatures Neef has to face, the challenges proved to be extremely easy and work out perfectly in the end. I wondered: isn’t it also part of traditional stories that there are great costs to a protagonist on a quest? In that sense, I thought that The Freedom Maze explored that idea much better. Having said that I am also very much aware of the fact that it is not really fair to compare the two books on those grounds but there you have it.Changeling is supposed to be a light, fantastical romp with a very cool heroine and on its own, it is one of the most imaginative Middle Grade Fantasy stories I’ve had the pleasure to read.


CHANGELING is the kind of fairy tale I love :D Set in the modern day, with a bold young girl names Neff who is trying to survive the fairy realm's elaborate rules. Neef is a Changeling, stolen to be raised by fairies, with a fairy left in her place. Living in Central Park and closely watched by her fairy family, all Neef wants--like any smart kid--is freedom, but in the fairy world, freedom can be deadly. Neef has to use her wits when she breaks the Rules. If she doesn't succeed on a small quest, the Wild Hunt will have her, and she will die. The story is a tense and scary one, the characters wonderful. I love Delia Sherman's adult books, and I am delighted with this one as well the next one in this series comes out in June 2009 I will be keeping my eye out for it as I am excited to see how this Fairy Tale continues!!! ;.D

Michelle M

Book #8: Changeling, by Delia Sherman.This is a story about a human girl raised in "New York Between" by the magical creatures that live there. She is a changeling, replaced with a fairy creature in the "world outside." She is, as most humans are, a curious and bit foolhardy girl and one innocent mistake throws her whole future into disarray. Only a daunting quest in three parts can restore the only life she knows as home.This was a fast, fun, easy read. Full of puns and twisted meanings and the misconceptions of the human world as seen through the eyes of a pseudo-faerie, I really enjoyed this light read with elements of urban fantasy, myth, and New York travel guide with a tinge of cyberpunk thrown in for good measure. One interesting note about the author, she is one of the founders and president of . I fully intend to check out more of her work.


Changling revolves around Neef, a stolen human child being raised in the fairy world. There are rules in Faerie, but Neef has yet to discover that that rulebreaking can have serious consequences (though consequences can be gotten around if you are clever). Featuring characters such as the Pooka, Mr. Rat, Puck, moss women, and mermaids, this fun story for younger readers also serves as an introduction to fantasy characters from all over the world.


I finished Changeling in a few days because it is one of the best books I have ever read. If you enjoy a "different" kind of fantasy, then you will love Changeling. This book is mainly about a changeling named Neef who breaks a fairy law, and then her protection of the Green Lady is removed. As she has no protection, her fairy godmother is also taken away. Now Neef and Changeling are on a quest to retrieve 3 diffrent items from the other Geniuses of New York Between. If she does not complete this task, she will be banned from New York Between,and she will be eaten by the Wild Hunt ( a creature half wolf, half demon, 100% nightmare). During this time Changeling and Neef become great freinds. Ms.Mazzole, if you are reading this,I think this is somthing the whole class would love.i recomend this book to EVERYONE!!!!!!! hope you all liked my review. :)


Some fairy books can cross over from young reader to older reader and the fanatasy world can be interesting for both groups. This books is really only for younger readers. I would not read it again. The character is interesting enough to finish the book but not to worry for or about, you don't get attached to Neef or the Changeling. The plot is simple problem and answer. But the unique animal characters and over all fantasy aspect should satisfy a new reader.

Melissa Bennett

Neef is human who was switched at birth with a fairy and brought into New York between to become the Changeling of Central Park. She's is an overly curious child and soon becomes aware of a Solstice dance that occurs every year that she somehow always misses. Neef loves to dance and wants very badly to go. She realizes that she has been given a sleeping potion on the previous nights of the dance. She quickly finds a way around that and on the night of the dance, she sneaks down to it. There she causes a ruckous and the Green Lady of the Park states that she was forbidden to attend the dance and must be banished. If she is banished, she will be left for the Wild Hunt who waits in anticipation to get there hands (or claws) on her. She ends up making a deal (with the help of the Pooka)to go on a quest to obtain 3 objects to appease the Green Lady. On her quest she is accompanied by the fairy that was left in her place. Although they look alike, they are very different. They become close during there quest and realize each other's differences are good in their own way. This was a great book that teaches many different morals. I recommend it highly.

Sandra Pulliam

This is a fun fast paced story that has lovable and horrible characters. This is very much a book for younger teens but I still really enjoyed it. Neff is a Changeling that has unknowingly broken a geis by attending the Summer Solstice. Sentenced to death by the wild hunt then kidnapped by a boogie man only to end up with the child left in her place she sets out on a magical quest to save herself and her faerie twin. Neff is brave and her changeling faerie twin is super smart. Together they make a wonderful team that will have you laughing. I stayed up late to finish this book and I'm glad I did. An adorable story that I would highly recommend.


I was gonna read a chapter or two, then go to bed, but I had to keep reading to see how it turned out! A fabulous book about a the quest of a young changeling, who had broken a major rule, to get back home, save her earthly counterpart and return her home, get her stepfather back home, and release another changeling from servitude.This is the first book by Ms. Sherman that I have read, but it's clear I shall have to read the others.


A fun and interesting twist of a fairytale, this book cleverly combines the "bring me the broom of the wicked witch of the west"/"no place like home" quality of "The Wizard of Oz", which I adored, the "fairy-world living side-by-side with the mortal world" quality of "Gossamer" which I despised, and the "kidnapped and taken to the world of Neverland" quality of "Peter Pan" which I have yet to read, all set in a cutesy, funky, urban, modern, magical, enchanted New York City. Definitely not a classic-in-the-making, but still, it just may be unique enough to be worth the read.


This is a fantastic children's fantasy/adventure book with some interesting psychological aspects that adults will appreciate. I don't know how much is too much to give away, but the book does wonders with its descriptions of scenery and characters and is great fun for people who know Manhattan, and presents a unique idea for the origin of "changeling" children, those who the fairies leave in place of kidnapped human children.

Allen Garvin

Changeling is a really terrific contemporary fairy fantasy set in New York Between, the fairy version of NYC, told first-person by Neef, a human child stolen as an infant and replaced by Changeling (who appears later). Packed with fairy motifs and references to modern culture, twisted through a unique outlook; very wry, feisty, utterly charming!


Great read! Fun little twist on fairy tales and magic lands.


This book is deceptive. I nearly regretted buying it because the first few chapters seemed contrived and poorly written - but over the summer, I had nothing better to read, so I kept going. I tell my friends now, at least give it until page 75, because that's when I noticed the change. That's when Changeling suddenly went from bad to very good, and it kept me turning the page until the very end. I've read plenty of modern urban fantasies, but Delia Sherman puts an interesting spin on a New York full of fairies, monsters, and gods. The beginning barely hooked me, yet I was sad for it to end!


This book was really good, so the parts of it which were frustrating were really more frustrating than they would have been in a mediocre book, sadly. Fantastic world-building and a smart, self-aware protagonist -- yay! But that protagonist couldn't manage a believable interaction with any of the other people in the book -- boo! Neef had pretty much no empathy for anyone, no sense that she should be concerned in anything but a mechanical how-does-this-affect-me way with other people's feelings. There could have been a great story in there about what emotions really meant for humans raised by fairies and fairies raised by humans, but the opportunity was lost. The author's short story Catnyp, about the same protagonist when she's a bit older, was much more appealing.

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