Wednesday, September 7, 2016

ARC Review: Into You by Jay Northcote

Into You

What do you do when the body you wake up in isn’t yours?

Olly and Scott promised to be best friends forever. They grew up on the same street, went to the same school, and did everything together. But one hot summer night, teenage experimentation caused hurt feelings and confusion, and their friendship was destroyed.

Four years later they’re both eighteen years old and in their final term at school. Scott is a football star and Olly’s preparing for a main role in the school play. After a heated argument in the street—witnessed by their mysterious, elderly neighbour—they wake up the next morning stuck in each other’s bodies.

With no idea how to get back to normal, they have to co-operate in order to hide their secret. Spending time together rekindles their friendship, yet feelings run deeper for both of them. With the end of school fast approaching, the clock is ticking. Unless they discover how to change back, they could be stuck in the wrong bodies forever.

Todd's rating:

I. Absolutely. Adored. This. Story.

At 9 years old, Olly and Scott are inseparable, even going as far as having their own blood oath to be best friends forever.

But when the boys are 14, a kiss and a lie shatters their bond and their friendship blows away like so many leaves in a strong wind.

Except that's not how things are supposed to happen, so when Scott nearly runs Olly down on his bicycle and an argument ensues, their elderly neighbor, Miss Wychwood, takes matters into her own hands in order to get fate back on track.

After all, blood bonds aren't something one can simply choose to break. Especially not when an old lady and her black cat keep their eyes on the prize.

The next morning, the boys wake up inside one another's bodies (and not in the 'bawm-chika-wow-wow' sexy way,) so they are forced to work together to sort out how to soul swap back again.

Olly, who is gay, must pretend to be Scott and deal with not only his clingy, annoying girlfriend, Amy, but also with Scott's extremely homophobic father. Plus, Scott is a star footballer, so Olly must fill those rather large, athletic shoes, too.

Scott, who says he's straight, has things a bit easier, as he's living with Olly's laid-back family, but he does have to pick up the lead role of Romeo in the school play, which isn't easy, as he's afraid of public speaking.

To pull off the task of pretending to be one another, the boys must constantly give advice and exchange details regarding their current lives, which is precisely what Miss Wychwood intended all along, as that process immediately begins repairing their broken friendship and hearts.

One of the funniest aspects of the book is that both boys find the other extremely attractive, only to then have unlimited, completely private access to the other person's body.

And what do teenage guys do behind closed doors on a regular basis? Yeah, therein lies the rub (pardon the pun.) I mean, who's going to know, right?

So while both boys try to be respectful that the body they currently inhabit (and are dying to touch, take out for a test drive if you will,) isn't theirs to touch, that can only last so long before their resolve begins to crumble.

And it's freaking hilarious to watch, like that piece of chocolate turtle cheesecake in the fridge. How long is that bitch really gonna sit there uneaten? Not long, let me tell you!

Another part of the story that I love is that Scott finally realizes that the lie he's been living isn't worth it. So as he is allowed to live as Olly, open and honest about his sexuality, Scott's fear of coming out simply fades away and he's ready to finally go for the life with Olly that he's always wanted as soon as they swap back, homophobic father be damned.

My one niggle about the story, which is completely unavoidable with body swap stories, is that I had to continually pause mentally and picture "okay, this is Scott speaking, but he's in Olly's body, so everyone else is seeing Olly" and vice versa.

There is zero way around that, which was distracting, but the story was so worth it, as it kept me on my toes and thoroughly entertained from the first word to the last.

Although both boys are 18, the sexy times are limited to some touching and oral, which does get pretty steamy, but doesn't proceed on-page any further than that.

The story ends with what I feel is an HEA, mainly because the boys have known one another for a decade and, whether they realized it or not, being together was always written in their stars.

We even get an epilogue with the boys attending Uni in Manchester, sleeping in the same bed most nights, which was the cherry on top for me.

And as a way of showing their gratitude for her help, the boys cultivate a friendship with Miss Wychwood, helping her with her lawn and garden when they're home.

This was a solid 4.5 star read for me and I would *lurve* to see more stories with a certain older woman setting the lives of other young gay boys back on track.

After all, fate sometimes needs a helping hand.

My ARC copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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