Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Book Review: "Where I End and You Begin" by Preston Norton

Preston Norton's Where I End and You Begin is a fun and different take on the Freaky Friday theme which may make you approach viewing any astronomic event with a bit of trepidation.

"My excuse was that I was an antisocial loser with crippling anxiety who had no intention of branching out of my small, sad, pathetic world, thank you very much. I mean, my greatest strength was math, for Christ's sake!"

Ezra has been obsessed with Imogen Klutz since the fourth grade, but as much as he's thought about wanting to be with her, he's never had the courage to make a move. But never before has that weighed on Ezra as much as now, when his fear of asking her to prom has literally given him insomnia. Yet even though he becomes a stuttering buffoon in the presence of this beautiful girl with the gigantic eyebrows, he can't think of anything else he wants more.

His biggest obstacle? Imogen's best friend and near-constant companion, Wynonna Jones. Wynonna, with her blue hair and style that could be described as either "military hippie-core" or "80s vomit-punk," enjoys nothing more than tormenting Ezra every chance she gets. Which of course, leads to Ezra's humiliation and serves as a catalyst for his inability to ask Imogen to prom.

And then one night, when Ezra and his best friend, Holden, plan to watch a total solar eclipse from the roof of their high school—a plan also shared by Imogen and Wynonna—something goes completely awry. Ezra and Wynonna somehow wake up the next morning to find that they have switched bodies. And to make the horror worse, they keep switching back and forth every day. It's a torture neither can believe has been inflicted on them.

When Ezra-as-Wynonna discovers her secret crush on Holden, of all people (probably the person she loves fighting with almost as much as she does Ezra), his desperation gets the best of him, and he and his nemesis make a deal. If Wynonna can help him win over Imogen, Ezra will help her land Holden. Seems pretty straightforward, right?

But with the craziness involved in their body-switching, who is Imogen falling for, Ezra or Wynonna's badass version of Ezra, the guy he wishes he could be? Needless to say, hijinks, mistaken identities, and embarrassing situations ensue.

This was a cute book. Norton, whose first book, Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe, I was definitely a fan of, knows how to create endearing, fun characters who aren't all bravado and confidence. This book got a little silly at times but it had a good heart, and of course, a tremendous amount of suspending your disbelief is required. But the fun definitely was worth the silliness!

NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers provided me with a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!

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