Title: Foreign Exchange
Author: Denise Jaden
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Publication date: October 10, 2014
Source: Author in exchange for a fair and honest review
Jamie Monroe has always played it safe. That is, until her live-for-the-moment best friend, Tristan, jets off to Italy on a student exchange program. Left alone with her part-time mother and her disabled brother, Jamie discovers that she is quite capable of taking her own risks, starting with her best friend’s hotter-than-hot older brother, Sawyer. Sawyer and Tristan have been neighbors for years, but as Jamie grows closer to the family she thought she knew, she discovers some pretty big secrets.
As she sinks deeper into their web of pretense, she suspects that her best friend may not be on a safe exchange program at all. Jamie sets off to Europe on a class trip with plans to meet up with Tristan, but when Tristan stops all communication, suddenly no one seems trustworthy, least of all the one person she was starting to trust—Sawyer.
I’m a big fan of Denise Jaden and was so honored when she asked me to beta read her latest YA a while back. I’m even more honored now to have read the published novel and be able share my thoughts with you all!
Foreign Exchange is a YA contemp/mystery with a European road trip mixed in that creates a very compelling and interesting story. It begins with Jamie’s best friend Tristan heading off to Italy for an exchange program, leaving Jamie alone with Tristan’s off-limits but hot brother, Sawyer. Tristan has made it clear throughout her and Jamie’s friendship that Sawyer is a player and she doesn’t want Jamie falling for him…but of course, she does. With Tristan gone, the two can now start exploring a relationship that has the potential to turn into something else. Only now Tristan has gone MIA and Jamie and Sawyer embark on a trip of their own to find Tristan and bring her back.
I’m a sucker for a book set in different locations around the world (especially Europe) so I loved that aspect of Foreign Exchange. The story includes Michigan, Canada, Rome, Venice, and Barcelona, and you get to see a bit of culture from each place. Not only are the settings vibrant, but the main character speaks a bunch of different languages–gotta love an intelligent girl!
I also loved how the book showcased different relationships: Jamie and her special needs brother, Jamie and her absentee mom, Jamie and Tristan’s sometimes toxic friendship, and Jamie and Sawyer’s newfound love. It really makes you think about your own relationships and how the good relationships can outweigh the bad ones. My favorite was watching Jamie and Sawyer bond over their common interest in finding Tristan and seeing their emotions that had been buried for years come to life. And I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say I thoroughly enjoyed how it played out.
If you’re into contemp and mystery like me, you’ll love Foreign Exchange!