Monday, September 19, 2016

Book Review & Excerpt: INTO YOU by Jay Northcote-TOP RECOMMENDATION!

Jay Northcote - Into You

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design

Length: 57,000 words

Release Date: September 9 2016

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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.


The sound of music playing pulled Scott from a thick blanket of sleep into wakefulness. He lay curled on his side; his room was darker than usual, as though someone had come in and closed the blinds while he slept. His bed felt weird, softer than it should be, and it smelled different.

He sat up, blinking in confusion as he looked around. He took in the room, the details unclear in the half-light that crept around the edges of the blind, but it was enough for him to realise where he was.

The posters on the wall were new, but the layout hadnít changed in four years.

What the f*ck?

It wasn't possible. Logic told Scott there was no way this could be happening.

He'd gone to sleep in his own bed-he hadn't been drunk or high. So why the hell was he waking up in Olly's room with no recollection of how he got there? And where the hell was Olly? The music that had woken him was coming from a phone on a docking station by the bed. He picked it up and pressed some buttons until it stopped. His brain was fogged with sleep and he couldn't think clearly.

Scott got out of bed on shaky legs. His hip ached as though it was bruised.

Actually, his whole body felt weird. Perhaps he was sick? Maybe this was all some bizarre hallucination?

Pulling the cord to raise the blind, Scott flooded the room with light. He looked down at himself, only...

He closed his eyes and shook his head. When he opened them again, he still didn't see himself. His body was too thin, his skin too pale, the hair on his legs darker than usual, and he definitely didn't own any snug purple briefs like the ones he was currently wearing.

Stomach roiling with disbelief and terror, Scott turned to the full-length mirror on the wall and blinked.

Olly's reflection stared back looking as horrified as Scott felt. Scott raised his hands to his face, and so did Olly in the mirror.

"This isn't happening," he said.

The voice was Olly's too, softer and a little higher-pitched than Scott's own.

It was the weirdest, most vivid dream Scott had ever had.

He pinched himself hard. "Ouch!"

Why wasn't he waking up?

Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep!

Olly shot up, heart pounding at the shrill sound. He opened his eyes and blinked in the sunlight.

Ugh. Too bright.

He looked around wildly and closed his eyes again, refusing to believe what he saw. Obviously he wasn't awake yet because he couldn't be in Scott's room. He hadn't set foot in Scott's house in years.

Olly cracked his eyes open again but still saw the white walls, the posters of Scott's football heroes that Olly remembered from years ago, and the freakishly tidy desk that definitely wasnít his.

The alarm clock by the bed was still making an awful racket, so he found the button to silence it.

"Scott?" he said hesitantly, then coughed.

What the f*ck was wrong with his throat? His voice was deep and rough sounding. Oh God, no, please don't let him be getting a cold. He couldn't afford to lose his voice with all the play rehearsals coming up.

He pushed the duvet off and swung his legs around to get out of bed. He'd find Scott and work out what the hell was going on. Maybe he had some weird amnesia after his accident yesterday, although he hadn't hit his head. There had to be some explanation for why he was apparently in Scott's bed rather than his own.

Then Olly looked down at his legs-and froze.

They were thicker and more muscular than they should be. Olly only dreamed of having legs like that. The hairs on them were light brown instead of dark, the skin more tanned. He looked at his hands, they were all wrong too, thicker and sturdier than they should be. He lifted one to run it through his hair, the way he often did in times of crisis.

"What the f*ck?" No long floppy fringe falling in his eyes. Instead he found short-cropped hair and his ear piercings were gone.

Now convinced he was dreaming, because that was the only possible explanation, Olly got up to look in the mirror. Scott's handsome face stared back at him, the mouth slack with surprise and the blue eyes wide.

Olly shook his head in disbelief. No way could this be happening. No way. This was the stuff of Hollywood movies, not reality. But cold, creeping panic rose in his gut, because apart from the fact that he appeared to be in the wrong body, everything else felt normal. Way too normal for it to be a dream.

"No," he said loudly, putting his hands up and touching Scott's nose, Scott's cheekbones, Scott's lips. He felt every brush of his fingertips. "Oh, Jesus Christ on a bike, this is not happening. No."

Carra's Review

Okay, I've just got to say...this story was absolutely fantastic!  It was incredibly sweet, funny, and it totally made my day to read it.  The author captured the essence of these high school aged characters perfectly, complete with the requisite cliques and teenaged mentalities.  And when it came to Scott and Olly and their story?  I could read it over and over again, and I stayed up way too late to finish reading it straight through (no pun intended).

The body swap was brilliant as a device for Scott and Olly to discover more about each other and get themselves back to the best friends-and more-that they are really meant to be.  It made me laugh, particularly when Olly-who's out-has to deal with Scott's girlfriend (Scott who is closeted and in denial), and when Scott gets to interact with Marcus (who's been wanting Olly).  The body swap allowed the two of them to really get to know each other again, and also allowed their feelings to take center stage as they worked together to figure out how to switch themselves back.  This was especially illuminating for Scott, who's been denying his sexuality for years thanks to his homophobic father.

Olly had a great support system in his family and friends, and as the story unfolds, Scott gets to see this and find out how it is to live out of the closet, while Olly discovers Scott's father's distinctly negative views-but also finds out that Scott actually has support as well if he wants it from people he may not expect.  It's eye-opening for both of them, and contributes to them understanding each other better, and I think Scott benefits the most from seeing things from the other side.

While the story is in a YA setting, it's really meant for NA and adult readers since things do get a bit heated--not just with Scott and Olly together (though we don't see that until much later in the story, and what we do see is limited), but also during the body swap.  And that...well, even though the two of them try to respect each others private parts since those parts are not really their tempting do you think it is to have full access to the body of the person you've been wanting for so very long?  

Into You has so many things I love...friends-to-more, a touch of magic (thank you Miss Wychwood!), a bit of sweet, a lot of humor, and a solid, entertaining story that I already want to re-read...and oh yes, an epilogue that made me smile.  It gets 5 brilliant stars from me, and it's definitely being added to my Top Recommendations list!  This story is meant for readers 18+ due to adult language and some M/M sexual content.

Author Bio

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.

She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story-just to see if she could-and found it rather addictive. She hasn't stopped writing since.

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