November 27, 2014

Foreign Exchange by Denise Jaden

Foreign Exchange by Denise Jaden
Release Date: October 10, 2014
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Pages: 326
Series: n/a
Review Source: eBook from author for review

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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.
My Thoughts:
Probably my favourite thing about this book is the characters and how they interacted. I thought Denise Jaden did a good job of creating layered characters who had shades of grey to them, just like real people. Our main character is Jamie, an all around girl next door type. However Jamie has had a pretty tough life, having to look after her little brother constantly and having a mom who doesn’t make it easy on her.

The secondary characters in Foreign Exchange were also very interesting. I liked that Sawyer had hidden depths and he wasn't what people thought he was. There’s this idea we have, both in fiction and real life, that if you're a Popular Beautiful Person then you must automatically be a completely horrible person too. Of course this isn’t true, and this stereotype is completely proven false by his character. Tristan, Jamie’s best friend and Sawyer’s sister, is definitely capital-T Trouble. She’s a total control freak and is seemingly a compulsive liar, something which Jamie is just figuring out. Things are never what you think they are with Tristan, and it makes for an interesting mystery to unravel.

This book has a lot of good elements, but I think what I enjoyed most was seeing Jamie coming into her own and out of Tristan's shadow, making her own decisions and getting away from that toxic friendship. Jamie does make some pretty sketchy decisions, but I didn’t find them entirely unbelievable. I could see someone who's a little desperate and naive going along that same path. On the romance side of things, I definitely dug Jamie/Sawyer. Romance isn’t the primary focus of the story, but it does make up a nice part of it. I liked seeing these two truly get to know one another.

Overall I definitely liked this book. I didn’t completely fall into the story, but it did provide an enjoyable reading experience, and I’d recommend it.

The Cover:
Not my favourite.

[Strong 3/5]

Purchase Links:
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