Title: Exchange of Hearts
Author: N.R. Walker
Publisher: BlueHeart Press
Release Date: November 13, 2015
Genre(s): M/M romance; Young Adult
Reviewed by: Alissa
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5
Eighteen-year-old Harrison Haddon has grown up alone. Surrounded by wealth, nannies, and material things, all he craves is the approval of his father. Sent away to the boarding school his father and grandfather attended, it’s assumed he will follow in their footsteps from Sydney’s prestigious Ivy League school straight into medical school.
But Harrison doesn’t want to be a doctor.
He dreams of music and classical piano. His only true happiness, his escape from the world expected of him, is dismissed by his intolerant and emotionally detached parents.
Levi Aston arrives from London for a three-month student exchange program. Free-spirited and confident in who he is and what he wants to do with his life, Levi convinces Harrison not give up on his dreams.
But convincing Harrison not to give up on his family might not be so easy.
NR Walker is one of those authors you do not hesitate to auto buy … no questions asked. She has been a go to author for me ever since I read Taxes and Tardis and Red Dirt Heart is one of my fave series of all time. Assume there are spoilers ahead.
I can mostly describe this book as sweet with some minor angst. But I must admit it was just well, there for me. I basically felt like a voyeur to the two main characters and their coming of age story. I was just a watcher and not a participant. Now that doesn’t mean that I didn’t like this but I just was not consumed by it.
Harrison who attends a private school in Australia has not had an easy time of it. His father, who he is not close to at all well, to either of his parents if you want to be truthful, wants him to major in pre-med just like him. But Harrison’s passion is music and his instrument, the piano. A fellow student who he had a private relationship with is now tormenting him. And to make matters worse he is to show the new exchange student (hence the title of the book) from England around and room with him.
Levi hales from England and is spending a semester at Harrison’s private school. He is looking forward to being an exchange student before he starts college majoring in architecture. He and Harrison are instantly attracted to one another and hit it off. Levi comes to Harrison’s rescue by coming up with a plan to make Harrison’s tormenter jealous. They will pretend to be boyfriends. And somewhere along the way, these two fall in love with one another and become true boyfriends.
But Levi isn’t staying in Australia so Harrison must make a decision. Stay in Australia and major in pre-med like his parents want and be miserable or join Levi in London attending the Royal Music Academy and be happy. I believe it was a complicated but not hard decision for Harrison to make. His parents try to fight it but with the help of Levi and one of his teachers he leaves Australia.
And that basically is the story. Sweet but nothing more. However, there is much I liked about this book. Levi and Harrison are perfect for one another. I loved them very much. I got a total Brent and Logan (from Taxes and Tardis) vibe from these two. And the ongoing battle of Harrison with his parents was done nicely. The change did not happen over night. You rooted for Harrison and his parents to come to an understanding. I will tell you I got tears in my eyes when the father surprises Harrison by coming to London to see his final college performance. Harrison hugs his father without hesitation. *cue the water works*
However, there is a scene that I didn’t find believable at all. Now, I’m no music aficionado but when Harrison breaks his hand by punching a wall when his father finds out he’s gay … okay. But then he decides to play his final performance for his class with that broken hand knowing that he may damage it permanently and might never play again? WHAT? I’m sorry but I don’t think he made the right decision or believe it was even possible for him to play. I spent that whole time thinking there is no freakin’ way. I also spent much time waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s like the book was building up to something but never made it there. I was left wanting.
Overall, it was an enjoyable coming of age story about two adorable young men. I wouldn’t describe the sex as scorching but there was some to heat to it. Again, I felt like a voyeur during their more intimate scenes. Like I shouldn’t be watching. But I do recommend if you are looking for fluff with very little angst.