Author: Jay Northcote
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
Length: 57,000 words
Release Date: September 9 2016
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 hadn’t changed in four years.
What the fuck?
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 wasn’t 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 fuck 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 fuck?” 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.”
If I had to describe Into You in one word, I’d say ‘cute’. This story and the characters in it are adorable, charming and a joy to spend time with.
Olly and Scott have been friends for years when a combination of teenage curiosity and teenage angst pull them apart. Four years later they still live across the street from each other and their friendship is still a thing of the past.
Also in their street lives an older lady who they’ve never felt completely comfortable around. One day, when the lads are 18, she’s clearly upset when she sees them having an argument on the street. Olly and Scott don’t pay her a lot of attention when she states that fate might need a push in the right direction, but maybe they should have because the morning after they wake up to discover they’ve swapped bodies. In order to function as each other they have to work together; a process that allows them to reconnect and discover things about themselves and each other they’d been previously unaware off.
As I said, this is a super cute story. While the situation Olly and Scott find themselves in certainly leads to introspection and soul searching for both of them, there’s very little angst in this story. In fact, even though they are confused and trying to figure out what is going on and how to fix the situation again, the whole swap is nowhere near as fraught with trouble and danger of being exposed as you might expect. For two young men who haven’t really interacted for four years, Ollie and Scott have remarkably little problems living each other’s lives. Ollie takes to football as if he’s been training for years and Scott, who doesn’t understand Shakespeare and isn’t into drama, takes to the role of Romeo like a fish to water. Because the story isn’t so much about the difficulties associated with a body-swap as it is about two young men reconnecting and finding each other and their joined destiny, that lack of tension makes sense, but it did leave me feeling it was all a bit too easy.
There are relatively few sexy times in this story. Having said that, watching the two boys figure out whether or not it would be appropriate to indulge in a handjob while in the others body, was both intriguing and great fun, not to mention enticing once they give in to their needs.
Of course this story is very well written and smoothly told; I’d be surprised if a book by Jay Northcote was anything else. I’m not quite sure how to label this book. Coming of age fits, as do friends to lovers and enemies to lovers, but there’s also a dose of paranormal / magical realism to be found here.
If you enjoy a fun, sweet, very cute and somewhat magical feel good story, I highly recommend Into You by Jay Northcote.
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.