Imagine being a high school guy who's a bit uncertain about your gender identity. "Not 'female trapped in a male body,' per se.... Not even gender fluid." More like you've been "packaged improperly." Now imagine that at the precise moment of a total solar eclipse, you swap bodies with a girl. Then you swap back. And again. Not just any girl, though: "Wynonna fu*king Jones," your tormentor since childhood.
With a "FLASH!," Ezra Slevin felt an impact "like my astral form was being knocked out of my human shell." Next thing he knew, he was watching the eclipse with Wynonna's eyes. The enemies are forced by their bizarre situation to bond (exchanging intel on phone passwords, crushes, family dynamics and how to drive a stick shift). Although the menstruation and fussy clothing with straps and thongs and heels are a bit terrifying at first, Ezra, the book's narrator, finds himself strangely comfortable inhabiting Wynonna's body. Meanwhile, as a punishment for a school infraction, Ezra and Wynonna, along with their best friends, have been forced to participate in a performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. The irony of this particular punishment is not lost on either of the swappees, as the play is chock-full of gender-bending, identity-trading switcheroos, which are even more complicated in practice since Ezra and Wynonna are never sure when--or if--they will switch bodies.
In a riotous, stirring and racier variation on Freaky Friday, Preston Norton (Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe; Marrow) presents a canny perspective on selfhood and gender. With its hilarious banter and themes of love, friendship and identity, Where I End & You Begin has charm for teens of any gender. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor