When Rachel's on/off boyfriend David goes to a music festival in England, she jumps on a plane to surprise him - but she gets a shock of her own. Not only does she find David kissing someone else, but it's their friend Jo! Super-lovely, super-loved, all-round-perfect Jo.
Rachel runs away, wishing she could leave her life behind - and she suddenly finds herself in Jo's body! Can she keep this swap a secret? Can she unravel what's really going on? Can she get to grips with Jo's out-of-control curly hair?
And if she discovers that being in someone else's shoes isn't all it's cracked up to be, can she ever be herself again?
AWW! I loved this book. I think Luisa Plaja tells a great story with some truly fantastic characters that end up in the funniest circumstances. A body-swap novel? How much more fun can you get? But as much as I was laughing at the misunderstandings and the terrible attempts of an American passing as someone from England, I was also really touched by Rachel's insecurities about her size and her relationship with David. And appealing to my inner-nerd are Rachel's forays into writing her own graphic novel and Jo's obsession with Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
Swapped by A Kiss by Luisa Plaja is the follow-on from her truly amazing Split By A Kiss. While Split By A Kiss sees one character split into two after a very important kiss, in Swapped By A Kiss, we see two of the main characters (Jo and Rachel) from Split swap bodies after another fateful kiss (not with each other!). When cynical, sarcastic, Goth-inspired Rachel flies to England to surprise her on-again/off-again boyfriend David, she does not expect to meet with a surprise of her own. The sight of David kissing perfect Jo at a music festival causes Rachel to run away and wish that her life were different. That she was different. It causes Rachel to wish that she were Jo.
And with that, is the start of this hugely funny and touching novel. Seen mostly from Rachel's perspective, but with the added bonus of (hilarious!) journal entries from Jo, Rachel (in Jo's body) must juggle friendships and a new wardrobe and get to the bottom of her relationship with David. Rachel is intent on getting revenge, but first she needs to know what happened. All isn't as it appears to me, it seems, and there a lot of questions to be asked.
What I loved most about the book is how similar the thoughts of both Jo and Rachel are. They each believe that the other would have it easier or better. Each believes that the other's relationship is so much simpler and straight-forward. It's an easy thing to do, isn't it? To imagine another's person life as ideal. And what these two come to realise is that nobody's perfect and we all have our hang-ups. And we are able to see clearly how Rachel's body-size and how the actions and behaviours of those around her have caused her to say the things she does and behave in a certain way. Ways that seem to be pushing David, her best friend and boyfriend away. There are so many moments in Swapped By A Kiss that my heart ached for Rachel.
And despite David (and Albie) not having very much presence in Swapped By A Kiss, this a very romantic book. It's painfully obvious to readers how much Rachel is hurting and jealous about David and Jo's kiss, as well as how beat-up David is when Jo-in-Rachel's-body won't allow David to visit her. I really and truly loved these characters, so very real and vulnerable.
Thank you so much to Luisa Plaja for sending me this book. It's incredible and comes very highly recommended from me!