YA Review: The Exchange by M.F. Lorson

I recently received an ARC of The Exchange, a new Young Adult novel by M.F. Lorson, who I previously reviewed for The Hunter’s Daughter. The premise sounded awesome, so I was eager to dive in!

Here’s the blurb:

He came forward in time.

She changed his world.

What happens if he doesn’t want to go back?

Ari hates the Institute and everything it stands for. But to save her father’s job, she’s agreed to help host a time traveling exchange student. She only has to behave for 3 months while he’s here, then off he goes back to 1903 where he came from. Easy peasy, right? There’s just one problem. The more time Ari spends with James the harder she falls for him.

James is eager to leave behind his hard life as a farmer to escape to 2030 where he may actually have a future. His term at the Institute is three months, but he has zero plans of returning home ever again. In order to make sure that doesn’t happen, though, he needs an ally. Could his reluctant host, Ari, be the one to break the rules?

Fans of Ruby Red and The Here and Now will swoon for a love that spans the decades.

First off, I *love* the author’s writing style. She keeps the lines clean and tight, giving just enough detail to every scene, without weighing them down. The stories feel real and relatable!

The Exchange was easy to follow; sometimes when you have changing point of view, it gets messy. Not so here! I like that each chapter is clearly labeled, so that you always know what perspective to expect. This also leads into the characters themselves– I really dig the differing tones between them. The author did a great job of both Ari and James relating to their respective time periods, as well as keeping the story grounded. It’s more motive-and-development driven than action-driven, which is a fine change of pace for me!

What a clever take on the exchange student idea! We always think of exchange students in a geographic sense- I’ve never even considered it in a time sense. This concept also allowed me to better understand the spark between the characters– after all, they don’t have a whole lot of time!

The ending of the book really ramps up for a sequel- I’m curious to know what happens next.

Overall, I give The Exchange 4 out of 5 stars- it’s a fun read with a few tropes flipped on their heads. I really enjoyed the concept of the Institute and time travelling, especially with the “student” aspect. I like how… realistic the novel is? Like, usually when you have a Sci-Fi element like time travel, everything gets spatial and far out and sometimes hard to follow. This one takes the idea, plants it between a Taco Bell and an old Chevy pickup, and lets it go about its business.

If you’d like to grab a copy of The Exchange, it releases on September 25th: here’s a link! It’s part of the Kindle Unlimited program as well.

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