Munro is on exchange to Australia from Canada. We are privy to his history, but he is choosing to keep the death of his sister on the lowdown. But huge secrets like this one are hard to keep quiet – especially with the Coyote yapping away in Munro’s ears.
Exchange of Heart (Munro v the Coyote in the northern hemisphere) successfully explores a range of issues. Grief, guilt, difability (not a typo), friendship, trust, and love. The story is simple – boy leaves home to try to escape his past – but Groth handles Munro’s situation with compassionate aplomb. He affectionately and accurately explores the ‘Australian-ness’ of our country: our language, our obsessions and our idiosyncrasies, whilst also giving Munro a Canadian-ness of his own. Each character has a part to play, and the diversity of the cast never feels tokenistic or forced.
Exchange of Heart is a fantastic upper-middle grade novel. Nothing ever feels too over-the-top, and the depth of the subject matter is pitched just right. Recommended.
PS. Long read-time is due to only reading EoH during my lunch breaks – and not even every day!