“Where I End and You Begin” by Preston Norton Review

Where I End and You Begin by Preston Norton Review

Love triangles between friends. Theaters kids doing drugs. And, of course, we can’t forget the classic moment of getting detention for breaking into a school in the middle of the night during an eclipse. In “Where I End and You Begin” by Preston Norton, the book is a combination of “Freaky Friday” moments and teen drama.

Norton attempts to throw everything you can think of about high school all into one book, making his readers wonder if that is really the right choice. In my opinion, the answer is a clear “No.” Norton doesn’t allow any of his readers to connect with his characters, from Ezra being the shy, scaredy-cat to Wynonna being the fierce girl with anger problems. Instead of diving into the characters of Ezra and Wynonna, the two main characters of the book who happen to start exchanging bodies every day, readers are taken on a roller collar ride, touching on everything but understanding nothing.

But what redeems the book slightly is its ability to dive into the topic of self-identity and self-acceptance in a way that most books don’t usually do. Because of Ezra being in Wynonna’s body, he is unsure of how to feel over his crush on a girl since technically he’s now a girl too. Wynonna also engages in the same problem, except it revolves around a crush on a guy. By exploring what it means to be limited to one gender, Norton provides new perspectives for readers to contemplate even after finishing his book, making us wonder the limits and possibilities of our own identity while investigating and challenging normal teen love books involving heterosexual relationships between a boy and a girl.

The book also chooses to leap into the background of Wynonna, looking into the conflicts she has at home. While most classical teen books typically avoid touching on the topic of conflict at home, Norton dives head-first into the tragedy of having a death of a parent while the other parent is in jail. Doing so, Norton touches new ground and begins to explore to complex situation that many kids face as a result of losing one’s parents due to unfortunate accidents and being separated from them as a result. 

While “Where I End and You Begin” attempts to redeem itself through touching on various topics that typical teen love books don’t usually touch upon, ultimately, Norton’s attempts don’t save his book from becoming something that contains surface-level depth and an inability to dive deeper and allow his readers to properly connect with his characters.