Posted in Blog tour, Giveaway, mystery, romance, Young Adult on October 16, 2014

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Foreign Exchange

By Denise Jaden

Evernight Teen Contemporary/Mystery


Jamie Monroe has always played it safe. That is, until her live-for-the-moment best friend, Tristan, jets off to Italy on a student exchange program. Left alone with her part-time mother and her disabled brother, Jamie discovers that she is quite capable of taking her own risks, starting with her best friend’s hotter-than-hot older brother, Sawyer. Sawyer and Tristan have been neighbors for years, but as Jamie grows closer to the family she thought she knew, she discovers some pretty big secrets.

As she sinks deeper into their web of pretense, she suspects that her best friend may not be on a safe exchange program at all. Jamie sets off to Europe on a class trip with plans to meet up with Tristan, but when Tristan stops all communication, suddenly no one seems trustworthy, least of all the one person she was starting to trust—Sawyer.


Evernight Teen   Amazon


Exclusive Excerpt

From the author:

The following is one of my favorite excerpts from Foreign Exchange. It’s the first time that Jamie really takes a risk to let her neighbor Sawyer know she likes him.

Unfortunately when Jamie invited Sawyer over, she didn’t realize both her mother and her disabled brother would be keeping them company. But Jamie has some questions for Sawyer about the foreign exchange program her best friend is on, so that may be enough diversion to keep any romance or flirting at bay.

Or maybe not.


The Excerpt

I take a seat beside Sawyer and scoot my chair an inch toward him.

He has his computer open, but of course he has no idea why I wanted him to bring it. We don’t have any World Architecture homework, other than a small section of reading from our textbooks. The computer takes the romantic pressure off, though. Then again, my mother does that in spades.

Since I don’t know what else to do, I figure I’ll double check that the email for the foreign exchange program won’t work from his computer either. I’ve had things bounce back to my inbox before, so it could be a problem on my end. Probably not on Jennifer’s end as well, but it doesn’t hurt to triple-confirm.

“Can you open your email for a sec?” I say.

He lets out a breathy laugh and reaches for the mouse. “Sure.” After a second he asks what feels like a question that he doesn’t want to ask, but he just can’t let it go. “Checking up on me?”

I hadn’t even thought about that. But now that he mentions it, I feel the urge to have a peek at whom he’s been corresponding with.

“No,” I say with as much surprise as I can muster. “You can even open a new email and I won’t look at your junk if you’d prefer.”

“My junk?” he says, laughing.

My face instantly heats to a thousand degrees. Thankfully I don’t have to reply because Mom pads back down the stairs.

I get a glimpse of his inbox, and don’t see much, other than a few messages from names I don’t recognize, and that one message from Tristan. He opens a new email, and then angles the computer to face me.

“This is what I was thinking,” I say for Mom’s benefit. I angle the computer a little more toward me and try to keep my elbows in while typing in the email address for the foreign exchange program. Then I type a quick test message in the body.

By the time I hit Send, Mom is busy hovering over Eddy, making sure I’ve been doing my sisterly duty, and grilling him on whether he’s eaten and gone to the bathroom lately.

“This email’s been bouncing back,” I say quietly to Sawyer.

He scoots sideways—toward me—trying to see the screen better. Our knees touch.

Sawyer sees whom I’m writing to and navigates in his browser to the foreign exchange program’s Web site. He checks the contact info, pretty much the exact same thing I did earlier.

But then he does something I didn’t do. He clicks a few places on the screen and somehow brings up the code of the site. I don’t have a clue about coding, but Sawyer helped Tristan design her modeling Web site, so he must know what he’s looking for.

Or maybe he doesn’t. After a few seconds, he sits back in his chair with his eyebrows furrowed. Our knees are still touching.

While he thinks, I have an idea. I open a new Word document and type:

This isn’t what I had in mind for tonight. So sorry!

Then, for Mom’s benefit, I point to the words and say, “What do you think of this?”

Sawyer leans in to look at the screen. I watch for his reaction. A smile plays at the edges of his lips. He reaches up to the keys and types:

What did you have in mind?

He rubs his lips together like he’s trying to keep his smile at bay. My face has barely paled from my moment of talking about his “junk” and I can feel it darkening again.

I put my hands on the keys to type, but I have no idea what to say. I don’t have sexy comebacks and the confidence to go with them like he does. I do better when I can show someone what I mean. And so I type:

More something like this…

I’ve typed it. I’m halfway there, and I’m mentally running my mantra of taking risks like mad. I suck in a breath, move my hand under the table, behind the tablecloth, and place it gently on his leg about mid-thigh.

He looks down. At my hand. On his thigh. I’m leaving it there, being clear I meant to do it. I need to at least try something with Sawyer before I decide I won’t like this, whatever it is. And so far, I admit, I am liking it.

I wait a long time—hours, maybe days—for him to react. I must have had it wrong and he was just being friendly. Maybe because he noticed I was sad and introverted after Tristan left, he felt obligated to rescue me. But still, I’m not pulling away. I can’t believe I’m here doing this, taking a huge risk with Sawyer, while Tristan’s away focusing on her academics. Maybe it’s an exchange program for both of us.

As I’m thinking this, Mom promises Eddy milk and heads for the kitchen. My hand is hidden by the tablecloth and now both of our eyes are on the computer screen, though I doubt either of us is rereading what’s on there.

When she’s through the door, it happens. He takes his hand off the table, moves it down, toward mine, and I’m wondering if he’ll place his over mine…or if he’ll move it up his thigh. Or if he’ll pull it away and give me a look that ensures I’ll never, ever, be able to look him in the face again.

But he reaches past my hand, over to my leg, and gently—so gently—places his fingertips there. He doesn’t just rest his hand there like me. He circles his fingers slowly on my thigh, and goose bumps run all the way up my body, up my arms, along my neck, into my hair. I’ve never felt a sensation like this. A sensation so good.

And then my mother has to wreck it.

She doesn’t just walk through the kitchen door, she bangs through it, milk in hand, and I swear, the sudden noise gives me a headache.

I instantly pull my hand away, and Sawyer does too.

Mom sighs, a loud huffy sigh, when she hands Eddy his milk, making sure the sippy lid is on tight. Then she murmurs something that sounds like, “I wish I could just go to bed.”

Of course she can’t go to bed. She has to babysit her sixteen-year-old who’s doing homework with her neighbor.

Okay, maybe she does need to babysit me, because I have a pretty good idea of where this might lead if she wasn’t here. But the truth is, anything I’m going to do, I’ll find a way to do behind her back. If she hasn’t scared Sawyer away from me for the rest of eternity, that is.

I put my hands up to the keys and type, without stopping to think about any of it first.

I feel like a friggin’ two-year-old. She won’t go to bed while you’re here. I know I’m sixteen and I should tell her that, but I really need to be careful, with my trip to Spain coming up, and I don’t want her sticking Eddy in a daycare with twenty other kids and workers who don’t know or care how to look after him.

I’m embarrassed by my rant, but I can’t help myself. I’ve been holding in so many of these thoughts for too long.

I stare at the screen, with my hands now balled in front of me in defeat.

Sawyer lifts his hands to the keys, and I’m sure it’s to tell me that he has to go, but he doesn’t type. At first I think I’m imagining it, but I watch his fingers and they go round and round lightly over the keys of his left hand, not actually pressing any keys, but just circling. The same hand that had moments ago been circling my thigh.

My whole body gets shivers again, just from watching him. My eyes are transfixed on his hand. His perfect, beautiful, smooth fingers that he won’t touch any other girls with. Finally he stops and types:

For the record, I don’t think you’re anything like a two-year-old.

I stare at the words and swallow.

His hands are still in place, and he types some more.

I get it. Sometimes parents are just…not people we’re proud of.

I look at him. He meets my eyes, smiles a little, but it’s a sad smile. He types again.

I probably should go, though. Your mom’s just going to get more irritated and then she’ll take it out on you and Eddy.

My smile turns sad too. Then he adds:

It’s not like we can’t do this again.

After a pause:


Like I said, I’m better at showing things than with words. I slip my hand under the table, onto his leg, and lightly stroke up and down a few inches along his rough jeans. Moving my hand on him is a whole new sensation, at least for me. And I suspect for him too. His eyes close for an ultra-long blink.

I lift my hand away and type:




“Foreign Exchange is a fresh contemporary YA that will keep readers compulsively turning pages until the very end. Combining international intrigue with a steamy forbidden romance

makes for a can’t miss read.” – – Eileen Cook Author of Year of Mistaken Discoveries.


“Great contemporary/mystery combo!” – Shanyn Day, Book Blogger,


“A pitch perfect voice and delicious chemistry between the characters kept me turning those pages!” – Tara Kelly, author of Amplified and Encore


Foreign Exchange is heart pounding and suspenseful…the teenage dream of escaping the boredom of suburbia by travelling Europe and spending quality time with a hot guy shifts into a dangerous nightmare.   – D.R. Graham, author of Rank and the Noir et Bleu MC series.


About the Author

Denise JadenDenise Jaden’s novels have been shortlisted or received awards through the Romance Writers of America, Inspy, and SCBWI. The first draft of her debut novel, Losing Faith (Simon & Schuster), was written in 21 days during NaNoWriMo 2007 and she loves talking with writers and students alike about her Just-Get-To-The-End fast-drafting process. Jaden’s other young adult novels include Never Enough (Simon & Schuster) and   Foreign Exchange (Evernight Teen, 2014).

Her first non-fiction book for writers, Writing with a Heavy Heart: Using Grief and Loss to Stretch Your Fiction, includes a variety of clear guidance and practical exercises to help writers get to the heart of their stories. Her second non-fiction book, Fast Fiction (New World Library) includes tips on constructing a story plan that works, as well as daily inspiration to keep writers writing, regardless of when the mood strikes.

Website * Twitter



Praise for Denise Jaden’s Writing

“In her sophomore novel, Jaden (Losing Faith) offers an intimate and enlightened rendering of anorexia and bulimia…Loann’s fight against forces that might be beyond her control is both harrowing and inspiring. While Jaden does not provide simple answers for the problems presented, she dramatically illustrates the importance of speaking out and reaching out.”
– Publishers Weekly

“A poignant, important book, Never Enough tackles self-esteem and body image issues while always remaining true to its three-dimensional characters. Denise Jaden has created a cliché-free zone filled with hurt, heart, and personal strength. Jaden’s tender sympathy for her characters and dedication to honest storytelling shine through every page.”
—C.K. Kelly Martin, author of I Know It’s Over

“This thoughtful first novel explores early grief and shows how it can tear at the structure of a family that cannot mourn together…. [R]eaders are taken on a ride through a secret world of religious zeal gone haywire….With pitch-perfect portrayals of high school social life and a nuanced view into a variety of Christian experiences of faith, this first novel gives readers much to think about.”
-School Library Journal

“Losing Faith is a remarkable first novel.”
-CM Magazine



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