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Switched

Written by: N.R. Walker
Narrated by: Joel Leslie
Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Israel Ingham's life has never been easy. He grew up in a house devoid of love and warmth. Nothing he ever did was good enough. The fact that Israel is gay just added to the long list of his father's disappointments.

Then a letter from Eastport Children's Hospital changes everything.

A discovery is made, one of gross human error. Twenty-six years ago, two baby boys were switched at birth and sent home with the wrong families.

Sam, Israel's best friend, has been his only source of love and support. With Sam beside him every step of the way, Israel decides to meet his birth mother and her son, the man who lived the life Israel should have.

Israel and Sam become closer than ever, amidst the tumultuous emotions of meeting his birth family, and Sam finds himself questioning his feelings toward his best friend. As Israel embraces new possibilities, he needs to dissect his painful relationship with his parents in order to salvage what's left. Because sometimes it takes proof you're not actually family to become one.

Contains mature themes.

©2016 N.R. Walker (P)2017 Tantor

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  • Dana Piazzi
  • 2018-06-15

A story to fall in love with.

It took me a while to pick up this book by N.R. Walker. For the life of me, I don't know why. I love the author's writing and always fall in love with her characters. I'm a fan of the switched at birth trope, not that there are a lot of books featuring that. I also love the narrator, Joel Leslie. He is great at creating voices. So despite owning the ebook and having Switched on my audio wishlist, I didn't pick it up until I was offered a copy to review.

There is something subtly amazing about the author's writing. It probably sounds strange but every time I read a book by this author I find myself surprised at how much I love it. Like I never expect them to be as good as they are. Maybe because there isn't really a lot of other things going on outside of the characters relationship and their semi-normal lives. For the most part, there aren't secondary plots with action or danger. Her books are just very sweet romances with so much heart that you can't help but be drawn in and fall in love with the characters.

Israel has a close knit set of friends. I have to mention that I love their nickname for him because his initials, I.I. sound like aye, aye. He is called captain. It is brought up so often in the book and I thought it was cute, especially their singing of the Spongebob theme song. His good-natured acceptance of it doesn't make the joke get old as the story goes on. Israel's very best friend is Sam. And while he plays a big part in Israel's life this book is mostly about Israel.

Israel has never quite felt like he fit in his life. Raised by distant parents and nannies he hasn't felt welcome in his family especially after he came out as gay. It feels real easy to dislike his parents throughout most of this book. There is so much lack of communication between them, that it takes learning about a mistake the hospital made in switching babies for them to ever really talk. Even then, they skirt around real feelings until Israel can't take it anymore and forces the issues of how they treated him his whole life. Family secrets are revealed and hearts are opened but there is much healing for them. Oh, the feelings!

Isreael's friendship with Sam is tested throughout this book, also. He wants so much to lean on his friend but worries about becoming a nuisance. And has fears of rejection or losing his friendship. The truth is that he has had more than friend feelings. So does Sam. I usually feel frustrated when two friends keep pushing back their feelings instead of admitting things to each other. I do understand the worry about wrecking the friendship but still I am usually frustrated. Usually. I wasn't in this book at all. There was so much that Israel needed to go through and work out, I felt, before he could really be ready for it. And when they finally do get together, my heart sighed and sang. The author is really good at bringing out the emotions of the characters and allowing the reader to feel them.

I mentioned that the story is really about Israel and a lot about his parents treatment of him. I do need to mention how great the other characters are. First, Sam. He is a great character. He was raised with wealth but he is humble. He is a very likable guy whose family just happens to have money. Sam's family is just like him and are more like a family to Israel than his own in the beginning. Israel's birth mom and the (now) man he was switched with are great. Donna is the reason that Israel explored the feelings he had for Sam and Nick becomes a brother figure. There are other brothers and sisters from that family too that become Israel's family.

The end of this story was great with all these important people really coming together around Israel and Sam. There is a lot of healing for Sam and for the parents that raised him, the family he lost, and the family he made. My heart was extremely warmed by all the different types of love. I must remind myself in the future not to hold off on reading or listening to this author's books. I love being surprised over and over again by the depth of emotion in her writing.

5 people found this helpful

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  • kasono Mwanza
  • 2017-11-08

THE BEST!

I️ belly laughed, I️ cried, was turned on, was truly touched, and felt the full gamut of emotions throughout this book! This is the story that would translate well onto the big screen, truly the story every romantic needs to read/listen to! The writing is SO GOOD! The small expressions, the detail, and the word choice... SO GOOD! Worth every second of your time!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Alex
  • 2017-10-27

Outstanding Tearjerker from the Land of Oz

Aussies talk funny and they drink waaaay too much, but you will need a box of Kleenex to get through this one. Very emotional ride well worth the ride, but with a happy ending (Thank God!).

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Cranky Reader
  • 2019-12-19

tearjerker

If you want a story about fixing family dynamics that tugs constantly on the heartstrings & taxes the tear ducts, look no further. It’s nice to run across a story where grown adults act like grown adults, own up to their failings and try to make do from wherever they are.

Steam med-low. The romance was slow burn but hinged on Israel catching up to Sam. POV only from Israel. Again, adults being adults, Sam never pushes Israel and they stay just friends for most of the book. The sexytimes come in, closer to the end. M/M on page, nothing extreme. I like that they are playful together.

Narration: Overall decent, but has a weird fading effect. I don’t know if it was from recording quality issues or the narrator’s phrasing, but sometimes the vocals faded in a way that mimicked Audible’s “Sleep Timer” function so much that I would be pulled out of the story to wonder if I had set the timer, remind myself that I hadn’t, and then hear the volume go back to normal. It’s subtle enough it might not bother anyone without hearing struggles or someone unfamiliar with the fade out timer, but it tweaked me every time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tracy anderson
  • 2020-03-07

Excellent!

IMO N.R. Walker is one of the very best at creating characters and stories that pull you in and make you never want to let go. This was such a wonderful story of love and family. Please read it, you won’t be disappointed!

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  • H. Spanarella
  • 2020-02-08

A Lovely Friends to Lovers

This was a great listen, I really enjoyed it. As usual, Joel Leslie nailed these characters for me. Joel has a way of pulling you into a story and making you feel what’s happening. I really enjoyed Israel and Sam’s story. Israel had such a calm about him when finding out that he had been switched at birth. It was as if a puzzle piece fell into place for him on what had been missing. Sam was such an amazing support system for him as the inevitable emotions came to the surface. Finding out who Israel was and at the same time, trying to find a new relationship with the parents who raised him his whole life. I love a good friends to lovers story, and Israel and Sam’s was spot on. Seeing Israel finally come to the realization he was in love with his best friend was so lovely. Their friendship was so strong, and seeing it go to this next level was so hot. As always, N.R. Walker tells an amazing story that I couldn’t recommend more.

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  • Anne M
  • 2020-01-27

Great story and a ok performance

At first I thought...Hmmm A Rich boy with stuck up snooty parents, who care more about their reputation than the kid who works in the family business that they pay no attention to and who are homophobic and make him pretend to be straight. Heard this a million times. However, the baby swap gave it a new twist and with that and the great relationship between Sam and Isreal, I was completely sucked in right from the start.

The relationship is a very slow burn. With the other major events of the plot it takes a long time for friendship to turn to more. it happens very naturally and I loved listening to their close friend bond and everything growing at a realistic pace.

My heart broke for Izzy. I loved how Sam was always there for him and I loved seeing Izzy grew in confidence and took back his life on his own terms. This book has all the feels and a great end. I completely loved it.

The narrator did an ok job. Nice sounding voice and good pace. You could hear the emotions. However he seemed to use the same voice for all characters. The mother a little lighter but still very similar and the men mostly all sounded the same.

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  • L.D.
  • 2019-12-11

Lovely and Original

What a wonderful and unique story! I was not expecting to feel all the emotions I felt while reading this book. Israel was an interesting character and I really felt for him while he tried to navigate the rift between him and his parents plus the bombshell news that he was actually switched at birth. I enjoyed the friendship to lovers trope that developed between Israel and Sam. The entire story was interesting and left me feeling good.

Narration: Joel Leslie was absolutely amazing with his narration of this story. He really conveyed all the emotional complexities Israel felt as he dealt with such unusual and intricate circumstances. I loved the narration.

Overall Rating: 5 Stars. The writing was magnificent and the story was just fantastic. I loved the characters and the emotional rollercoaster ride they took me on.

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  • Cyle Johnson
  • 2019-07-27

Perfect

I absolutely loved this book. It is great to have a book with a very good story well written and well narrated. Perfect for me when the book is more story than all sex.

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  • Beach Bum Books
  • 2019-07-27

Lovely heartfelt story brilliantly narrated

Just finished SWITCHED by N.r. Walker, narrated by Joel Leslie.
I. Am. Still. Sniffling.
Such a beautiful story: honest, heartfelt without being sappy, and realistic... so very very realistic. No easy fixes, but there's that bedrock of caring, of finally realizing love was there all along. It just broke my heart, then put it back together again. Better than before.
Joel and Ms. Walker are a match made in heaven.