Exchange of Heart / Munro vs. the Coyote

Exchange of Heart CoverSometimes Life takes on
a life of its own…

Since the sudden death of his younger sister, Munro Maddux has been stuck. Flashbacks. Anger. Chest pains. And a voice – taunting, barking, biting – that his counsellor calls ‘the Coyote’.

Munro knows a student exchange will not be the stuff of Disney movies. But in Australia he intends to move beyond his troubled past.

Forced by his new school to join a volunteer program, Munro discovers the Coyote is silenced in one place: Fair Go, an assisted living residence in Brisbane’s west, where Munro gets to know his team of residents: dogged designer Bernie; sleeping refugee Shah; would-be wedded couple Blake and Dale; comic creator Iggy; and self-defence tutor Florence. As this unlikely group shows Munro the sights, Munro’s notion of what it means to be a big brother begins to change.

But the burden Munro carries is not so easily cast aside, and unexpected developments at Fair Go prompt a devastating flashback that threatens to end the student exchange. Will the Coyote ultimately triumph? Or can Munro find the fortitude necessary to mend his heart?

Exchange of Heart / Munro vs. the Coyote is a tough, funny, touching story of the echoes left behind by tragedy and the bonds carried forward by healing.

“Characters that will steal readers’ hearts with their humor and resilience, smooth writing, and a satisfying and hopeful ending make this a book to enjoy both emotionally and critically.”
– Kirkus Reviews

“Groth’s latest novel is an exceptionally fine counterpoint to his previous YA novel Are You Seeing Me?…(He) writes with knowledge, compassion, maturity of vision and piercing humour. His characters, created with warmth and depth — from major to minor — are idiosyncratic and lively. It is (his) deft evocation of Munro’s self-narration and the voices in his head that powerfully propels the novel.”
– Vancouver Sun

“Darren Groth’s experience as a special education teacher shows in his seventh novel. He portrays all his characters as multifaceted and flawed individuals, while still capturing the undeniable transformative power of helping others.”
– The Globe and Mail

“Funny-sad, authentic and uplifting – Groth is a writer who can pivot from heartbreak to humour without missing a beat.”
– Vikki Wakefield, award-winning author of All I Ever Wanted

“A great tale about friendship and open-mindedness, and accepting differences in others.”
– Susin Nielsen, award-winning author of Optimists Die First

“A celebration of all that makes us weird, wonderful, and unique. Groth creates characters who learn resilience in the face of grief and discrimination- and does it with the perfect balance of humour and heart.”
– Eileen Cook, bestselling author of With Malice

“An engrossing, uplifting must-read. An insightfully complex cast of characters, engaging dialogue and an original storyline that masterfully tackles weighty subjects…a highly readable addition to every YA lover’s bookshelf.”
– Canadian Children’s Book Centre

“A richly layered book about love, the tenacity of the human spirit, and our capacity to mend. Darren Groth is a brilliant storyteller.”
– BC Booklook

“Groth’s realistic novel is a can’t-put-it-down read. Young adults will root for Munro to defeat Coyote and find peace…Readers will find Munro’s coping with death fascinating and relevant. Recommended for fans of The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner and Winger by Andrew Smith; this book will fly off the shelves.”
– School Library Journal

“A highly engaging and heartfelt story, deftly told…This is a really accomplished effort by Groth, and I look forward to seeing it shortlisted for many awards in the coming year.”
– Magpies Magazine

“Engrossing, entertaining and uplifting…this book will strike a chord and shift perspectives for many readers…Highly recommended.”
– CM Magazine

“Darren Groth includes a group of people with a variety of disabilities, both mental and physical, but in no time at all their conditions take a backseat to who they are as people…It’s uplifting to read Exchange of Heart and watch these five young adults help Munro come to terms with his grief…Exchange of Heart is a gift.”
– Readings

“If you were impressed with Groth’s 2014 novel Are You Seeing Me? you will be likewise taken with his new one and his ability to blend heartbreak and humour into one splendid story…a beautifully written book full of emotion and empathy.
– Australian Teacher Librarian Network

“Darren Groth has written another beautifully heartfelt YA novel…Poignant, incredibly well written, with humour and an abundance of interesting and funny characters…”
– Lamont Books

“A wonderful story that delves deeply into the effects of grief as well as giving a warm insight into an assisted living program…(Exchange of Heart) will stay in the memory for a long time…Highly recommended.”
– Read Plus

“Groth’s novel is an unassuming look at survivor’s guilt. Munro is a likable character, and all the new friends he makes are quirky and well-drawn supporters in his journey to recovery. A welcome addition to realistic-fiction collections.”
– Booklist

“The novel rings with authenticity…Groth has succeeded in challenging his young readers’ feelings towards the disabled. He writes with both humour and seriousness in an unconventional area.”
– Reading Time

“One of the most moving books I’ve read in the last few months … I loved following Munro on his journey to recovery…Heartwarming yet gritty, Exchange of Heart is a novel not to be missed.”
– writtenwordworlds

“Its authenticity keeps the pages turning and readers rooting for Munro till the very end.”
– Amy Mathers, National Reading Campaign

“One of the most profound and beautifully written books I have ever read.”
– thebookwormreader

Exchange of Heart doesn’t miss a beat.”
– Aussie Reviews

“The novel deals realistically with very difficult situations…Readers will learn a great deal about coping with grief, dealing with psychological problems, working with special needs adults, and facing responsibilities in life.”
– Resource Links

2018 WINNER, Hamilton Library ‘Teen Top Novel’ (CAN)

2017 Selection, Readings ‘Best YA Books for Summer’ (AUS)
2017 Selection, Booktopia ‘Favourite Australian YA Titles’ (AUS)
2017 Selection, Better Read Kids ‘Favourite Australian YA Selections’ (AUS)
2017 Top Pick, Novel Ideas Show (CAN)
2018 Selection, CanLit Books ‘Highly Recommended’ (CAN)
2018 Selection, CCBC ‘Recommended Books’ (CAN)
2018 Selection, CCBC ‘Best Books’ (CAN)
2018 Selection, Forest of Reading Teen Committee (CAN)
2018 Finalist, Amy Mathers Teen Book Award (CAN)
2018 Finalist, White Pine Award (CAN)
2021 Selection, ABPBC ‘BC Books for BC Schools’ (CAN)

If you’re in Australia and wish to buy Exchange of Heart, you can do so here. If you’re in Canada/US and wish to buy Munro vs. the Coyote, you can do so here.

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