Cold-medicine induced, "Help me find these books" thread

After a long day or travel, I took a bunch of Benadryl to counter the onset of a cold and/or a major allergy explosion. This never works out well for me, and instead of the good night sleep I had hoped for, I got a disjointed series of dreams, and on at least two occasions, I woke remembering details of books I read maybe 30 years ago. Helpfully, I can’t remember titles or authors, and Google and the Google book search both strike out too. Maybe this crowd can help out.
Book 1: Sci-FI. A man, possibly due to ill-health, maybe without foreknowledge, has his brain installed in a new body. I believe the body was created for this purpose and was not a corpse or an unwilling ‘volunteer’. The protagonist finds the body to be a militarized or heavily enhanced specimen. I recall the core of the story revolves around the illegality if this new body. The only thing I recall about the body is that it operated much more quickly than a standard human, to the point that reality seemed to be in slow motion, at least in crisis situations. Only other detail I recall is that there was some amount of description of the spinal cord being fed into the new body. That’s all I got.

Book 2: juvenile or young adult fiction. The protagonist is a boy, no later than in the early teens. He conjures up a plan to take a backpacking trip to a distant line of hills he’s always wondered about. He enlists a friend of similar age and they spend a period of time earning money and buying camping equipment. The part that stuck in my head upon waking was that the boy was fixated on the purchase of Turkish towels from LL Bean. At any rate, they eventually head out on their trip and I dimly recall a tragedy of some sort, in that one of the boys is injured or killed. There may have been some level of deceit when discussing plans with the parents, so there may have been a morality play component to the end of the book.

I have no idea it became so important to remember these books that a 3 am Google search was needed. Cold medicine is a hell of a thing, I guess. Thanks in advance…

Please allow me to revive my own zombie here. I know as many as one of us here was still wondering about an answer here, with that one meant to be including myself.

Anyway, recently Google Books indexed the YA fiction book mentioned in my OP. They didn’t make the whole book available, but enough to trigger a saved search. Allow me to present It Started with Old Man Bean, by David Kherdian..

I ordered an ex-library copy and dug in. I remembered a surprising amount of the book, right up to the part where I didn’t. I suspect for one reason or another I never got to the end, probably because my mom would periodically sweep up my overdue library books and return them before I was financially ruined.

For those on the edge of your seats, there was a tragedy, in the form of a rain-swollen river and a slippery crossing. The protagonist boy was rescued after swimming out and making it to a road, but his friend was swept away but turns out to have only broken his leg right before his own rescue and the hands of the volunteers looking for him.

Whew. I only waited 44 years to finish this book. That might be my personal record.

The book is available for loan at the Internet Archive:

@Andy_L may be able to help with the first one, since it’s in the Sci-Fi realm.

Something about that spine thing sounds familiar- I’ll think more when I’m more awake (it’s been a day)

Good find. I thought it was actually a pretty good story all things considered. 40+ years of anticipation of the ending didn’t create unrealistic expectations.

One thing I totally missed when reading it as a kid was that it was set in the late 40s. Anything before “present day’ at the time was an incoherent blur. The setting of Happy Days, Little House on the Prairie and the Revolutionary War could all well have only been a few years a part as far as I was concerned.

Same reason I taught myself to use a slide rule. I was reading a bunch of vintage sci-fi at the time and I totally missed that the reverence for folks that were masters of the instrument was 20 or more years out of date. I thought I was really giving myself a leg up for the day where the teachers would show us what came after calculators.

Check this (and recheck in a few days):

Outstanding, thank you.

I am about 99% sure that /u/Dr_Matoi has it right…

Star Fall by David Bischoff from 1980 has a fat loser going on a space cruise to escape his overbearing mother, and he rents a nicer body for the occasion, something that is fairly common tech in the book. But by accident he gets some mil-spec weaponized body intended for some super assassin. I do not remember all that much myself, though. I think he then gets mistaken for that assassin and dragged into adventures. One detail I remember is that in the course of the body switch it is revealed that his mother had an implant installed into him as a kid that actually manipulated him into being a guilt-ridden loser forever dependent on his mother.

The replies suggesting some doubt based on the cover blurb make sense, but I’m going to get the book and see if it’s as advertised. The posted synopsis triggered a couple more memories, mostly that the protagonist got the wrong body which then led to a ton of mistaken identity twists.

Consider this 12 year cold-case of a thread solved. And based on this success, I’m going to pop over to the main Sci-Fi identification thread to bump the unsolved short story ID request there.

Oh god. I stated reading Star Fall today. It’s awful. I think that’s why I don’t know how it ended. I’d dint finish it the first time I tried to read it either.