I received this book for free from the publisher via BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on September 16, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Add to: Goodreads
In Kat Spears’s hilarious and often poignant debut, high school senior Jesse Alderman, or "Sway," as he’s known, could sell hell to a bishop. He also specializes in getting things people want---term papers, a date with the prom queen, fake IDs. He has few close friends and he never EVER lets emotions get in the way. For Jesse, life is simply a series of business transactions.
But when Ken Foster, captain of the football team, leading candidate for homecoming king, and all-around jerk, hires Jesse to help him win the heart of the angelic Bridget Smalley, Jesse finds himself feeling all sorts of things. While following Bridget and learning the intimate details of her life, he falls helplessly in love for the very first time. He also finds himself in an accidental friendship with Bridget’s belligerent and self-pitying younger brother who has cerebral palsy. Suddenly, Jesse is visiting old folks at a nursing home in order to run into Bridget, and offering his time to help the less fortunate, all the while developing a bond with this young man who idolizes him. Could the tin man really have a heart after all?
A Cyrano de Bergerac story with a modern twist, Sway is told from Jesse’s point of view with unapologetic truth and biting humor, his observations about the world around him untempered by empathy or compassion---until Bridget’s presence in his life forces him to confront his quiet devastation over a life-changing event a year earlier and maybe, just maybe, feel something again.
What I Thought…
Sway is one of the few books I’ve read that I have seriously struggled with rating. Normally I pick a rating immediately upon finishing, and for the most part I am happy with those ratings in the future. Sway is different though and I’ve never wavered between two ratings so much.
Sway moves at a swift pace and was a compelling read in the way that I wanted, no needed, to know if Jesse could redeem himself.
Jesse is the main character in Sway and he is not an easy character to have as a narrator. He is brash, offensive and self-serving, so if those types of characters bother you, I don’t recommend you read Sway. I’ve read books with these types of characters before, and while they aren’t my favorite, I have liked them. Jesse is a bit different though as he only has one redeeming quality. I seriously couldn’t find anything to like about him except this one thing (I tried really hard to find two things). Even when he is “helping” people he’s either mean about it or uses things against them.
He used and abused people and didn’t feel bad about it and everyone treated him like he was special or idolized him (this in particular at the end of the book really pissed me off) and he didn’t deserve it. I was especially bothered by his thoughts regarding the disabled kids he met through Bridget. I have a cousin who has Down Syndrome and that could be part of the reason why I was bothered. I know that lots of people have these types of thoughts but it’s a different thing entirely when you are in their head while they are thinking them.
Jesse’s main “job” is getting things for people. Drugs, papers, girlfriends, friends, money, etc. While I think that sometimes things might have been exaggerated (like being able to get people whatever they want) for the most part it seemed reasonable. Except one thing that had to do with the school that had soooooo much wrong with it. I just can’t believe that any kid would have that much pull at a school ever.
Throughout Sway Jesse is helping douchebag Ken become super sweet Bridget’s boyfriend. He decides he likes Bridget, but recognizes that he isn’t good enough for her, (which is true) so he backs off. Then things happen. View Spoiler »He does some pretty awful things to Bridget via Ken and her brother. He does awful things in general that Bridget fines out about. Then two seconds later… I forgive you. I didn’t understand her attraction to him at all, but this just made it worse. He so does not deserve Bridget. « Hide Spoiler
Thank you so much to Jen at Jenuine Cupcakes for chatting with me. I’m not sure I would have been able to collect my thoughts otherwise!
Overall I still don’t know. I read it. I hated Jesse, but yet there was something compelling me to keep reading.
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