Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: Sway

Title:  Sway
Series:  None
Author:  Kat Spears (Website | Twitter)
Age Group:  Young Adult
Publication Date:  September 16, 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin
Source:  A copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Find Sway online

My Review:  This was a really wonderful novel.  I've been looking forward to reading it for a long time so I was extremely excited when I got the email that I had been approved for it!  I downloaded the book right away and finished it within a couple hours.  This is less of the fun, cutesy story I had been expecting and more of a raw and intelligently composed novel. 

I adored Jesse, or "Sway" as he is sometimes referred.  Reading from his point of view was a serious treat.  I liked how he was a "bad boy" without having to be rude, violent, or disrespectful.  He was involved in a lot of not so great activities such as selling drugs and, of course, getting people what they want for a price.  Throughout the story, we see him grow and realize that some of the things he does negatively affects others.  I liked hearing about his past, also.  However, I would have liked to see the situation with his dad and the things that happened with his mom explored more.  

Bridget was an interesting character and I liked seeing her through Jesse's eyes.  She was the good to his bad and it was a lot of fun seeing the way he reacted as he learned more about her and was able to spend more time with her.  I really liked the fact that their romance was more of a solid friendship for most of the book.  It gave it a genuine and realistic feel that it lacking in many YA books.

Probably my favorite part of this novel was Jesse's relationship with Bridget's little brother, Pete.  Jesse was always really blunt and, at some times, even harsh but he didn't sugarcoat things with Pete, like most people did.  Pete was used to being babied by his family because of his disease but Jesse refused to treat him any differently than he would anyone else and I respected him for that.  I liked Pete even more than I liked his sister, Bridget.  

My biggest problem with this novel was the fact that there was a lot of telling instead of showing.  Like, it would say something such as "Two weeks passed and I talked with Bridget every afternoon" but we wouldn't actually get to experience the relationship growing between them.  Because of this, I didn't care for some characters nearly as much as I wanted to.  

Overall, Sway was one of those books that I'll definitely be looking back on fondly.  There was a lot of wonderful character growth and situations that left an impact on me.  I'm looking forward to seeing what's next with this author.  

"Sway ain't somethin' you can define. A brother who's got sway is the man -- don't have to try to be cool, just Jesse's as cool as the underside of my pillow. He's so slick, he could convince you that I'm white, have you believin' it like it's gospel." 

Four cards


  1. When I seen this book on Netgalley I literally had to hold my hand to stop myself from requesting it because I knew I didn't need another book to read. But, I just think I'll really like it. I'm glad it was so well received maybe I'll try to get my hands on a copy when I have far less reviewing to do.

    1. I was so happy when I found it on Netgalley! And that I wasn't scheduled for a ton of other reviews when I requested. Luckily, it's coming out soon so hopefully you'll have time to read it then!


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