I almost became a Young Adult (YA) Librarian, so an interest in Young Adult Lit runs deeply for me. I remember as a teenager I felt so much of the literature for my age group was moralistic and didactic...nothing I wanted in a book where I sought escape. I just finished reading Sway, and how I wish this novel had been there for me back then! This is a novel into which you don't merely dip a toe but rather are swept from the first words into the deep current of the plot. Whereas the characters in J.K. Rowlings' series have power in the form of being able to perform magic, Sway's main character, Jesse, has power derived from knowing how to manipulate the people around him as a chess Grand Master moves pieces on a board. Jesse makes it his business to know how those around him "tick" --and in turn how to get them to "tock" at will. As a result, he has students as well as adults paying his prices to fix problems they can't solve but know Jesse can--by reaching out to his ever-expanding web of information and favors owed. But being able to pull the strings to make things happen by no means makes Jesse's life perfect. Jesse understands himself less than he thinks he does and has built emotional barricades to prevent himself ever from being involved enough with other people to be hurt. In Sway, Jesse casts his brand of magic to set events into motion, and as they unfold, Jesse finds true friends who make it impossible for him to hide any longer from his emotions. And, cue the violins, Jesse finds love in a complex situation of his own making that ultimately comes down around him like a house of cards. He will never be the same and neither will you. Read Sway now.
I did not like this book at all. I read it till the end because I cannot quit a book. I have to finish it (dang ocd). Ok, first off, the main character is a jerk. He keeps calling the special needs kids, 'those dopey kids', and later ridicules an overweight girl in complete detail in his head. He basically makes fun of people, in his head, that have any sort of difference from him. The only relationship I liked was the one with him and his fake grandpa. He's mean and rude to everyone he meets, brags about his one night stands, and even makes a joke about date rape. I almost wasn't even rooting for him to get together with Bridget at the end. He's a drug dealer and brags about how much money he makes slinging drugs and doing odd favors for people-no matter how despicable the favor is. The writing style is amature, at best.
I kind of have a crush on this book. Sway is wildly inappropriate and it has a lot of drugs and shocking blasé teen talk about things that are hard to talk about, but I just saw that as honest. There is some real heart to this book, and that didn't make the way the kids talked excusable, but it did make it feel real. The wit is biting, the protagonist is charming, and I laughed aloud enough that my completely uninterested-in-books husband finally asked me what I was reading. I think what I like about this book is that it really gave me a new perspective of a character type that I thought I had pegged. The drug dealer with a heart of gold is a strange archetype for me to fall for, but Sway absolutely did this to me. His worldview is completely different than what I would have imagined. The only other book where I really found a male narrator this interesting was in Tim Tharp's The Spectacular Now (the book, not the movie). Now, many readers will probably be offended by every other page. If you don't like irreverent books, leave this one alone, but if you have always kind of had your eye on that slick guy who seemed confident and cool without any effort at all, this is your book. Language and drug situations are really inappropriate for high school readers, but I think my high school readers of both genders could find this book engaging and compelling. I certainly did.
Not for younger teens because of language, sexual situations, and drug use. The Prologue almost forced me to put it down. Advice to Kat Spears: dump the Prologue. The book is so good, the story so riveting, the prologue isn't needed. This is the story of a few months in the life of a teenage boy whose emotions are almost completely locked down due to a mentally ill mother who committed suicide and a mostly absent father. He gets things others want, for a price. He's a clever wheeler-dealer with a true talent for manipulating people and situations until he falls in love with a girl another student wants to date. She manages to thaw him out, bringing out qualities he didn't know he had.
Hard to believe this is Spears' debut novel. It's written in such a way that I was certain it was written by a man! Looking forward to reading her next novel.
This book is incredible. Jesse (aka "Sway") is like Red in The Shawshank Redemption--if you need something,anything, he can get it. But unlike Red, Jesse is one seriously terrible guy--a masterful, tragic mess. And yet, you just can't stop turning the pages to find out what stunt he's going to pull next. You know that Jesse is damaged and you stand by and watch him destroy people, relationships, and himself. But somewhere, deep down, you remember that he's just a kid--despite all he's been through--and you hold out hope that there's a shred of redeemability left in that very dark, very twisted soul. Five stars for this one. Beautifully done.
I read this book because my son chose it to read for our family book club. I feel that he chose an interesting and witty book. At first, I didn't think I would like reading this book. But surprisingly, I really like this book a lot. It was witty, interesting and teaches you a lesson about life. My son chose well! I would recommend this book to anyone, young or old, who just wants to read a well thought out story that gives you a great feeling at the end of it. Great read!!!
Not sure why but this book just didn't work for me it was hard for me to become engaged with the story I disliked the characters. I loved the concept of the story the idea of it but not the writing style, characters or pace. It was a struggle to finish but I had hoped this book would be more than it was. I don't recommend it.