Sway by Kat Spears
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.
SOURCE: ARCs provided by publisher for review (Thanks!)
I’m so the Jesse of my group. Well, to the point that if you need something I will help you get it (I draw the line at breaking the law though.) This is a tough one because while I overall I did enjoy the story it is VERY difficult to feel anything for Jesse since frankly he’s an ass for most of the book and if that wasn’t enough he is one of the nicer characters in the book. I know, right? I adored his internal dialogue which I found much more interesting; it is what kept me reading and I loved that you could see his change (albeit slow) as he opened his eyes to more around him.
I was really excited for this book. A modern YA version of Cyrano? I love that story. It reminds me of the movie Roxanne with Steve Martin. Jesse is not a sympathetic character. I have a hard time with books where the MC is not likable, so I struggled initially. Jesse is cynical and a typical teen who thinks he knows everything. He has a very destructive personality and has an unapologetic demeanor, though he incredibly smart and perceptive. His love interest, Bridget, was the complete opposite, a little too good to be true. While I did like her, she was as unbelievable a character as Jesse was unlikable. In the end, Jesse grew on me and I came to appreciate why he was the way he was and even, yes, sympathized with him. No one is all good or all bad, and it wasn’t until Jesse started to show his human side that I began to get into the book. I agree with Kristina that Jesse “opened his eyes”–I think he intentionally overlooked everyone else’s struggles because it was too much for him to handle. I can appreciate that.