Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sway by Kat Spears Book 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.
Sway was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I loved the tone, the writing, the characters, and the plot. Everything about this book is why I enjoy reading contemporary novels. 

Jesse Alderman or "Sway" as he's better known is a jack of all trades. Literally. If he can sell it, it shall be sold. If it's possible, or even impossible he'll make it happen. Fake ids, set-ups you name it. Jesse does it. Then one day, Ken Foster, Ken in training, and captain of the football team employs Jesse's help to win over Bridget. Bridget is what angels on earth would be like. She's smart, unknowingly beautiful, and sweet to a fault. 

Jesse has one job, get Bridget to go out with Ken Foster, and he does so be spying on and incorporating himself into her life, as well as her kid brother's. It's all planned out perfectly, but life has a way of derailing the most perfect of plans. 

I really enjoyed this novel, far more than I expected. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect. I loved Jesse, and Bridget, and Joey. I loved them all. Even though some of the characters played a less than supporting role--when they appeared in their novel, their presence was strong and memorable. You couldn't help but become invested into each of their stories.

What I loved most about the story was Jesse, obviously. His tone was so relatable and realistic, so perfectly portrayed to real life. I just loved him. He had major swag and it came off as so.

The kid brother, Pete was also fun to read. He was harsh, and pretty much a debbie downer, but his
woe is me, smart a** tone kept me intrigued.

The characters as a whole were solid, and entertaining, and most of all realistic--which added to and upped my enjoyment.

I could go on and on about why I liked this novel but I'd rather just recommend you read it and see for yourself. A favorite contemp' for the year.


  1. Glad you liked this one, I did too! I liked that it was different and yes, Jesse's inner monologue was humorous at times, but so dark. Definitely edgy and unconventional. Great review! ~Pam

  2. Great review, the book sounds really good, I'm definitely going to check it out!

  3. This book made my list of favorites as well. It was fantastic!

  4. Hi Jazmen! I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award! Come check it out! :)