ARC Review: Sway by Kat Spears

Posted September 15, 2014 by Bee in Reviews / 7 Comments

ARC Review: Sway by Kat Spears


by Kat Spears
Published on September 16th 2014
by St. Martin's Press
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

Also by this author: Sway

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.

4 Stars

Sway ended up being a very nice surprise! It was not what I expected it to be and in the end I did really, really enjoy it! The best part was not the romance, but the friendship that grows in this book.

Jesse Alderman, or Sway, could sell hell to a bishop. He’s the best in getting things people want. Term papers, fake ID’s, a date with a popular girl,… He has very few close friends and never lets emotions get in the way. When Ken Foster, captain of the football team, hires him to help with winning over Bridget Smalley, something in him changes. While he’s following Bridget to learn more about her life, he meets her brother Pete, who has cerebral palsy and they become friends. Sway finds himself changing in more ways than one.

I wouldn’t call this a romance book. While it seems like it plays a big role when you read the blurb, it’s really one of the smallest things in the books. The biggest parts in this book are the friendship between Jesse and Pete and Jesse himself. It’s really about a guy trying to find himself after losing his way for a while and finding himself in a friendship he didn’t see coming. And I really liked that! The only thing is, I expected to romance to be bigger when I read the blurb. So that’s the only thing that was wrong with this book. The romance is sweet and it grows very slow and I loved it, but it’s not the biggest part of the story like I expected it to be.

The friendship that grows between Jesse and Pete is just plain fantastic. I loved them together and I really rooted for their friendship in this book! Pete is a great character. He’s angry and frustrated because everyone treats him like a porcelain doll and I really understood how he felt! And Jesse doesn’t do that. He just treats him like he would treat anyone. Jesse doesn’t even want to be friends with Pete but they start to hang out anyway. I liked how their bond grew over the course of the book.

But the story is mainly about Jesse. After his mom died, he lost his way a bit. He’s never had an easy life. Now he’s popular because he knows how to get people the things they want. Whatever they want. He doesn’t really care about anyone, at least that’s what he wants people to think. Jesse is confident, kind of arrogant, charming, stubborn and sometimes a bit mean. But he can be very kind, caring, sweet and protective if he wants to be. His best friend is Joey, a girl with a lot of spunk that I really liked. I wanted more from her! Jesse has more friends than he thinks. He has Carter for example, who I also don’t know very much about but he has Jesse’s back on multiple occasions.

And while it was not a big part in the story, I did like the romance between Jesse and Bridget. It grew very slowly and I really liked that! Jesse doesn’t allow himself to get attached to anyone but he’s enchanted by the kind, angelic Bridget. She’s nice to everyone and always has a broad smile on her face. She doesn’t really change that much and I would’ve like to see more flaws. Sure, she’s naive and a bit ignorant and she learns from her mistakes but she’s still kind of perfect. I guess that’s the thing that was missing for me. I didn’t see it. Jesse and Bridget. I didn’t really like her. She was too perfect. To be honest I was rooting for Jesse and Joey. Even Jesse and Pete would’ve been better. It’ll all depend on whether or not you like Bridget.

Sway is a very touching and sweet story about and about making mistakes and learning from them. I do recommend it to fans of contemporary because even though I’m not the biggest fan of Bridget, it’s still a great story because she really doesn’t have a big role in the book. So read it and I hope you end up loving it too!


About Kat Spears

I am a novelist, bartender, mother of three freeloading kids, non-profit management guru, and, apparently, the only person on the planet who reads in the shower. I am not a role model. My debut YA novel, SWAY, will be released in September 2014 by St. Martin’s Press. Follow playlists for all my characters and the soundtracks to my books on Spotify under katbooks. Some of my characters have better taste in music than others, but if you like the character, chances are you will like their playlist.

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7 responses to “ARC Review: Sway by Kat Spears

  1. This was definitely a misleading book! I was expecting it to be mostly focused on the romance judging from the cover, but it was more about Jesse and his friendship. I loved the friendship too! Although I wasn’t much of a fan of the romance. I needed to see some growth from Jesse too, which is why I only rated it 3 stars. Still, I think this author is very promising.
    Lovely review! 🙂

    Nick @ Nick's Book Blog recently posted: Review : Remember Me by Romily Bernard
  2. Huh. I actually DNF’d this one at 40%. I just wasn’t enjoying it. I felt like Jesse wasn’t growing it changing at all, and he was kind of getting on my nerves. The constant drug use kind of bothered me to, since I don’t like that in books. Maybe I should try it again some time. That cute cover had me thinking this would be a sweeter, more adorable story, so I was thrown a bit at how different the story was from what I had expected with that cover. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Great review! 🙂

  3. Well, now I know what to expect when I go into this one! It does sound like a mainly-romance book, and I guess I’m a bit disappointed that the romance doesn’t play a huge part here. And I’m really scared not to like Bridget! I might end up rooting for Joey as well, since I love best friends-turned-lovers storylines. 😉

    Awesome review, Bee!

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted: Movie Review: If I Stay

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