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 EVERlets 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?
Sway by Kat Spears
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Jesse Alderman can manipulate anyone. If you need a term paper, he’s your guy. If you want a date with a certain girl… he can hook you up. If you want a fake ID, he’s got you covered. He’s got Sway… and that’s how he’s known… amongst his peers and even the school staff. Life is all about what you can do for people, and Jesse is the master at getting things he needs… but there’s always a price.
His secret is no emotion – business is business. His cynical nature and his ability to keep everyone at arms length definitely helps.
When Ken Foster has his sights set on Bridget he comes to Sway for some help. What Sway doesn’t expect as he gets to know a bit about Bridget, is to start falling for her himself. He also finds himself building an unconventional friendship with her younger brother who has cerebral palsy. But Jesse is determined to keep living his life the way he always has… no emotional attachments, even if it means watching the girl he loves fall for some other guy and pushing everyone away.
I wanted to love this book. Really bad.
I think that is where my downfall lies. I had built it into something in my head that was going to be fun and sweet and amazing… and at times I thought it hit all those notes, but it wasn’t enough to make me fall in love.
I was expecting a cute romantic YA when I picked this one up, but that is really not the feel I got while reading and so maybe I’m to blame for my feelings about this story. Maybe I just expected too much.
First and foremost, I struggled to connect with the characters here. Jesse … UGH. I gotta tell you all, I didn’t love him. He had his sweet moments and I think overall he was okay for me, but I just hated how offensive he was a lot of the time.
The ‘falling in love’ part of this story was really almost non-existent. Thinking back, I feel like our two characters were hardly together… at least on the page. Jesse actually seemed to spend more time with her brother and running around town setting up deals than he did getting to know Bridget. Which leads me to the fact that I really felt like we only know a little bit about her… the girl that screws up all Jesse’s plans, the one who for the first time in a long time has made him feel anything but detached.
So yeah… I didn’t love it.
I feel like this may end up being a case of it’s me… not you.
If you’re looking for a different take on the sweet summer romance, definitely pick this one up … then let me know if it really was me.