FicCentral received a free copy of this book from St Martin's Press (via NetGalley).
Publisher: St Martin's Press on September 16, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction (YA)
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?
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.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Jesse can get you whatever you need. Drugs, booze, a term paper, even apparently, a date with the popular cheerleader. He is a boy with connections, everyone owes him a favor (even the principal comes to him for help), and he uses secrets as currency. (And cash of course, lots of cash). He only has a few real friends and a tragic family life.
He’s a bit of a douche, (umm, okay a lot of a douche). He doesn’t mess around when it comes to his deals; he’s strictly business, doesn’t care what kind of sob story you may have to get out of your end of the deal. And don’t call him Sway, he hates it.
Ken Foster wants to make a deal with him. Ken is the stereotypical a-hole jock; he’s a bully and doesn’t get at all why the nice girl wouldn’t want to date him. So he enlists Jesse; get him a date with the girl that has no interest in him.
Jesse agrees to help, though he can’t figure out how one girl is worth all this. He soon finds out. Bridget is nice. Not like just nice to people’s faces; she’s honest-to-God nice. She regularly visits her grandmother at her rest home, she volunteers with kids with disabilities. She smiles at everyone, she’s friends with everyone. She’s just a nice person.
Jesse is totally into her. She doesn’t want anything from anyone, she’s not hording secrets or asking for favors. But he does what he’s paid to do, sells her to Ken.
During all this, he befriends her younger brother; a boy with cerebral palsy who hates having a perfect sister and kind of uses his disability as an excuse to be a jerk.
Jesse hates seeing Ken and Bridget together but what can he do? He could tell her the truth but that would still make him the bad guy. He did basically sell her to Ken.
My life is crazy busy right now, so I read this book in a week on my kindle app while waiting at my kids’ bus stop. I really enjoyed it.
Jesse is a total jerk but when his few friends need him, he’s there for them. He can get just about anything for anyone, he’s very smooth. That’s not to say he doesn’t get himself into trouble but he also knows when and how to get revenge.
There is a lot of vulgar language in this book and it can be very offensive at times but I did like Jesse. Life dealt him a crap hand and he deals with it. The only thing I didn’t really believe was the love story between him and Bridget. Unless she had a serious bad boy complex, I just can’t see her being attracted to anything besides his looks. Yea, he’s witty and smart but I’m not kidding when I say he’s a douche.
But overall, I liked this book and it was an easy read.