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3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  2,758 Ratings  ·  604 Reviews
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 transactio ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 16th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published September 1st 2014)
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Kat Spears Sorry, but I don't think I could do another book in Jesse's voice. A few people have requested a sequel told from Joey's point of view. That could…moreSorry, but I don't think I could do another book in Jesse's voice. A few people have requested a sequel told from Joey's point of view. That could happen. I'm so glad you loved SWAY. Thanks for that.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 14, 2015 Kerri rated it did not like it
What sounded like it was going to be a sweet, heartwearming contemporary YA retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac turned out to be a massive, massive disappointment.

There was absolutely nothing redeeming about this story, unless you like reading plots that barely exist and go absolutely nowhere, populated by characters that are as unlikeable as they are uninteresting and forgettable. Oh, and if you love reading seemingly endless slurs toward everyone from the mentally and physically disabled, to gay
Ash Wednesday
”The people who love you, and how often you shit. That’s all there is.”

So yeah, I’ve been slacking off the reading and reviewing the past few weeks and yeah, I’ve mostly been MIA, missing out on the long-awaited releases and being horribly late on my galleys… but let me tell you, goodreads allowing plain ratings to get votes will do WONDERS to my productivity.

Also, the politics around here can get a little stifling for the opinionated, unbiased voice, to be honest.

I was thoroughly he
Brandy Painter
Dec 24, 2014 Brandy Painter marked it as set-aside
I have a fairly high tolerance for realistically gritty YA. I can put up with a lot of talk about sex and drugs, and I have no fear of strong language even if I myself choose not to use those words (regularly). However, one thing I can not tolerate is lol-isn't-rape-funny. I wasn't particularly loving this book's style in the first place, but then I got to this part:

"Skinhead Rob freaks me out. I hate going to his place. And that pimply guy Grim always looks at me as if he wants to rape me."

Mar 19, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
This book is definitely not a typical contemporary romance, but I freaking loved it. The premise intrigued me when I first read it because it sounded like your average contemporary love story, and there is a love story, but this book is so much more than that.
I was apprehensive about a male narrator at first, but I really loved Jesse. I thought he was hilarious in a tragic sort of way. Also, he reminded me a bit of a boy version of Veronica Mars because he is really resourceful and sarcastic, a
Dean King
Feb 13, 2014 Dean King rated it it was amazing
This is an exciting debut novel, original, gripping, and always true to itself. From the first pages, you sense you are in the hands of a very talented writer, who knows and understands her characters like the back of her hand but allows them to live and breath on the page and sometimes to do things that make you cringe, because you're invested in their lives and want only the best for them. Spears is clever and wise. She never falters or pulls a false punch as the story sweeps you along to its ...more
Feb 12, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing
I’m a grown adult and I flipping loved this book.

The story is told through the jaded eyes of Jesse, a senior in high school who can get you anything you need...or want, but for a price. Jesse is that weird combination of cynical yet friendly so he stays busy with jobs for everyone in his small town. Unexpectedly distracted by an angelic girl and her needy brother, Jesse finds friendship, love, and trouble. Not too gushy, but not too dry, Jesse’s story is a breath of fresh air in this young adul
Jan 23, 2015 Dulce rated it really liked it
It would be so easy to give up on this book early on because of its offensive, manipulative, unemotional, jerk of a protagonist.

To do so would be a real shame because it's a great debut contemporary YA novel.

This isn't the story of how Jesse Alderman becomes a good guy. This isn't a story about a troubled teen who turns it all around in a miraculous and admirable 180-degree turn.

This is the story of someone who is flawed and problematic. This is the story of someone who is obsessed with power.
Dec 24, 2015 Jenna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review also appears on my blog, Reading with Jenna.

I picked up Sway at the book store because the adorable cover and the synopsis suggested that it was going to be a cute, fluffy contemporary romance, which was just what I needed when I picked this book up. Sadly, it didn’t inspire anything but rage in me. (To be honest, the first line of the synopsis itself should have been ringing alarm bells in my head. “Often poignant”? I don’t understand. It either is or it isn’t.) But let me elaborate
Looking for a book about highs and lows of high school from an unconventional angle? Look no further than Kat Spears young adult debut novel "Sway", an original, fresh and edgy look at high school life and romance. Spears captures the essence of high school in these pages. Her characters, especially her bad boy Jesse Alderman, whose Grinch-like heart unfreezes and grows two sizes, during the pages of this off beat romance, are vividly portrayed. If there is a downside to this book, it is that ...more
Renee Ahdieh
Jun 09, 2014 Renee Ahdieh rated it it was amazing
so, me and contemp YA have had a tumultuous relationship, of late. i'll read something and adore it, eagerly ask my friends what to read now, and then be let down by the nextbigthing.

as a result, i approach hyped-up contemp with a bit of a side-eye.

that said, it took me a single sitting to finish SWAY. the voice is spectacular, and jesse is one of the best boy protags ever. basically, he's a mess, with swagger for days.

the plot clips along at a great pace, and i found myself completely swallowed
Jun 13, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it
Okay, this book was not what I thought it was going to be. I guess I expected a YA romantic comedy or errors... but it has a lot more bite and edge to it. Which probably made me like it more. Like Bridget, I liked Jesse despite the fact that he doesn't really want anyone to like him. He's a bit like Shrek, with some Ferris Bueller and every role played by James Spader in any 1980's high school/college movie. Warning, Jesse will offend just about every reader ever with his insensitivity and ...more
"Commodities pass through my hands like water- term paper, drugs, fake IDs- but they don't hold value the way information does. Real wealth is measured in secrets, the secrets of other people, and my own. Secrets are power. Every time someone paid me cash for something, they also unwittingly paid me with their secret. I owned them."

I absolutely adore this novel. I had the pleasure of picking this up for review via Netgalley, and I'm so happy that I did. Beautifully crafted, this novel contains
Kat (Lost in Neverland)

Jesse Alderman, his business name Sway, has connections. He makes his living off of people paying him for favors. They can be anything from getting the most popular girl in school to go out with the nerdiest boy, or getting university cheerleaders to take part in a school car wash to raise money for the student council. Or, now, to get Ken, renowned bully and dickhead, on a date with Bridget Smalley, a real-life angel.

While trying to find out more about her for Ken's sake, Jesse soon becomes co
Alexis Salcido
Jun 11, 2014 Alexis Salcido rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
Although this book has an addictive feel to it, it wasn't for me. Too much talk of sex, drugs, and other really inappropriate things. I realize those are issues to a lot of teenagers, but it really took up a huge portion of the book making it rather annoying. There was hardly any moments between the main character and his love interest, but rather a friendship between her brother and him. This was definitely not what I was expecting..I for sure thought it would be more of a cute romance.
New Adult e dintorni
Ho qualche difficoltà con questa recensione, perché malgrado il soggetto non sia male, anche se ripercorre strade già battute, il primo 40% del libro risulta pesante e ridondante.
Jesse è un personaggio davvero interessante. E' pungente, sprezzante, ironico. Un faccendiere di un intelligenza non comune e con un carattere tosto e affascinante.

Ma malgrado Jesse sia così affascinante e grintoso la narrazione purtroppo è spenta e noiosa. Che peccato!!!
Jesse Alderman è un traffichino. Hai bisogno di u
Aug 14, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it
I don't know what it is lately with these detached (supposedly), misbehaving male characters in YA books and why I like them so much, why I get sucked into their stories, but I do.
Jesse's a difficult character: he lies,deals drugs and doesn't exhibit much of a conscience or consideration for others. It's hard to see any good in him at first, but his character is still intriguing. His savvy, his "sway," is a little too flawless, the extent of his power unbelievable, but I was still very drawn to
Oct 31, 2014 Meg rated it really liked it
Do not let the cover fool you, this is not a fluffy book. Jesse's the definition of an antihero. He's an asshole and gets ahead by taking advantage of people. He's also super smart, snarky and maybe a little bit of a squishy marshmallow deep (deeeeeep) inside. I loved it.

Recommended for readers who aren't going to get hung up on a lack of morally upstanding MC.
Jennifer Mathieu
Complicated, authentic characters and a kick ass plot that kept me turning the pages. Win. Win. I loved this book, and I loved Jesse, aka "Sway." I'm so impressed in Spears's ability to create such a full, flawed, vulnerable, likeable/not likeable/still likeable character. Terrific debut.
Rebecca Lorraine
Oct 02, 2014 Rebecca Lorraine rated it liked it
Everyone seemed to really like this book, but for me it was just okay. Maybe it's not a fair rating having just come off a Throne of Glass marathon. I don't think any book would do good following that.
Hazel (Stay Bookish)
Jan 19, 2016 Hazel (Stay Bookish) rated it liked it
Shelves: own-copy-read
Actual rating: 3.5

There are some books that you can read the first couple pages and just know that you’re going to like it. Sway is definitely one of those books for me. But I didn’t just “like” it. I LOVED it!

By the time I finally received this book off my library’s waitlist, I had kind of forgotten what its plot was about. All I remembered was that it was a type of Cyrano retelling… and I love the story of Cyrano.

The story follows Jesse Alderman a.k.a. “Sway”. Jesse is the go-to-guy in his town. He’s connected
Jaime Arkin
3.5 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 e
Alanna (The Flashlight Reader)
Jan 22, 2016 Alanna (The Flashlight Reader) rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, 2014
This book. I don't even know what to think about it, really.

I cannot believe this is a first book by the author. There is no way. Her ability to create a voice in a character is unbelievable.

Jesse (Sway) is interesting. He is 100% rough around the edges and a bit hard to digest at times. When I started this book, I thought "Oh, Cyrano de Bergerac retelling. Awesome." I love that story. It's sweet, funny, and complicated in a nice rom-com kind of way, so obviously Sway was going to follow suit.
Oct 25, 2014 Midnite rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If you're searching for an edgy teen novel narrated by a boy, Sway might be the book for you. I kind of loved it. Or, I loved Jesse.

I love bad boys, but bad boys aren't easy to get right. They shouldn't be smarmy, abusive, violent or cruel. Too many young adult authors write bad boys wrong, sending weird messages to young readers who think being afraid of a handsome boy is sexy. It isn't.

Kat Spears knows how to write a bad boy. It's possible she doesn't think Jesse's a bad boy at all, and that'
So my ARC has the old kissy-looking cover:

 photo images_zps7da4423b.jpeg

and I think changing that cover was a very good move because this isn't really a romance. The main character, Jesse, is amoral. He's offensive. He's conniving. But I have to say, he kind of grew on me. **

This is the closest I've ever seen a YA book come to a John Hughes movie -- the wacky mixed with the poignant, the characters that are so sharply drawn that they border on caricature. The ending was a touch too neat for me -- just like a movie.

I think s
Irreverent. Honest. Refreshing. Funny. Cover love.

"Everybody is putting on a show all the time. Nobody's real. Maybe you can't hide things about yourself like the way you walk or talk, but everyone is lying all the time about who they are, how they feel."

I adored Sway. The main character, Jesse, is the irreverent, cynical high school drug dealer, but what made him likable, was discerning his ability to care for others underneath all of his protective snarky armor. Jesse goes through high school
Aug 24, 2014 Jen added it
I'm really conflicted about this story and how to rate it...

From a technical standpoint, it's well written, fast moving and an interesting take on Cyrano de Bergerac. However, Jesse was an incredibly difficult character to like. In fact, there was a lot about him and his behavior that bordered on offensive which is RARE for me as a reader.
(view spoiler)
Aug 02, 2015 Darla rated it really liked it
A lot of people will be offended by the language in this book. And, I'm not talking about foul, vulgar language. It is not politically correct. It does not play into society's expectations of how to speak about things. But if you read closely, you will understand that it's not about political correctness. It's about NOT seeing people differently. It is about acceptance in its purest form. And if you can get past being's a gem of a book. It's a dry story about growth. Well written. ...more
Olivia Norman
May 15, 2016 Olivia Norman rated it really liked it
Ok so my confession is that I don't like reading at all, so when I had to pick out a book I was so conflicted. I didn't know what genre to pick. Obviously I picked Sway by Kat Spears and honestly I was kinda sad that I finished it so quickly. I surprised my self in a way I can't describe, I actually enjoyed reading it!! As a girl reading this in a guys point of view was interesting enough to make me want to recommend this book to both genders!!
Lydia Gershman
Mar 25, 2014 Lydia Gershman rated it it was amazing
This is the best story and most well crafted novel I have read in quite some time. I've read it three time so far; once fast, because I really wanted to know what would happen next, then slowly so I could enjoy the smart humor and character development and then again, just because it is that good. By Richmond's own amazing Katarina Spears.
Coming in September, published by Macmillan
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Crazy for Young A...: Sway by Kat Spears → Start Date: January 5, 2015 24 22 Jan 11, 2015 04:50PM  
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I write about beautifully flawed people, because those are the people I know. If you want only happy endings, then I'm definitely not the author for you. I am a novelist, bartender, mother of three freeloading kids, and, apparently, the only person on the planet who reads in the shower. I am the author of SWAY and BREAKAWAY. The forthcoming THE BOY WHO KILLED GRANT PARKER will be released in ...more
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“If you don't ask me for much, I could spend the rest of my life trying to deserve you.” 9 likes
“There was no reason for me to think everything was about to change. That’s the way life happens, why you have to be able to see all the angles every time you make a choice. What’s true today might not be true tomorrow.” 5 likes
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