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The Exceptions (Melody Grace McCartney #2)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  698 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
From David Cristofano, the Edgar® Award-nominated author of The Girl She Used to Be, comes a poignant, darkly witty story about the ties that bind us together . . . and the choices that rip us apart.


No loose ends. It's the Bovaro family motto. As part of the Bovaro clan, one of the most powerful and respected families in organized crime, Jonathan knows what h
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2012)
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Elaine It's both. This book is from Jonathan's POV. So events in the beginning and middle will be similar but it includes the remainder of the story as well…moreIt's both. This book is from Jonathan's POV. So events in the beginning and middle will be similar but it includes the remainder of the story as well by the close of the book. (less)

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Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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Before I start, I would love to give a little insight on who David Cristofano is: David Cristofano has earned degrees in Government & Politics and Computer Science from the University of Maryland at College Park and has worked for different branches of the Federal Government for over a decade. His short works have been published by Like Water Burning and McSweeneys. He currently works in the Washington, D.C. area where he lives with his
Karen San Diego
Ghosts among the real, my friend. Ghosts among the real.

Oh my God. This made me cry like a girl. And I mean literally. I haven't felt that way before in all my years spent on reading various kinds of books: I was profoundly moved.

It amazed me how David Cristofano got the courage to narrate a very similar story to his first; The Girl She Used to Be is merely the same as The Exceptions, the only comparable points being the narrators and the additional scenes. My God, this is one hell of a record-b
Kelly Moran
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a combination book review for THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE (2009) and THE EXCEPTIONS (2012). I've never done one of these duo reviews before, and honestly, probably won't again, but because these books go hand in hand, I feel it's necessary. These two books are not a series, mind you, but more like carbon-copy reflections of each other.

The Girl She Used to Be:
At age six, Melody Grace McCartney witnessed a violent crime, and after her parents testified against an infamous mafia family, they we
Julie Haydu
Aug 07, 2012 rated it liked it
I'd like to give it 3.5 but not 4. I expected this to be a sequel but really it was just a retelling of The Girl She Used to Be from John's point of view rather than much of a continuation of their story. So it felt like I already read this book.
Cassandra (Thebookishcrypt)
10 out of 5 stars!!!!
There is no possible way to review this book with a couple sentences so please bear with me and read it all.
This book means the world to me!

"When violence arrives, it rarely knocks."

That's the first sentence and it was enough to make me forget my own name. This book is divided into 4 parts and of course, it starts off slow. Once you get past the first part... Oh, god. Prepare yourself for an intense ride. I quickly learned that every word is crucial to the entire plot so th
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Written for: Beyond Reading

NB I didn't realize it was a his/her aspect series. I got the first book, though, and it has sort of a bum ending.


Jonathan Bavaro spent years – twenty – watching and loving Melody Mccartney(though he didn't call it that), from a distance. The problem? He was cursed to only ever love her from afar by his mafia family who wants her dead.
I don’t think I ever quite appreciated the romanticized violence I’d been reading as I did after I read The Exceptions. Dis
Absolutely hypnotic book! This is one that had me fixed in my recliner for the weekend and then when I wasn't, carrying the book around with me to the kitchen and pacing as I craved Italian food and the company of people on the North End of Boston. A rich and sumptuous read. David Cristofano knows his mafia and his art. He also seems to know a lot about the inner workings of the federal government. He's a master writer of the highest caliber.

All the characters live and breathe in Mr. Cristofano'
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In The Girl She Used To Be we get to hear Melody's story now in the follow up The Exceptions we get Johnny's side. What can I say the second I started reading David Cristofano had me hooked I loved his writing style and immediately fell in love with 10 year old Johnny when he first see's Melody. Melody has been put in witness protection program with her mother and father for seeing a crime commited by Johnny's father. Since then Johnathan has only wanted to protect her while his family has only ...more
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-general
I read this book when it first came out in 2012 and gave it a pretty bad review. The reason I did that is because I was expecting this book to be a continuation of the previous book, The Girl She Used To Be, but it wasn't and I was annoyed that it was actually a rehash of the previous book but told from a different character's perspective.
Fast forward to 2017 and I've just re-read The Exceptions. Actually it's a really good book and although it goes over familiar ground, this time I appreciated
Jessica Viteri
"When violence arrives, it rarely knocks. It seldom taps you on the shoulder, suggests you get ready. It creates change with the most capable tools in the toolbox: confusion, humiliation, destruction. And its survivors are lucky to have coughed out a raspy I never saw it coming."

In "The Girls She Used to Be", the story told in Melanie Grace McCartney's POV. In this sequel, we now have Jonathan Bovaro's. In the first book, we get the story through the eyes of the woman who for 20 years has had go
Patrice Hoffman
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
*Won through Goodreads giveaway*

"Melody would give anything to be who she was meant to be, and I would give anything to be anyone but who I was meant to be."- One of the many quotes from this book that had me hooked. To say I liked this book is an understatement. It's well written, thought provoking, and superbly thrilling. I could not put this book down once I began.

Jonathan Bovaro is ordered to tie up all loose ends and one of those loose ends is Melody Grace McCartney. Before long, Jonathan
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this story. The author's storytelling is beyond superb. I really enjoyed "The Girl She Used to Be" by the same author. In fact, it made my favorite fiction list the year it came out. The cool thing was enough time had passed between my reading each of the stories that it felt like I began the story again from a totally different perspective. But this time it went way back to the beginning. In some ways I loved this book even more than the first. The ideal is to read both, but ...more
Dana Delamar
Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. I really loved Cristofano's "The Girl She Used to Be," so I just had to read "The Exceptions" to get Jonathan's side of the story. I thought Cristofano did a brilliant job of retelling the strange story of how Melody and Jonathan came together and still keeping it fresh for the reader.

I very much enjoyed his characterizations of Jonathan's family and of mob life, though I felt it stretched credulity a bit that they let Jonathan give excuse after excuse for not killing Melody for that
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Having read (and loved) David Cristofano's Book "The Girl She Used To Be" I was excited to learn about this book! Where The Girl She Used to Be was about Melody, a girl who was put into the Witness Protection Program after witnessing a crime. This book was from the perspective of Jonathan - the boy who indirectly put her there.

A story that includes organized crime and the FBI - but was really about love and finding out who you are really supposed to be.

The only downside...I don't think there wil
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
David Cristofano's 'The Girl She Used to Be' is in my top three favorite books of all time. I was reluctant to read this second one for fear that it would taint the first for me, but nothing could be further from the truth. As with 'The Girl,' my immediate reaction upon turning that last page is to start again at the beginning, to look more closely at how it was crafted, to experience it again. This book is phenomenal, and I loved it.
The conclusion of Cristofano's two-part series is not a verbatim copy of the first book, rehashing the same events from a differing point of view. We do get the complement of the heroine's story with the hero's, but with so much more.

When the first book ended as it did, I was content. When the second book went farther, and found its culmination in future years, I was very satisfied.

Be swept up in this drama that takes you from a youth in a mafia crime family to a man with no past and no future
Book Sp(l)ot
Oct 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Exceptions is David Cristofano's second novel - and the sequel to The Girl She Used to Be released in March 2009 which I reviewed here.

While The Girl She Used to Be told the tale of Melody Grace McCartney, a young woman who has spent her life in the Witness Protection Program after she and her family witnessed a mob crime when she was six-years-old. After numerous relocations she's in for yet another one, all becoming standard to Melody. What wasn't standard was the kidnapping.

Or the man pe
Oct 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic and Intense!

Every once in a while you come across a book that just absolutley knocks your socks off.... THE EXCEPTIONS was it for me!

This is the story of Melody and Johnathan......

It's a story of love.

It's a story of loyalty.

It's a story of the ultimate sacrifice.

And, it's something very special.

As a result of a horrible case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Melody and her family end up in the Witness Protection Program and begin their run from Johnathan's mob famil
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it

I won this book through a goodreads giveaway. My first goodreads prize was a beautiful hardback book. Thank you, whoever you are that made this possible!

I very much enjoyed this book. In fact, by the end I has enjoyed it more than i expected in the beginning. I had difficulty staying on the side of Jonathan and Melody in the beginning. In fact by the end of part one, I was so ready for Jonathan to stop whining and just kill the girl and get it over with. I felt sorry for his mafia don father.
Jul 18, 2015 rated it liked it
My husband loves the Dollar Tree; or The Tree as he affectionately calls it. He loves a good bargain and he loves a good book. This was one of his bargain book finds at The Tree.

He is not content to have found a good book at a bargain price at his beloved Tree. He wants me to agree that shopping at the Tree is good so he declared this book to be the best he had read all year. He really built it up. I had to read it, there was never a doubt.

It takes a while to rev up - but once it does I say it
Anna Berendzen
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I was lucky to receive this book through Goodreads first-reads! I'm rating it separately from The Girl She Used to Be because by itself it is an amazing book and unlike many other series this book will not leave you confused if you don't start on the first book. Both of the books in the series are great but a portion of this book is the same conversations and plot, just from Jonathon's point of view this time which was mostly amazing but sometimes a bit repetitive. The Exceptions has a lot m ...more
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Love this book! The Exceptions is told from Jonathan's point of view. A majority of the book is a retelling of The Girl She Used to Be which to most might be redundant but I thoroughly loved reading it through Jonathan's eyes. You start to understand more deeply why he did the things he did and the story becomes full circle. You can read this book as a stand alone but I highly recommend reading The Girl She Use to Be prior to get a better understanding of the characters and how the story unfolds ...more
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What a great follow-up to his first novel! Love this local author!!!
Karen McIntosh
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing read. This book kept me entranced to the very end.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another amazing book

This follow up to The Girl She Used To Be is everything I ever hoped for, I always wish that authors will write both sides of a story and Mr. Cristofano delivered!! Read both books, trust me, they are engaging and wonderful and feel oh so real. LOVE BOTH HIS BOOKS!!!!
Wendy-ayn Coy
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I started listening to this as an audiobook and I went and purchased it because I couldn't wait to ride in the car again to listen to it. This is wonderfully well written with an engaging story. It kept me interested until the very end.
Jodi Malec
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I wanted this to be a follow up to The Girl She Used to Be, however, I felt like I was re-reading it. I had to skip 3/4 of the way in to continue the story. This would be a great book on it's own.
Jul 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
There were so many things about this book I disliked, it's hard to begin.

First, a huge stylistic problem was that the majority of this novel was told in backstory, a straightforward and dry recounting of the actions the main character, Johnny Bovaro, takes over the course of about twenty years. Fifty pages of summary is excessive, but more than 150?


It was plain torturous. If you look at the description of this book and think – understandably – that you’ll be in for action and nonstop, juicy dr
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-owned-read
Prelim Review: In The Girl She Used to Be, we read about Melody's flight to some form of safety through her eyes. She made a somewhat unreliable narrator at times, as prone as she was to being oblivious to some realities of her situation, but her story drew me in and intrigued me.

Now in this, the sequel/companion to that novel, we see things from Jonathan Bovaro's viewpoint. We see their first meeting (long before Melody thinks it was), as he struggles to find a place within his family and witho
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley, Grand Central Publishing and David Cristofano for allowing me to read this before the publication date.

This book follows the lives of two main characters: Jonathan Bovaro and Melody Grace McCartney. ‘Johnny’ feels trapped in his mafia family; his only path is one of violence and murder. Melody is a young witness to one of his father’s crimes and along with her mother and father, she is placed into the witness protection scheme. But is that enough protection? Johnny has fe
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Can I read "The Exceptions" if I didn't read "The Girl She Used to Be"? 8 23 Dec 03, 2014 09:09PM  
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David Cristofano has earned degrees in Government & Politics and Computer Science from the University of Maryland at College Park and has worked for different branches of the Federal Government for over a decade. His short works have been published by Like Water Burning and McSweeneys. He currently works in the Washington, D.C. area where he lives with his wife, son and daughter.
More about David Cristofano

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“The idea of someone knowing when real love has come and gone from this life, how that person can love the memory of someone more than they could ever love again. There's no truer sign of love, nothing more beautiful, than sacrifice.” 2 likes
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