Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sway” as Want to Read:
Sway
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Excerpt

Sway

by
3.64  ·  Rating details ·  3,464 ratings  ·  703 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sway, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Aj the Ravenous Reader
Jesse or more popularly known as “Sway” is your super sleek high school super hero without superpowers except for his innate coolness and unrivaled wit, everybody either wants to be friends with him or wants to be him. He is the man of every hour, the guy you go to when you want the impossible to happen.
- Nerdy guy wants to get laid? Pay Sway.
- Student body president has to raise funds? Pay Sway.
- School Principal needs a problem student kicked out? Pay Sway.

I’m sure you get the idea. Sway is a
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

“Sway isn’t something you can define. A dude who’s got sway is the man—doesn’t have to try to be cool, just … is. Jesse’s as cool as the underside of my pillow. He’s so slick, he could convince you that I’m white, have you believing it like it’s gospel.”

I read this a month ago and never wrote a review. Now I’m terrified I’m becoming Ron 2.0 *shudder*. Right about a month ago I also wrote a review where I said I love it when I’m the f
...more
Kerri
Aug 14, 2014 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
...more
Ash Wednesday
2.5 STARS
”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
...more
Brandy Painter
Apr 21, 2014 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."

"Wel
...more
Amy
Jun 07, 2014 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
...more
Dean King
Feb 13, 2014 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
Renée Ahdied
Jun 09, 2014 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
...more
Jenna
Dec 05, 2015 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
...more
Dulce
Aug 13, 2014 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.
...more
Syndi
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
wow! this books really blows me away. jesse is such jerk type of guy who is also a fixer.
the story is told from jesse point of view.

the author done a fantastic job delivering POV from male character. the only thing i do not like is bridget. she is too real to believe. she is a charac5er without a flaw. the more i read the more i dislike bridget.

i wish the ending could be different. i wish joey gets more fair share in this book.

anyway it is a great reading.
Jeffrey
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 Sp ...more
Laura
Feb 12, 2014 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
...more
Kate
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014, arc
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 vocab ...more
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
...more
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book! Sway was such an arsehole to literally everyone he came in contact with - like this Rasputin / Machiavelli / Vicomte de Valmont hybrid. This was sold to me as a Cyrano de Bergerac story, but I don't remember CdB being such a wanker. Maybe I'm misremembering? Anyway, this book was a whole lot more fun (I quite like an offensive MC - see my review of Monsters by Emerald Fennell ).

The political machinations of high school were probably a bit more over the top than they a
...more
Sara (sarabara081)
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arcs-i-have
You can find more of my reviews at Forever 17 Books.

I’ve had a copy of Sway for quite a long time so I’m happy I finally found the time to pick it up and see what it was all about. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I hoped.

Jesse, or Sway as many call him, is the guy who can get you things. Be it fake IDs, drugs, alcohol, a hot date, or even information. A speciality he is well known for among classmates and adults alike. When a popular football player requests his services to obta
...more
Allie
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, ebook, reviewed
"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
...more
Lepp

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
...more
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
...more
Midnite
Jun 05, 2014 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'
...more
Emily
Sep 14, 2014 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
...more
Meg
May 26, 2014 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
Aug 30, 2014 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)
Mar 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: own-copy-read
Actual rating: 3.5
Janna
Sep 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ebooks
Okay, I hardly ever give books 1 star, but I just couldn't give Sway 2 stars ...

The book is all over the place. When I read the blurb I expected a light and romantic read. Instead we follow Jesse, douchebag number one, doing stupid and unbelievable things. I should've written down all the one-liners this guy had, most of the time I was like wtf then continued reading. His "love" for Bridget isn't the main thing in this book, which really bothered me. I feel like I've been misled by the blurb.

I
...more
Isi.Books
Aug 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
3,5 Sterne
Portia
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book SO MUCH, you wouldn't read it assuming that it would be a sappy romance but a very humorous and unique way of doing so. This book's main character has a very narcissistic attitude towards life and I really liked his development throughout the book. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a romance novel but also looking for a book that isn't focused just on that specific genre.
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
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Break-Up Artist (Break-up Artist, #1)
  • Evidence of Things Not Seen
  • Rites of Passage
  • The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1)
  • Famous in Love (Famous in Love, #1)
  • Six Feet Over It
  • No One Needs to Know
  • The Bridge from Me to You
  • The Prince of Venice Beach
  • Love and Other Unknown Variables
  • Something Real (Something Real, #1)
  • Second Star
  • Bright Before Sunrise
  • For Real
  • The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl
  • The Merit Birds
  • The Gospel of Winter
  • The Chapel Wars
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“If you don't ask me for much, I could spend the rest of my life trying to deserve you.” 11 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.” 7 likes
More quotes…