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. It's all business with Jesse. He has few close friends and he never lets emotions get in the way.
But when Ken, 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 younger brother who's belligerent and self-pitying after spending a lifetime dealing with cerebral palsy. Suddenly Jesse is visiting old folks at 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. The tinman really does 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.
The writer manages a neat trick in this book - she writes a protagonist who you don't at first respect, or even like much. But he is compelling and interesting and complex. So you keep reading/listening and become invested in how he begins to change.
Vividly written in a fresh, punchy voice, and really well read - I enjoyed this one immensely.
Just a caution, this is a YA book for older teens (sex, drugs, and plenty swears).