Everybody knows Jesse, aka “Sway.” For the right price or a later favor, Jesse will get you want you want, but he’ll also acquire power over you.
He sells drugs and fake IDs, acquires kegs for parties and might even be able to persuade a girl to date a guy. Since his mother’s suicide over a year ago, Jesse hasn’t bothered with his own emotions. But when he meets the beautiful and almost saintly Bridget, he begins to realize that he might actually have some feelings after all. He gets to know her in order to advise bully Ken on how to get a date with her, making Jesse something of a “fucked-up Cyrano de Bergerac,” as he himself notes. Along the way, he teams up with Bridget’s little brother, Pete, who has cerebral palsy, introducing the boy to his world of schemes. Even as he grows fonder of Bridget, he still doesn’t believe he could have a real romance with her, or with anyone. Spears develops Jesse’s character so thoroughly readers will believe they know him. Despite his illegality and immorality, he remains sympathetic, revealing his hidden emotions as he forms real friendships with Pete and with an elderly man he meets while spying on Bridget.
A compelling debut told with swagger and real depth. (Fiction. 14-18)