Hey book nerds! Today I will be doing two mini-reviews of books that I DNFd. Mini-reviews are just like regular reviews except without the long explanations of what I specifically liked and disliked. In this case, I will be explaining why I DNFd these books!
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 transactions.
But when Ken Foster, 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 belligerent and self-pitying younger brother who has cerebral palsy. Suddenly, Jesse is visiting old folks at a 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. Could the tin man really 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.
I DNFd Sway because I wasn’t interested. I got about 60 pages into it and didn’t care one bit about what was going to happen. The main character was annoying and pretentious. Based on the summary on the dust jacket and the 60-some pages that I read, the plot is well…stupid. This is a shame because I have a signed and personalized hardcover! Guess it’ll just sit on my shelf!
The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.
With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?
I DNFd All the Rage because it was really upsetting. I got about 150 pages into this one and things were just consistently horrible for the main character, Romy. I tweeted and asked if the book gets any happier, and my answer was unanimously NO. The book hit me too hard. I’ve been bullied before, and I related to Romy all too much. I like books that make me feel happy and make me care about the characters. All the time I was reading All the Rage, I felt sick. I left my bookmark in and put it back on the shelf. Maybe I’ll pick it up again one day if I think I’m ready.
Have you read Sway or All the Rage? What did you think? Should I give either of them another chance? Let me know in the comments!