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Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite
I downloaded Sway by Jennifer Gibson because I needed a book that suited my mood, which was a bad mood mixed with the need to find something to cheer me up, but something that wasn't cheesy or overly romantic. Sway tells the story of Jessie, a teenager who needs to wear a hearing aid and who (of course) becomes the target of the school bullies. The reader gets to know Jessie and feels for her when her school mates play cruel tricks on her, and when her supposed friends let her down. It all seems to change when self defense becomes a part of their PE class. Ethan, the very attractive son of a dojo owner, convinces her to take up Karate classes. After worrying about the cost (Jessie's family is not very rich), she agrees to come for the first month (which is free, and included the uniform - quite a generous dojo!). Karate does her confidence a lot of good, and Ethan seems to see more than just her hearing aids when he looks at her. But can it all just suddenly change for the better?
Sway by Jennifer Gibson is a book that I read within an evening and a morning. It reminded me of my own school time, and the descriptions of some of the subtle and less than subtle bullying was very realistic, which shows that Sway truly is based on a real story - nobody could make things like that up so believably. I think this is a story that would be great reading material for schools. If kids would just be able to read such a story, maybe they would change their own bullying behavior. The book is beautifully written, and you keep on hoping that Jessie will not give up and turn into a total misanthrope.