Confession time: I don’t normally read contemporary (well, contemporary that doesn’t have a magical twist). I consider reading an escape, so the books I gravitate towards take me waaaay outside of my life (or my time period, or my world, or my galaxy).
So, for me to pick up a contemporary novel, it’s got to have a unique twist.
Enter Sway by Kat Spears, a modern retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac. Fun fact: I totally had a crush on Cyrano in high school.
Yes, I am aware he’s fictional.
No, I don’t care.
In case you’re unaware of the plot of Cyrano de Bergerac (and by extension Sway), here’s the plot of both: Boy meets perfect girl. Boy is asked by more handsome, more popular, and more stupid guy to woo girl for him. Boy is very good at his job. Girl ends up with the other guy, which makes everyone sad. And then they all die.
…Well, close enough.
What Intrigued Me: Cyrano de Bergerac! Cyrano! De! Bergerac!
Need more proof he’s awesome? Here ya go:
What Hooked Me: Classically, Cyrano is a great guy. In the original, Roxanne falls in love with his personality. But Jesse? Jesse is an asshole. He is the most epic, unfiltered asshole. But the fact that he’s good at his job and usually right? It makes his assholishness work for him. He’s rough around the edges, but at heart a good guy. And definitely someone you want in your corner.
What Made Me Fall In Love: I’m going to drop another movie reference, but the story and the voice and the characters reminded me of one of my favorite movies: Brick. Granted, Brick is a LOT darker than Sway, and focuses on a murder mystery (which Sway doesn’t have), but I kept being reminded of it while I read. Check it out:
I guess to clarify, the plots of the two stories are NOTHING alike. But the noir tone, the feel of it is. They’re both set in the classic noir world of the seedy underbelly of society (but set in suburban high school), and both show the ugly parts of human nature. Both are worlds populated by the beautiful, the shallow, the selfish, the envious, all overseen by a sardonic narrator who can see past the artifice of people. It’s mean, it’s harsh, and it’s not pretty. And you won’t want to leave that world.
Regardless, if you’re like me and not a natural contemporary fiction reader (or if you’re nothing like me and devour the genre), Sway is not to be missed.
Sway is available September 16th from Amazon and your local dealer (book dealer, that is). Grab a hit of fiction!