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Swing

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Author: Kwame Alexander

Published: October 2nd 2018 by Blink

Format: Hardcover , 448 pages

Isbn: 9780310761914

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Things usually do not go as planned for seventeen-year-old Noah. He and his best friend Walt (aka Swing) have been cut from the high school baseball team for the third year in a row, and it looks like Noah’s love interest since third grade, Sam, will never take it past the “best friend” zone. Noah would love to retire his bat and accept the status quo, but Walt has big pla Things usually do not go as planned for seventeen-year-old Noah. He and his best friend Walt (aka Swing) have been cut from the high school baseball team for the third year in a row, and it looks like Noah’s love interest since third grade, Sam, will never take it past the “best friend” zone. Noah would love to retire his bat and accept the status quo, but Walt has big plans for them both, which include making the best baseball comeback ever, getting the girl, and finally finding cool. To go from lovelorn to ladies’ men, Walt introduces Noah to a relationship guru—his Dairy Queen-employed cousin, Floyd—and the always informative Woohoo Woman Podcast. Noah is reluctant, but decides fate may be intervening when he discovers more than just his mom’s birthday gift at the thrift shop. Inside the vintage Keepall is a gold mine of love letters from the 1960s. Walt is sure these letters and the podcasts are just what Noah needs to communicate his true feelings to Sam. To Noah, the letters are more: an initiation to the curious rhythms of love and jazz, as well as a way for him and Walt to embrace their own kind of cool. While Walt is hitting balls out of the park and catching the eye of the baseball coach, Noah composes anonymous love letters to Sam in an attempt to write his way into her heart. But as things are looking up for Noah and Walt, a chain of events alters everything Noah knows to be true about love, friendship, sacrifice, and fate.  In Swing, bestselling authors Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess (Solo) present a free-verse poetic story that will speak to anyone who’s struggled to find their voice and take a swing at life.

30 review for Swing

  1. 4 out of 5

    Pernille Ripp

    3.5 stars for this one, much to love but also much that could have been left out for the story to come alive more. The ending while heart wrenching came out of nowhere and seemed like it didn’t fit. It will be interesting to see how my students react to this one.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Clare Lund

    I just finished listening to the audiobook, and if you have the chance to do the same, I highly recommend it! Author Kwame Alexander reads it himself and brings the story to life, and I loved the jazz music played in between chapters. I am still in a state of shock from the heartbreaking ending, so I'll have to come back and write more later. Ages 12 and up.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carlos

    This was a very enjoyable book to read , it was fast paced and the plot was entertaining , that is until the very last 100 pages. Did not see the ending coming , it kind of put things into perspective and tries to make a point regarding cultural differences . This book deals with PTSD, love, friendship, current racial issues and idealized love.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Krista Regester

    Please keep reading. Please keep learning. Please start changing.

  5. 5 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    Kwame Alexander is a gift to YA literature. He brings readers like me, a middle aged white adult, to a world I know only from the media, making me feel like I was part of Noah’s community. For teenage YA readers, his books have wider appeal, including for reluctant readers who have yet to find stories and writing styles to engage them. SWING tackles issues of friendship, family, mental illness, dreams, sports, music and the scary realities of a rush to judgment. I recommend anything he writes.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    This is One of those times that I Realize Some books that Are written in verse Would be way More powerful and Less disjointed narratives If they were In another Format. The forced Ending Didn't help matters With my rating.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Etienne

    This book was surprisingly good! I've got into it totally blind and I like it. Day to day casual life of a group of teenagers. Nothing that would normally blow me away, but I like the pace, the style, it felt true, the characters were interesting, funny and we get attach to them easily. A simple story but well executed! A good read!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Susan Crowe

    This was one of the AudioFile Sync choices for the first week in 2019. This was cute until the end. Then it was sad. I did enjoy it. And the author was also the narrator and he did a great job.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Queen Cronut

    This book had a lot of good ideas and themes presented throughout the storyline but they quickly got bogged down by the romance. While it mentions and attempts to discuss important and very relevant topics to modern day such police violence and women empowerment, the romance overshadows much of it and in my opinion, the romance between Noah and Sam felt very superficial. There wasn't any chemistry between the characters and it felt kind of forced- it could've been better developed so that there This book had a lot of good ideas and themes presented throughout the storyline but they quickly got bogged down by the romance. While it mentions and attempts to discuss important and very relevant topics to modern day such police violence and women empowerment, the romance overshadows much of it and in my opinion, the romance between Noah and Sam felt very superficial. There wasn't any chemistry between the characters and it felt kind of forced- it could've been better developed so that there was more substance to them. Out of all of the characters, Walt felt the most believable. Noah had some development to him but he was so focused trying to woo Sam that it doesn't leave much room for him to discover who is outside of his love life while Sam was never fully developed and had very little to her character. What I did like was the mixed media art- it was different and beautiful and helped this book stand out among other verse novels. The ending left so much more to be discussed but it ends abruptly. I wanted more to be explained and social justice to be shown but it was rushed and so I didn't really enjoy it. I liked this book for the most part but not as much as his other works.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Becky R.

    Swing is one of those novels that you won't soon forget. While I really enjoy novels told in verse form, I can't say that I've gotten lost in the story quite as much as I did here. The development of the story is slow but thoughtful, helping you to fully connect to all the characters involved. The most important characters are Noah and Swing. Told from Noah's point of view, we come to see how his friendship with his best friend, Swing, works. I love their friendship, their connection to baseball Swing is one of those novels that you won't soon forget. While I really enjoy novels told in verse form, I can't say that I've gotten lost in the story quite as much as I did here. The development of the story is slow but thoughtful, helping you to fully connect to all the characters involved. The most important characters are Noah and Swing. Told from Noah's point of view, we come to see how his friendship with his best friend, Swing, works. I love their friendship, their connection to baseball, and their appreciate for Jazz music. Generally a progressive story about Noah's crush on his female best friend, includes very realistic looks at things like race, social class, education, war veterans, and even the Black Lives Matter movement. Nothing is shoved in your face, but takes place after well-developed narration that keeps you interested and flipping pages. To say that I loved this book is putting it mildly. It has been a long time since I wanted to cry over a book, and this one put me there. I see this as required reading for any teen today, and a good book to look at and consider for adults.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kim Clifton

    This was going to be a five-star book until the sudden ending. Walt is probably my favorite character Kwame Alexander has written— he’s hilarious, passionate, and speaks in motivational posters and tweet-sized obituaries. I liked seeing his impact on Noah and following their respective relationship pursuits. What I didn’t like was how much other stuff was forced into this book. While I understand that no character lives in a vacuum, it still felt out of place that these characters were overwhelm This was going to be a five-star book until the sudden ending. Walt is probably my favorite character Kwame Alexander has written— he’s hilarious, passionate, and speaks in motivational posters and tweet-sized obituaries. I liked seeing his impact on Noah and following their respective relationship pursuits. What I didn’t like was how much other stuff was forced into this book. While I understand that no character lives in a vacuum, it still felt out of place that these characters were overwhelmed with a host of family issues and a strange art-as-protest side plot. I feel like the ending should have been a middle if the book wanted to fully deal with the topics it opens. But as it is, it feels like the goal was to shock the reader, not to provide closure.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nadine

    Ouch. What a magnificent book that would be perfect in all aspects and then the end - the punch in the gut that takes it from great to beyond. A book with so many connections that could be made, so many trails that can be followed by hungry readers.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jake Miller

    This book had a lot going against it for my particular reading tastes: I rarely like YA that is focused a lot on romance, I rarely like verse novels that aren’t based on a highly tense/ emotional plots (this novel has emotional events but the story itself isn’t that emotional), and I always hate YA characters that are depicted as being super quirky. The romance plot (which takes up a majority of the book) is fairly annoying but maybe that’s cause I’m a Grampy to these kiddos now. I don’t think v This book had a lot going against it for my particular reading tastes: I rarely like YA that is focused a lot on romance, I rarely like verse novels that aren’t based on a highly tense/ emotional plots (this novel has emotional events but the story itself isn’t that emotional), and I always hate YA characters that are depicted as being super quirky. The romance plot (which takes up a majority of the book) is fairly annoying but maybe that’s cause I’m a Grampy to these kiddos now. I don’t think verse suited the novel; many of the lines just read like regular sentences with short line breaks, which didn’t work for me. And, while I love the protagonist’s relationship with the character, Walt or Swing, the character of Swing is one of those weird combinations of old soul/guru/unique-but-beautiful character tropes that annoy me in YA. The ending of the book comes out of nowhere and has no resolution. If you’ve read this, what the frick was that? Why didn’t the reader get more? Very frustrating ending to an okay story.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    Music, art, poetry, baseball, love, and war make this YA novel in verse unique. Noah has been in love with one of his best friends for a while, and he is inspired to start creating found art love poems for her after finding some love letters from the 60s. His other best friend Walt, aka Swing, is obsessed with getting back on their school baseball team, and he teaches Noah to appreciate jazz and to be more bold. **Read via NetGalley **Publication date: October 2, 2018 **Member of Swing Launch Team

  15. 5 out of 5

    BookNightOwl

    Swing is a story about friendship, first crushes and trying to live a normal life in our world today. This story is very easy to read because it is written in verse form and beautifully so. I enjoyed the story and was full of hope and even sadness.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Trevor7A

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. When reading this book I could easily make a mental image of what was going on. A 17-year-old boy is struggling on finding a way to tell his crush that he likes her. Noah's crush is one of his best friends Sam. While the book takes place his parents are away in Europe for the 2 months. Noah's grandmother is supposed to be watching him for those 2 months but she is lazy and stays home and only calls him two to three times throughout the book. Since his grandmother was not staying in the house wit When reading this book I could easily make a mental image of what was going on. A 17-year-old boy is struggling on finding a way to tell his crush that he likes her. Noah's crush is one of his best friends Sam. While the book takes place his parents are away in Europe for the 2 months. Noah's grandmother is supposed to be watching him for those 2 months but she is lazy and stays home and only calls him two to three times throughout the book. Since his grandmother was not staying in the house with him, his best friend Walt comes over and stays every night. Noah finds love letters that were from the past and were written by unknown people. Noah decides to make art pieces and he uses the letters to help him with what he writes in little bubbles in the art pieces. Walt steals the first painting and puts it in Sam's bag. Noah is furious at Walt. Sam liked the painting and asked Noah if he had any ideas on who might have made the painting. Noah said he had no clue who might have done it. Noah kept making the paintings and he adventualy gets exposed.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    Have you ever been best friends with someone but you really want to move past the friend zone into something more? Noah, Walt, and Sam have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Noah has feelings for Sam that go way past the best friend zone, but Sam only has eyes for the star baseball player (even though he treats her bad). To help move Noah and Sam's relationship on, Walt takes Noah to see the guru of love, his cousin Floyd who works at the Dairy Queen. Floyd helps produce a podc Have you ever been best friends with someone but you really want to move past the friend zone into something more? Noah, Walt, and Sam have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Noah has feelings for Sam that go way past the best friend zone, but Sam only has eyes for the star baseball player (even though he treats her bad). To help move Noah and Sam's relationship on, Walt takes Noah to see the guru of love, his cousin Floyd who works at the Dairy Queen. Floyd helps produce a podcast called "WhooHoo Woman", a podcast in which two women give advice on how to treat a lady. What really turns all of their lives around is when Noah and Walt go to the local thrift store to buy a present for his mom's birthday. The girl behind the counter, Divya, helps Noah pick out a vintage purse and Walt falls instantly in love with her. What comes as a total surprise is when Noah finds a bunch of love letters from a man named Corinthian to the love of his life, Annemarie written back in the 1960s. While Noah is pouring over these letters, Walt is trying to get back on the baseball team in which he has given himself the nickname, Swing. These letters give Noah the courage to come out in the open to Sam about his feelings. Everything comes to a head one night at a party at Noah's house. Will Sam be able to cross that friend zone into something more with Noah? Will Noah's confession of love ruin a lifelong friendship? Will Walt ever make it back onto the baseball team before he graduates? This is a must read book of love, loss, friendship, and music. Do not miss this one!! Kwame and Mary are an incredible writing duo. Kwame's books are written in verse form and the rhythm just flows throughout the whole book. This book will have you laughing and crying and cheering on each character as they go through different situations in their life. I was only a few pages into this book and I wanted to be friends with these characters so bad. You are just drawn into their world and when the story is over these characters still have your heart. Do not miss one of Kwame's best books yet (I have to say "one of" because all of his books are the bomb!!). Follow me: Blog - Blazer Tales - https://blazertales.com/ Facebook - Laurie’s Library Place - https://www.facebook.com/LauriesLibra... Instagram - laurieslibrary - https://www.instagram.com/laurieslibr... Twitter - @laurieevans27 https://twitter.com/laurieevans27?lan... Goodreads - Laurie Purser - https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1... Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/auburngirl2... YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCulD...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cailee

    *If you can get a hold of the audiobook, I highly recommend it. This story is best heard from Kwame Alexander himself. (And the jazz cuts between chapters are lovely.) On the surface, Swing is another coming-of-age love story. Boy loves girl but girl has a boyfriend. Boy wants to tell girl how he feels but saying it to her face is out of the question. Cue boy’s best friend who has a brilliant plan. Let the journey begin. Foolproof plot. However, Swing isn’t only about puppy love. Swing is about fi *If you can get a hold of the audiobook, I highly recommend it. This story is best heard from Kwame Alexander himself. (And the jazz cuts between chapters are lovely.) On the surface, Swing is another coming-of-age love story. Boy loves girl but girl has a boyfriend. Boy wants to tell girl how he feels but saying it to her face is out of the question. Cue boy’s best friend who has a brilliant plan. Let the journey begin. Foolproof plot. However, Swing isn’t only about puppy love. Swing is about finding yourself, loving yourself, seeing the world around you, and recognizing the complexity of being different from your friends and being friends anyway. I would have learned so much about myself as a teen had this book existed. The characters are friends I would have loved to have in high school. Many reviewers found the ending of this story “out of place,” “unfitting,” “random.” They’re not wrong, per se, but there’s a reason the ending happens the way it does. If the ending doesn’t make sense, the book wasn’t for you. If the ending made you uncomfortable, it was supposed to. And honestly, there’s only two reasons the ending could have come as a surprise to you: 1) you’re lucky, or 2) you didn’t pay attention. Loved this book. LOVED it. If you like stories written in verse, I definitely recommend this one.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Swing is both a hit and a miss for me. The narrative tended to focus more on the things I didn't care as much for (Noah's crush on Sam primarily) and not on the things I really loved - namely Swing and taking about music and art. While Noah is rather bland in many respects, Swing was a stand out character and I loved every moment that he spoke. The middle dragged a bit with the love plot and there were too many dangling plot threads at the end to make anything feel super meaningful or resolved - Swing is both a hit and a miss for me. The narrative tended to focus more on the things I didn't care as much for (Noah's crush on Sam primarily) and not on the things I really loved - namely Swing and taking about music and art. While Noah is rather bland in many respects, Swing was a stand out character and I loved every moment that he spoke. The middle dragged a bit with the love plot and there were too many dangling plot threads at the end to make anything feel super meaningful or resolved - but I loved the ride. Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess make a great team, both here and in Solo. The flow is lyrical and I could feel the jazz inspiration throughout. A solid read that falters a bit at the end, but still worth your time. 4/5

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    They do it again!! I’m always amazed that Kwame & Mary evoke such depth of emotion from so few words. This book is full of memorable characters and will leave you changed. At one point in the story I did think there were too many plot points happening that diluted the story slightly but they tie them up, if not happily, then succinctly. This is a story that will stick with me and is easy to champion for, much like this team’s book Solo and Kwame’s books overall. An accessible and essential voice They do it again!! I’m always amazed that Kwame & Mary evoke such depth of emotion from so few words. This book is full of memorable characters and will leave you changed. At one point in the story I did think there were too many plot points happening that diluted the story slightly but they tie them up, if not happily, then succinctly. This is a story that will stick with me and is easy to champion for, much like this team’s book Solo and Kwame’s books overall. An accessible and essential voice in the book world.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jana

    unfortunately couldn't really get into this one

  22. 4 out of 5

    Will Keach

    The main character Noah and his best friend Walt aka Swing both share a love of baseball, although they never make their high school baseball team. Noah has a crush on one of his best friends Sam, but she already has a boyfriend named Cruz who plays on the baseball team. Noah starts to get jealous of him and asks Walt for help, Walt brings him to a "love guru" and he tries to help Noah find a way to tell Sam. At a thrift store, Noah purchases a travel bag as a birthday gift for his mother and in The main character Noah and his best friend Walt aka Swing both share a love of baseball, although they never make their high school baseball team. Noah has a crush on one of his best friends Sam, but she already has a boyfriend named Cruz who plays on the baseball team. Noah starts to get jealous of him and asks Walt for help, Walt brings him to a "love guru" and he tries to help Noah find a way to tell Sam. At a thrift store, Noah purchases a travel bag as a birthday gift for his mother and inside he finds long-hidden love letters. That makes him put his feelings on paper, but Swing anonymously gives his writing to Sam, causing a rift between them.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    10 word summary: Noah finds love letters that inspire actions with fateful consequences. #WhooHooWomanPodcast #getKleenexfortheending 🦔🦔🦔🦔 I've decided this one is well worth my time and yours too.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Renee Doucette

    Took me some time to get the back and forth of dialogue in verse, especially when more than 2 characters were involved. A bit of a slow start, but once invested in the characters, I finished this book quickly. Not my favorite Kwame Alexander. The ending was BAM.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Excellent!!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    DUDE. This book took some turns I was NOT expecting. Listened to the audiobook narrated by the author, which is always a fantastic thing to do.

  27. 4 out of 5

    josie

    I didn’t dislike this book, it was just so unrealistic. I think it would have benefitted from being longer. The romance was unrealistic, so unrealistic. I didn’t like that Noah and Walt didn’t talk about their feelings, and because of this the whole book felt rushed. The character of Sam felt quite fake, again, unrealistic. I didn’t mind the actual story, but, as I’ve said about a million times, it was too unrealistic. Oh, and the ending is so abrupt. It didn’t really make sense to me. I would wr I didn’t dislike this book, it was just so unrealistic. I think it would have benefitted from being longer. The romance was unrealistic, so unrealistic. I didn’t like that Noah and Walt didn’t talk about their feelings, and because of this the whole book felt rushed. The character of Sam felt quite fake, again, unrealistic. I didn’t mind the actual story, but, as I’ve said about a million times, it was too unrealistic. Oh, and the ending is so abrupt. It didn’t really make sense to me. I would write more, but I have nothing to say, that seems important. If you want the review to be longer, just read it again. :))

  28. 4 out of 5

    Daisey

    The poetic rhythm and the figurative language in this story are amazing. It was so enjoyable to read all of the fun facts and allusions that are included. The combination of jazz, baseball, and poetry made for a fascinating mix in this story of friendship and love. However, the overall story is one that is tough for me to review because I just don't feel I'm the right audience. There was too much love story, or more accurately the story of a lovesick teenage boy, for me to completely enjoy the c The poetic rhythm and the figurative language in this story are amazing. It was so enjoyable to read all of the fun facts and allusions that are included. The combination of jazz, baseball, and poetry made for a fascinating mix in this story of friendship and love. However, the overall story is one that is tough for me to review because I just don't feel I'm the right audience. There was too much love story, or more accurately the story of a lovesick teenage boy, for me to completely enjoy the center section of this book, but the end came through in an unexpectedly powerful way. * I received an electronic copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ethan Rivenson

    Swing was a decent book that was about a kid named Noah and his best friend, Walt (aka Swing). These boys are cut off the baseball team for the third year in a row. Noah tries to get his crush, Sam, to get him out of the friend zone. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes baseball.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Raegynn M.

    This book is just as amazing as the other books by Kwame. This book is a book that I can definitely add as one of my favorites. I can definitely relate to this book, and I think that any teen who reads this would say the same. I would recommend this book to any teen or younger adult.

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