Swing

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 17 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

In another amazing collaboration from Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess, we follow Noah and best friend, Walt through the ups and downs of high school life. Noah and Walt are NOT on the school baseball team, but Walt hits the batting cages with fierce commitment and passion, channeling his love of jazz to help him find his SWING. Noah is a faithful friend and follower, while working on his own passions, especially his love for Sam, a beautiful BFF he’s known since”forever” ago. Sam has a boyfriend, though—none other than the buff baseball star of the team, Cruz.

When Noah finds a birthday gift for his mom at a local thrift store, he also finds his courage in the box — the words of old love letters that were left inside. Noah copies the words for his love, longing to live the life that Cruz now has. When Walt delivers one of the letters to Sam, however, the three friends’ relationships start to change.

Meanwhile, the neighborhood is dealing with bigger issues — there’s life and love, and then there’s allegiance and angst. Patriotic duty vs. empathetic obligation towards our fellow man. Kwame and Mary SWING the readers thinking around, fluctuating with hard-hitting emotion that leaves one breathless, wondering about our own lives in the midst of all that is good and evil. Our own little lives — up against the global society.

What I loved about Swing: I loved ALL the characters in Swing, right down to the grandma who is supposed to be keeping an eye on Noah while his parents are away, and Floyd, Walt’s “love doctor” cousin. Swing will remind adults of their high school days, and help current students find ways to deal with their feelings, all while helping us think about our place on this earth.

Why you should read Swing: You will laugh with, and long for, the characters. You’ll reminisce, and maybe even renew your friendships from high school. You’ll cry. You’ll think. You’ll want to be a better person after reading Swing.
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I really enjoyed Kwame Alexander's Solo a few summers ago, so I was excited to be able to review Swing. Although I enjoyed most of the story, it fell flat in the end.  The friendship between the two young men in the story seemed to be the focus of the book.  The ending ( I won't give it away for anyone who may read this) seemed totally out of place and somewhat gratuitous. It didn't fit the rest of the story.
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I am a big fan of Kwame Alexander and so are my students. Kwame cowrote Swing with Mary Rand Hess and I loved Swing as much as I did their last project Solo.

While I loved Booked and Crossover I am not a huge sports person so large parts of the book was lost on me since I was unfamiliar with sports vocabulary. The sport in Swing is baseball so I was worried I would be in unfamiliar territory again. I wasn't. 

Swing is about two high school boys who want to be on the baseball team; Walt who wants to be called Swing and Noah. They are in high school and Noah has feelings for a girl who has been his friend since 3rd grade. The story is filled with so much emotion I couldn't put it down. This will definitely be another huge hit with my students.
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This much-anticipated book did not disappoint. In a similar format to Solo, Alexander and Hess weave a story amongst a musical backdrop. With Solo, it was rock and roll, this time it is jazz. This compelling novel in verse takes you on a journey of two friends trying to find their way amongst the social circles of high school. There is also a backdrop of baseball and one character's failed attempt to make the team again and again. There are subtle references to social justice issues and the ending packs a punch that I didn't see coming. I am still trying to process it all. I highly recommend this book and know that it will spark lots of great discussion that will hopefully be followed by some action.
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I usually don't like Kwame Alexander books all that much, and this one was not an exception. "Elsa, then w h y did you pick this up?" Good question, someone I definitely do not know. I picked it up because I thought I was actually going to like this one. Yeah, bad idea past-Elsa, very bad idea. 

It was not all that bad, I guess. I just expected a bit more. The only thing about it that I liked were the extremely well developed characters. I also liked the great number of issues that were brought up. And that was also a big problem because I felt like the authors wanted to include them all into one book, and it just did not work for me.

2.5/5 stars
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Swing was the 5th book I’ve read by Kwame Alexander. I teach Crossover as a class novel and my students absolutely adore him. I loved that this title was a little bit milder content-wise so that I could keep it on my mainstream shelf, whereas I require a parent signature for Solo (I teach 7th grade in a Catholic school). The characters in Swing were lovable and the addition of the Podcast made for a cool twist. My real problem with the book was the ending. I think this story had the potential to say something powerful about PTSD or racial violence, but not both. The ending felt random and forced, unless I missed out on some serious foreshadowing. The connections to sports, high school/middle school themes, and verse style made it extremely palatable though, and I think my students will continue to enjoy it!
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Swing was a relevant and enjoyable read. I appreciated the relationship between Noah and Walt and found it to be very authentic. While the book covered many issues such as friendship, love, art, and so much more, the plot was slow in the beginning. Once it gained momentum, I felt a bit overwhelmed with the number of points being tackled in the story. The ending felt abrupt and somewhat of a last resort to an extent. I enjoyed the poetry and metaphors throughout the story though and felt that the intertwining of jazz and baseball were done well.The audiobook was the perfect way to read this because Kwame Alexander's narration never fails. 

3.5 stars
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Kwame Alexander knocks it out of the park with his latest book, Swing. The characters come alive through his verse poetry so that the reader becomes completely invested in the lives of Walt, Noah, and Sam. Kwame's use of blackout poetry to woo Sam enhances the story and offers teachers a tool to engage students in creating poetry of their own. The surprising twist at the end broke my heart. This is a book that needs to be read by every middle school student in America. Many of my students have already read and fallen in love with this book - much like the rest of Kwame's books.
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This book reminds me of Horrorstor. They are both funny and light with some tension around the edges. They both go from 0 to 100 with the turning of a page. However, I might need some time to get over this one.
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3.5 Stars for the latest Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess book.  The positive is that there are so many great issues that are brought up in this book.  That is also the negative.  I thought that too many things were forced to come together in the book especially at the end.  That being said, I still look forward to a book from these two again in the future.
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This book follows Walt and Noah in another beautiful written book by these two authors..  These two friends are trying to find their cool while also dealing with some big issues at school and in their neighborhood.  They get through it with each other, baseball, and art!  Another great book that my students will love and I can't wait to add it to my classroom!
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This is a powerful book for middle grade and YA readers. It gives a glimpse into the daily lives of two average boys trapped in the middle of a war they shouldn't have to fight. I would highly recommend it.
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I liked this book, but not as much as others by Alexander (for example, I LOVED the Crossover books). The verse is enjoyable and well-written. The plot is pretty standard teen love triangle and friendships-- not my cup of tea as an adult, but I think it would go over well with teens (especially younger teens) who are working through these issues on their own. I think the ending came out of left field a bit and therefore felt cheap (though to be fair, it was unfortunately realistic). 

Finally, I recommend reading this in print or audio, as my eBook formatting of the verse made it a bit hard to follow at times.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This book was enjoyable but has more of a niche type reader than Solo, which had a broader audience. Jazz music fans in particular will be entertained. Kwame has great poetry, as always.
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Another excellent book from Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess.  The verse here is beautifully crafted and allows for interior exploration of the main trio in a way that is open and moving, uplifting and heartbreaking.
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Awesome!  Kwame Alexander continues to be a classroom favorite.  When I can't reach a student, Mr. Alexander does.
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Perhaps not as adventurous as Solo, Swing managed to keep me reading and enjoying the Journey, though I would most likely recommend Solo first to those interested in Kwame Alexander.
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This book both tugs at your heartstrings and shatters them. I could not put it down. Kwame and Mary at their finest.
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This is best as an audio book. The ending seemed to come out of nowhere, but I think kids and teens will be deeply moved by it and I'm certain they will benefit from reading it.
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This novel in verse follows high school student Noah and his best friend Walt who also goes by Swing. Noah, Swing, and Samantha are best friends. Noah also has had a big crush on Sam for the past eight years. Swing is determined to get a spot on the baseball team and he passes his determination on to Noah by convincing him to win Sam's heart. Jazz is key in this novel. Swing loves jazz and he gets Noah into it.

This doesn't have the adventure as Solo did, but like Solo, the characters are interesting, and keeps the novel moving along.

I will recommend this book to students who enjoy novels in verse, music, and friendship stories.
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