Swing
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.

Swing Details

TitleSwing
Author
ReleaseOct 2nd, 2018
PublisherBlink
ISBN-139780310761914
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Poetry, Realistic Fiction, Fiction, Sports and Games, Sports

Swing Review

  • Clare Lund
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Tara
    January 1, 1970
    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
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    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...
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    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 vo 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.
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  • Kristen
    January 1, 1970
    Netgalley provided me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review.I can't even tell you guys how excited I was to get an ARC of this one. I ADORE Kwame Alexander's work, and I wasn't disappointed.Swing is one part romance, one part coming-of-age, one part social commentary. (Although it's a little heavy on the romance and light on the commentary.) Our narrator, Noah, is in love with his best friend--but she has a boyfriend. He loves art and baseball and his kooky friend Walt (aka Swing), Netgalley provided me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review.I can't even tell you guys how excited I was to get an ARC of this one. I ADORE Kwame Alexander's work, and I wasn't disappointed.Swing is one part romance, one part coming-of-age, one part social commentary. (Although it's a little heavy on the romance and light on the commentary.) Our narrator, Noah, is in love with his best friend--but she has a boyfriend. He loves art and baseball and his kooky friend Walt (aka Swing), who always seems to get them into crazy situations. I loved watching Noah's story progress, and Alexander's poetry is--as always--a fantastic mix that sometimes hits you hard like rap and sometimes eases into your blood like Jazz.My only complaint is the abruptness of the ending. Most of the book is about Noah and Sam's non-relationship and Swing's crazy plan to find "cool". Then all of a sudden there seems to be a new focus and we (as readers) are not afforded much time to make the switch or deal with the emotional repercussions. If it was intentional and we were meant to feel uncomfortable, okay--but this felt more like an entire story was told only to have another one crammed in at the end. And while I LIKED both stories, I felt like the second one didn't get near the attention it should have.
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  • Keri
    January 1, 1970
    I had the opportunity to read Swing via NetGalley. I am a huge fan of Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess. I love what they offer the world through literature. I have read everything by Kwame and have loved it all. I am constantly amazed how beautifully he can express feelings and ideas through poetry. For that reason, I expected great things from Swing. It did not disappoint! The friendships, hopes, goals, feelings, and disappointments fit right in to what we can all remember from our teenage ye I had the opportunity to read Swing via NetGalley. I am a huge fan of Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess. I love what they offer the world through literature. I have read everything by Kwame and have loved it all. I am constantly amazed how beautifully he can express feelings and ideas through poetry. For that reason, I expected great things from Swing. It did not disappoint! The friendships, hopes, goals, feelings, and disappointments fit right in to what we can all remember from our teenage years. I had been warned that the ending would come as a surprise, and I am not sure it really did. Honestly, I partially expected it. But even with that, I still have found myself struggling with how I feel about the ending. Was it too abrupt? Were all the characters developed enough to feel like it was ok and not a rushed ending? Does it send a positive message in the end? I have been grappling a bit with these questions, and ultimately this is what I have come up with. Sometimes in life things happen more abruptly than you would expect. Often you don't get to really know and understand someone well enough to appreciate their situation. Life can leave us feeling very uncomfortable. Ultimately, we all take different messages from situations we are exposed to, even when exposed to the very same situation. Our personal background, understanding, and experiences will help each of us shape what we take from events. Swing might just be a bit like that, which is a beautiful accomplishment. Let it make you think. Let the ending frustrate you, or break your heart. Let it encourage you to start positive conversations with those around you. Let Swing be one of those stories that will stick with you for a while.
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  • Theresa
    January 1, 1970
    I read an ARC via NetGalley. Kwame Alexander is a fabulous writer whose prose are intelligent and engaging. Walt (AKA Swing) and Noah are lovelorn high school boys who are passionate about many things, including baseball, jazz, art, and ladies. While neither boy is great at baseball, they strive to be their best selves. I liked that they didn’t feel an obligation to fit in to stereotypical high school roles. The story follows their ups and downs with relationships and how they each find outlets I read an ARC via NetGalley. Kwame Alexander is a fabulous writer whose prose are intelligent and engaging. Walt (AKA Swing) and Noah are lovelorn high school boys who are passionate about many things, including baseball, jazz, art, and ladies. While neither boy is great at baseball, they strive to be their best selves. I liked that they didn’t feel an obligation to fit in to stereotypical high school roles. The story follows their ups and downs with relationships and how they each find outlets for their exuberant passion. My hang-up was that I wanted more depth in the social justice storyline and with Walt’s brother who returned from war with PTSD. Instead there was a ton of focus on Noah’s unrequited love, which made the ending feel abrupt. Overall, this is quintessential Kwame writing, I just feel like his middle grade books have more focus than his YA titles co-written with Hess.
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  • Maureen
    January 1, 1970
    Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess have another hit on their hands. Noah and Walt are high school juniors who want to fit in. Walt has decided he is gong to make the varsity baseball team their senior year and works hard to make it happen. Noah is carrying a torch for his long-time best friend Samantha, who happens to date baseball star Cruz. Over a four-week period in their lives, we learn so much about Noah, Walt, Sam, and Cruz. This novel in verse is perfect in every way. I am so thankful tha Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess have another hit on their hands. Noah and Walt are high school juniors who want to fit in. Walt has decided he is gong to make the varsity baseball team their senior year and works hard to make it happen. Noah is carrying a torch for his long-time best friend Samantha, who happens to date baseball star Cruz. Over a four-week period in their lives, we learn so much about Noah, Walt, Sam, and Cruz. This novel in verse is perfect in every way. I am so thankful that the authors chose me to be part of their street team. I can’t wait to buy published copies for my students.
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  • Karen Reed
    January 1, 1970
    I don't know how Kwame / Mary do this? Pack so much into a book with few words. Nothing is lacking, not character development, not storyline, and definitely not emotion. This story schools us all in jazz, art, and life. We all need reminders to "Hug Life" and keep striving and working towards our dreams, but possibly teens need to be reminded of this lesson the most. They need to be reminded not to just be okay maintaining the status quo but to strive for more, both personally and globally. Kwam I don't know how Kwame / Mary do this? Pack so much into a book with few words. Nothing is lacking, not character development, not storyline, and definitely not emotion. This story schools us all in jazz, art, and life. We all need reminders to "Hug Life" and keep striving and working towards our dreams, but possibly teens need to be reminded of this lesson the most. They need to be reminded not to just be okay maintaining the status quo but to strive for more, both personally and globally. Kwame is such a motivating person for teens and his character Walt lends his voice to this message. I have pre-ordered the copy , even though myself and two teen boys (7th/9th) have already read the ARC (from netgalley in exchange for honest review). I look forward to seeing the final art pieces. I will also be ordering the audio for my library because I think Kwame's voice will make this powerful read even more influential.
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  • Whitney
    January 1, 1970
    As much as I want to say this one "hit it out of the park," that is both a cliche and a bad pun for the book, but it really did. Kwame Alexander is such a poetic storyteller. He uses the format of writing in verse to tell the story, and while sports plays a role in each story, it's a sideline to the actual plot line. In this book, he was able to weave allusion to Jazz music and Harlem Renaissance poetry through the plot of a boy head over heels in love. This is also a great book to teach foresha As much as I want to say this one "hit it out of the park," that is both a cliche and a bad pun for the book, but it really did. Kwame Alexander is such a poetic storyteller. He uses the format of writing in verse to tell the story, and while sports plays a role in each story, it's a sideline to the actual plot line. In this book, he was able to weave allusion to Jazz music and Harlem Renaissance poetry through the plot of a boy head over heels in love. This is also a great book to teach foreshadowing. The twist that comes, while it's foreshadowed, is heartbreaking. I had to re-read the last few pages to make sure I didn't miss anything. I can't wait to see what he does next!
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    Kwame Alexander hits it out of the ballpark again! I have not read a book of his that I haven't loved and this one does not disappoint. Add this book to your pre-order list today. This time around the background is baseball, but the story is really about friendships, first love, family struggles, and perseverance through difficult times. I can't wait to get the paperback and share this with students over and over again.
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  • Kari
    January 1, 1970
    This book took its time setting up the story and then ended more abruptly than I expected. In between those two things, I fell in love with Noah, Sam, and especially Swing. I can see how Swing might be interpreted as a pushy or overbearing character, but I found him to be funny and charming, drawing Noah out of his shell and helping him thrive. I enjoyed the sophisticated twist on the unsupervised party storyline, and liked that these teenagers were more interesting (and interested in the world This book took its time setting up the story and then ended more abruptly than I expected. In between those two things, I fell in love with Noah, Sam, and especially Swing. I can see how Swing might be interpreted as a pushy or overbearing character, but I found him to be funny and charming, drawing Noah out of his shell and helping him thrive. I enjoyed the sophisticated twist on the unsupervised party storyline, and liked that these teenagers were more interesting (and interested in the world of art and music) than you might get from many other portrayals. Give this to your quiet, dreamy kids and to your passionate activists because it speaks to both groups.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    Baseball, jazz, friendship, and crushes, what more could you want? I have read all of Kwame Alexander’s middle grade/YA fiction and this is another novel in verse. His themes of friendship and finding yourself are again present, this time with the background of baseball and jazz music. I enjoyed the main storyline along with the side stories that became integral parts of the main story as the novel progressed. As usual, by the end of the book, I was invested in the characters and I think the tar Baseball, jazz, friendship, and crushes, what more could you want? I have read all of Kwame Alexander’s middle grade/YA fiction and this is another novel in verse. His themes of friendship and finding yourself are again present, this time with the background of baseball and jazz music. I enjoyed the main storyline along with the side stories that became integral parts of the main story as the novel progressed. As usual, by the end of the book, I was invested in the characters and I think the target audience will be too. All in all, it’s another win from Kwame!
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    This book tore my heart out. Kwame does such beautiful things with verse, sports, music, friendship and love. Every book he writes feels as if the voice is a living, breathing student I could teach. Kwame gets it. He gets people and he gets life. This, with its interwoven jazz greats and pop culture allusions, feels like it will be one that speaks of our tumultuous time for generations. Read this. Then read everything else Kwame has written. Seriously.
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  • Erica
    January 1, 1970
    Novel in verse about - Noah and his unrequited love for his best friend, Sam- Walt (Swing) and his motivation to make the baseball team - Walt's relationship with Divya (an older girl by 2 years)- Walt's brother, Mo, coming home from war with PTSDAnd, I can't ruin the ending.
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  • Kelli C.
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley and the SWINGLAUNCH TEAM, I had the honor of reading the ARC of this book.All the stars for this book! Baseball,Jazz, friendship, and love all in onefabulous novel in verse. Funny, sweet,heartbreaking, beautiful Kwame andMary hit another one out of the park.
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  • Brevin
    January 1, 1970
    Incredibly supprising twist at the end.
  • Deborah Hightower
    January 1, 1970
    I read this ARC through NetGalley. This book is written in verse and emotional. The main characters are juniors in high school. Walt and Noah don’t make the baseball team for the third time. Walt is determined to practice baseball until he is good enough to make the team and to help his best friend develop the confidence he needs in his personal relationship with a long time female friend. It was a story about living life, taking chances, and not giving up. It was a great book.
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  • Heather Hites
    January 1, 1970
    Read this book.
  • Kokie
    January 1, 1970
    I liked the book and the ending is very powerful, but I think the authors tried to discuss too many issues in a short amount of time. They touched on so many heavily charged current event issues in the first quarter of the poems I didn't know which theme they would focus on. I understand the desire to discuss each of the topics, especially in today's politically charged chaotic news cycle, but I find the beauty of books is the ability to take one topic at a time and truly dig deep in the discuss I liked the book and the ending is very powerful, but I think the authors tried to discuss too many issues in a short amount of time. They touched on so many heavily charged current event issues in the first quarter of the poems I didn't know which theme they would focus on. I understand the desire to discuss each of the topics, especially in today's politically charged chaotic news cycle, but I find the beauty of books is the ability to take one topic at a time and truly dig deep in the discussion/meditation of the topic. This book didn't give the reader enough time with just one idea at a time.That is not to say I didn't enjoy the book. Overall I really enjoyed my experience with the book despite the fact I read it electronically and the way it is formatted demands a paper copy. I found the characters relatable, and I was pleasantly surprised with the grown-up tone it took compared to their first book, Solo, which was much more juvenile/teenager in tone.
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  • Deana Metzke
    January 1, 1970
    Walt and Noah are high school best friends that are trying to navigate through the seemingly foreign world of girls. As a reader, I got so invested in these characters, and I find that that is always a sign of a good book. I haven't found the words yet that don't include spoilers, so I'm just gonna suggest that you read it. :) *I received an ARC of this book through Netgalley as part of the #Swingbook launch team.
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  • Mrs. Porter
    January 1, 1970
    I read the ARC of the first 109 pages of this book and am completely hooked. The characters are relatable and real. The story captured me, then the twist at the end of page 109 captured me again. I'm anxiously awaiting the publication of the entire book.
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  • Harker
    January 1, 1970
    CW: (view spoiler)[PTSD (scenes with a character exhibiting symptoms thereof)  (hide spoiler)]I've been reading a lot more novels in verse this year, the latest of which is Swing by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess. I first learned of this writing duo through their previous book, Solo, and was pleased when I got the chance to joined the #SwingLaunchTeam. It's been a real treat getting to learn about the book, hearing what other members of the #swingbook launch team have thought about it, and CW: (view spoiler)[PTSD (scenes with a character exhibiting symptoms thereof)  (hide spoiler)]I've been reading a lot more novels in verse this year, the latest of which is Swing by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess. I first learned of this writing duo through their previous book, Solo, and was pleased when I got the chance to joined the #SwingLaunchTeam. It's been a real treat getting to learn about the book, hearing what other members of the #swingbook launch team have thought about it, and now getting to share my personal reading experience with all of you.The friendship trio showcased in Swing is classic. Noah, Walt, and Sam's friendship was so strong in middle school, then came to face the challenges of high school and the changes that test the ties that bound them together. New things rise up and make you question what's important now, who is going to remain in your life, whether the old is going to stand the test of time or if it's going to give way for something different. It can be sad but it can also be normal. Noah observing all this in verse, telling us what's happening to his friends, brings up memories of the past for readers while we're living in his present, waiting to see what it turns into.I WILL make the varsity baseball team senior year. Bet on that. I’ll practice harder than before. Work out harder. Get ripped. Give the whole of my heart and soul to the glove and the ball.Walt, a.k.a. Swing, was such an enthusiastic character. He was always talking to Noah, the main voice of the novel, the "I", about his philosophy of life called cool. Walt's dreams extend beyond cool, though. He loves a lot more and his passion show through in how he lives every day to the fullest, how he espouses what he calls Hug Life. Baseball, for example: it's about so much more than loving the game, the players. It's the intricacies, being in the moment, feeling it inside. He doesn't see not being on the team right now as a letdown. Baseball doesn't ever let him down. It's his future, one way or the other. Abandoning the traditional major and minor key relationships of tonality, Miles based the entire album on modality. It was a remarkable, landmark album that shaped the future of modern music. It was improvisation, but each of the performers was given a set of scales that defined the parameters of their improvisation.There was a lot about music and the depths of emotion that it could stir, particularly when a character named Divya appears as a love interest for Walt/Swing. Noah makes this real soulful connection to music that feels beautiful, almost like a camera panning an especially well lit scene in a film with the perfect soundtrack.The scene, the beginning of something for Divya and Walt as quoted above, was one of my favorite scenes. It's easy to picture them in this crowded thrift shop where Divya worked, Noah in the background observing their story just starting, and different records being played. Noah has his own love story to work on throughout the book: whether to act on a crush, whether to confess, whether to EMBRACE LIFE in the words of his best friend. It's a confusing time and it's something that could be relatable, even if it's not specifically about a crush. Noah's nerves were for sure something that could be applied to a few different situations, especially for readers that are his peers.Looks pretty safe to me. This is a nice neighborhood. Yeah, pretty safe for YOU, but I’m a black kid walking up and down the street with a baseball glove. At three am. In the middle of nowhere. You do that math, Noah.Among the changes of teenage friendships and trying to figure out a crush, there's also an interaction between Walt & Noah when Walt calls Noah for a ride home. It's summed up in this quote and shows how different their world views are, how some things don't even register to Noah while Walt has them in at the forefront every moment.It wasn't always easy to understand who was talking while reading this book because in verse as opposed to narrative, there were no tags, no names coming out at the end of the sentences. The voices really have to stand out on their own so the reader can identify the different characters. Sometimes Walt/Swing and Noah blended a little too much and made the text confusing.Swing had a lot of imagery that went from words and translated to visual and auditory imaginings, something I appreciated because it made the book even more of an experience. Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess have created another book that in verse is something that can be consumed either with speed, easily, but also slowly, to be savored while picking up all the nuances with each verse. I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Christina Carter
    January 1, 1970
    Note: Review of ARC from NetGalley. Thank you to Kwame Alexander & Mary Rand Hess for having me on the Swing Launch Team.It's junior year and best friends, Noah and Walt are navigating their way to cool the best way they know how. But they have some trouble along the way because, well for one, neither one of them made the baseball team and that's a big deal for someone who loves to play the game, but this setback is simply "a setup for a comeback." You see, Walt is about that HUGLIFE. He ful Note: Review of ARC from NetGalley. Thank you to Kwame Alexander & Mary Rand Hess for having me on the Swing Launch Team.It's junior year and best friends, Noah and Walt are navigating their way to cool the best way they know how. But they have some trouble along the way because, well for one, neither one of them made the baseball team and that's a big deal for someone who loves to play the game, but this setback is simply "a setup for a comeback." You see, Walt is about that HUGLIFE. He fully embraces YES and wants Noah to do the same. No more shying away from their childhood friend, Sam. It's time to tell her how he really feels. Speak to her though? Face-to-face? Nope. Inspired by some old love letters he finds in a purse he bought his mom from the thrift store, he begins to write his own; pouring his heart out on the pages infused with his art, anonymously signed, X. Sam loves the mystery of it all but does she have room in her heart for Noah?All the while, flags keep popping up throughout town in the most random places and no one knows who's doing it or why. And while seeing a lone American flag shouldn't be cause for alarm, the community doesn't exactly know how to interpret the sudden appearance of these flags. Is it an act of a patriot or of one with ill intent? At the very least, seeing them has people considering what the flag represents.From the very beginning, until the end, Swing is baseball. Swing is jazz. Swing is family, love, friendship, and American flags. Swing is dreams longed for. It is daring to live life to the fullest against all odds. It is another novel in verse brought to us by the dynamic duo, Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess who also gave us Solo in 2017. I enjoyed Swing a great deal and especially loved Walt and his appreciation for jazz music. He was an avid listener and had a wealth of knowledge about so many musicians, including how they died. Noting that a good number of them actually passed away on a Friday, which was interesting. He had such a hopeful outlook on life and believed that anything was possible. I think this is why he was my favorite character. Because when faced with a NO, he instead chose YES. I loved Noah's artistic creativity and that he used it to give voice to his feelings for Sam. I think that it is also pretty awesome that they each were frequent customers of Dairy Queen. Of course, this makes me happy because I am a fan of a good DQ ice cream sundae. Lastly, the fact that they shopped at a thrift store was pretty cool. My 14-year-old daughter is suddenly into thrift store shopping and I think it is owed in part to the back to school clothing hauls she's been watching on Youtube. Someone or multiple someones has made it trendy to shop the Salvation Army and Goodwill. A Youtuber (according to my daughter) even filmed right at the Salvation Army we've frequented all summer. Now let this suggestion have come from me...I digress, mostly because this "new" trend has helped my no-check teacher summer life out a great deal.Anything Kwame Alexander writes (since I read The Crossover) is an instant add to my shopping cart. Swing even more so, because he and Mary Rand Hess did such a great job with Solo that I knew I would enjoy this one too.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    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 boyfri 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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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    I received a complimentary review copy of this book as a part of the "Swing" Launch Team. All thoughts and opinions are my own.4.5 stars!"Swing" takes readers on a poetic journey of love, loss, and jazz. High school is notoriously rough; teenagers search for love, acceptance, identity, and security all while navigating the precarious whims of popular culture.Best friends, Walt (a.k.a. "Swing") and Noah have a friendship that defies the lackluster odds. For better or worse, they have each others' I received a complimentary review copy of this book as a part of the "Swing" Launch Team. All thoughts and opinions are my own.4.5 stars!"Swing" takes readers on a poetic journey of love, loss, and jazz. High school is notoriously rough; teenagers search for love, acceptance, identity, and security all while navigating the precarious whims of popular culture.Best friends, Walt (a.k.a. "Swing") and Noah have a friendship that defies the lackluster odds. For better or worse, they have each others' back. Walt's success is a victory for Noah, while Noah's heartbreak cuts right to the core of Walt, as well. I loved the ways these two friends pushed each other to take risks, to pursue their dreams, and to be the best versions of themselves.Authors Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess packed a whole lot of important stuff within the pages of this book. Themes such as post-traumatic stress disorder, violence, friendship, romance, patriotism, and identity are interwoven throughout its poetic verses. In their own authentic style, Alexander and Hess expose readers to the issues of today through the beauty of art. Reading their work is more than just sitting down with a good book; through poetry, jazz music, and tactile creation they've orchestrated an experience. An experience that changes minds, transforms hearts, and compels readers to talk about important topics and to open dialogues in their communities about things that matter.It's difficult to review a book like "Swing" because it's one that just begs to be read and experienced by each and every person. It's a novel in verse for everyone. Also, it's challenging to talk about it without spoiling essential aspects of the experience. Take my advice: pick up "Swing" for yourself, read it, experience it, then come back and we can chat (or rant, rave, and exclaim really loudly together). You won't regret it.This review will be posted on my blog, The Novel Endeavor, on the publication date, October 2.
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  • Susie
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book. Walt Disney Jones has to be one of my favorite recent characters I've encountered. (For some reason, I pictured him as Kenan Thompson, one of my favorite actors.) Using the title and nickname of "Swing" is so appropriate. He is such a culturally-literate character; it would be great to have students look up the many references Walt and Noah make to music, art, and literature. In the same day, I read two books that did not use quotation marks Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book. Walt Disney Jones has to be one of my favorite recent characters I've encountered. (For some reason, I pictured him as Kenan Thompson, one of my favorite actors.) Using the title and nickname of "Swing" is so appropriate. He is such a culturally-literate character; it would be great to have students look up the many references Walt and Noah make to music, art, and literature. In the same day, I read two books that did not use quotation marks to delineate speakers, and I found myself re-reading several times to get straight who said what; maybe the fact that this was an ARC affected that. As others have mentioned, I felt the end was a bit rushed, but perhaps that is part of the point. I feel like I missed why Sam made a certain decision near the end, and the character of Moses was a bit underdeveloped as well. I was also a bit confused about the reference to Corinthian Jones; it showed a letter dated 1966, but at one point they make reference to him being born in 1966. Those letters are written in a somewhat texting-style.I do not want to spoil the plot for anyone, but I will say that there is no language that some might object to in this book, so it might be deemed appropriate for younger audiences than some books with a similar topic.
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  • Katy
    January 1, 1970
    After reading the back of the book, it interested me, but did not captivate me. I will agree, it was a good book, but reading pages upon pages of beautiful poetry just WAsn't my cup of tea. When reading this book, don't skim through the poetry, because otherwise you couLd miss out on the imaginative way that the author, Kwane Alexander, intertwines the sounds of jazzy smooThness into lines upon lines of poetry. I will warn readers, though, that in the end Noah enDs up feeling more broken than ev After reading the back of the book, it interested me, but did not captivate me. I will agree, it was a good book, but reading pages upon pages of beautiful poetry just WAsn't my cup of tea. When reading this book, don't skim through the poetry, because otherwise you couLd miss out on the imaginative way that the author, Kwane Alexander, intertwines the sounds of jazzy smooThness into lines upon lines of poetry. I will warn readers, though, that in the end Noah enDs up feeling more broken than ever, and here's why. CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD! Although Noah has been dreamIng about finally fufilling his dream of being Sam's sweathart, when he finally musters up the couragE to tell her that he loves her, the best friends discover that they were better at being friends than at being each otherS lovers. In the end, I discovered that the book was really about Walt (Swing), but from Noah's point of view. The book really explores the racial differences that exist in our world today, with the flags being planted all around the city and all that jazz. To figure out the true spoiler, find the letters capitalized in random places in this review and put them together.Answer: Walt Dies
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  • The Reading Countess
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley for the sneak peek. Look for yet another homerun by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess on October 2, 2018.Written in the voice of jazz: riffing in the emotional parts, slowly melancholic during the dramatic parts, the strength of Kwame Alexander’s writing never.disappoints. Ever.Somehow, Alexander weaves a tale of unrequited love, the bond of a best friend who painstakingly strives at a sport that is painful to watch play, and jazz. Always the mythical music of jazz.This is a Thanks to Netgalley for the sneak peek. Look for yet another homerun by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess on October 2, 2018.Written in the voice of jazz: riffing in the emotional parts, slowly melancholic during the dramatic parts, the strength of Kwame Alexander’s writing never.disappoints. Ever.Somehow, Alexander weaves a tale of unrequited love, the bond of a best friend who painstakingly strives at a sport that is painful to watch play, and jazz. Always the mythical music of jazz.This is a story of how the ravages of war leave indelible marks on souls-surely on those who witnessed its atrocities day in and day out, but also of the loved ones at home left to pick up the pieces of soldiers’ hearts and minds once they return.It’s the story of unrequited AND requited love, how we are more alike than we are different despite our outward appearances, and about police brutality.Look for the nod to “Casey at the Bat,” the found poetry and love of art and music sprinkled throughout, and for a plucky grandma too busy living life to check in on her grandson.The ending? Well, that broke my heart.But what do you expect from a book largely dedicated to jazz?HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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  • Amanda Sass-Henke
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the publisher and author for allowing me advance access to Swing through Netgalley. All opinions are my own. Noah, Sam, and Walt are best friends. During their senior year, a lot competes for their attention. Walt is dedicated to making the varsity baseball team. Sam is devoted to her boyfriend. And Noah is distracted by Sam and his all-consuming secret love for her. Once again Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess speak the words of a 17-year-old in beautiful verse that makes me envio Thank you to the publisher and author for allowing me advance access to Swing through Netgalley. All opinions are my own. Noah, Sam, and Walt are best friends. During their senior year, a lot competes for their attention. Walt is dedicated to making the varsity baseball team. Sam is devoted to her boyfriend. And Noah is distracted by Sam and his all-consuming secret love for her. Once again Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess speak the words of a 17-year-old in beautiful verse that makes me envious of their characters’ eloquence. Swing’s swirling plot ties together love, baseball, growing up, jazz, PTSD, and podcasts. It is a text that crescendos to its climax and leaves the reader breathless at thr end, like many of the jazz tunes listened to by Noah and Walt. Fans of Kwame Alexander will enjoy his latest collaboration with Mary Rand Hess - which (as always) brings out all feelings. Euphoria, satisfaction, frustration, impatience, and heartbreak -- they are all present and accounted for in Swing. Recommended for ages 14 and up.
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