Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Blog Tour Review/Giveaway: The Silent Swan by Lex Keating


The Silent Swan by Lex Keating
Published:  August 26th, 2013
Publisher: AltWit Press
Word Count: 132,000
Genre:  YA Contemporary Romance
Synopsis: Once upon a time – better known as “now” - Gabriel Pritz reigns as king of his high school. Easy grades, perfect baseball season, a pretty date for prom—he's coasting into a golden future. Until his parents demand he cook dinner once a week. Caught between kitchen fires and ballpark withdrawal, Gabe is thrown into Tam Swann's orbit. Hostile, friendless, and stubborn, she's exactly the sort of person he'd prefer to avoid.

Tam's sphere of influence expands beyond Gabe's sad domestic skills, rapidly invading everything from his favorite game to parts of his soul he didn't know existed. It's uncomfortable, it's hard work, it's...making him a better man. And that's just what she does to people she doesn't like. The better he gets to know her, the more he has to face the truth: this sharp, heart-breaking outcast is worth fighting for. How many families, fairy tales, and felons will he go through to ride to the rescue of the bravest person he's ever met?
Amazon | Barnes & Noble GoodReads


My Review

The Silent SwanThe Silent Swan by Lex Keating
Source: ARC - 
paperback (provided as part of  blog tour in exchange for honest review)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars :star :star :star :star

I really wasn't sure what to expect before reading this book. It sounded like a sort of general young adult contemporary about a budding relationship. I quickly found out it was anything but general. The Silent Swan is an extremely touching and unique story about a high school student council president (Gabe AKA Mr. Popular) and his non-friendship with classmate Tamryn. At first I thought Gabe would be a jerk, a sort of typical popular baseball type jock. Nothing could be further from that. Gabe's a genuinely great guy. He's got a huge family (all brothers) and he was brought up well. It was so refreshing to see the two main characters be responsible, moral, good kids! I can't tell you how awesome it was. They felt real though, they weren't flawless and you could tell they were in high school, just super mature. I liked that a lot.

In fact one of the things that had me so engrossed in the story (I read it in one day! 500+ pages!) were the characters. I never played baseball in the strict sense. Of course I've played games for fun, but besides the basics I don't know the game well. There is a lot of baseball terminology but I could follow it because the characters made it easy. Gabe was the all star baseball player who played baseball and it was his life during the season. Tamryn's father was a pro baseball player and her and her brothers play as a family. I think because the characters were so relatable and easy to understand-- it was only natural that I could follow their main passion -- baseball. Gabe was amazing. I loved being in his head. He's just a genuinely wonderful young man and I loved reading about him and his family. Tam was a really complex character. I felt like I was always figuring her out and calculating things with her. Even up until the end I was not sure what she was hiding. She was an enigma, but she brought out the best in others' (most notably, Gabe).

I adored the development of Gabe's feelings for Tam. It wasn't like oh, they end up going to prom together and it ends happily ever after that. Prom was a mess (do they go together or not?). It was complicated, messy, and very real. I can't stress enough how real it felt. Life is so dang frustrating sometimes, and that frustration was a running theme in this book. The frustration of life, and the joys and sorrows as well. The hierarchy of high school was shown, but not in an extreme way. Yes, there was bullying and dishonesty-- but people were always standing up for it or being honest about the surrounding dishonesty. At least, Gabe and Tam were.

The only real critique I had was in the beginning of the book. The story just kind of gets dumped out super fast. I mean, character names and things happening so fast I couldn't make heads or tails of it. I was worried I'd feel behind the entire novel, constantly rereading pages trying to piece together a puzzle with some invisible pieces. However, once I got all the Printz boys straight (took a bit), and most of Gabe's friends and the Swanns' -  the problem disappeared and I could follow nicely.

I loved the way things unfolded and the natural dialogue between all of the characters. I only have one brother, but reading this book gave me the feeling that I know exactly what it's like to live in a house full of boys. :) the strength of the sibling bond (by blood or foster care / adoption) was a prominent theme in this novel. I really hadn't thought of many of the things that were brought up. For instance, does the "system" encourage foster families to replace blood relations by not allowing the, to stick together or visit often? I could definitely see both sides of it, which I think was the authors' intention. We have Gabe's family who adopted and have totally integrated a stereotypically bad foster kid case, but then we have Tam and her family situation which is anything but stereotypical. Yet, st the end of the book we see high value in both. I really enjoyed that.

All in all; The Silent Swan was a solid, great contemporary Ya novel. I'll read anything this writer writes. I loved the epilogue and could even have done with a little more at the end. Just an extension. Another dinner, something. But maybe I'm just being greedy.


[ I recommend this book to people who enjoyed  [book:The Sea of Tranquility|16151178]. It's a completely different story, but a love story at it's heart. ]


Excerpt


Tam Swann took a step towards the stairs, and then set the plastic case down. She turned and said “Macy” in that ultra-organized tone. Before either lady could do more than look up, she plucked a set of keys out of her escort’s hand.
“Hey,” said the dress, but the keys had already disappeared.
Down the front of Tam Swann’s misshapen sweater.
Dieter choked, and the council turned to watch him turn purple. He hacked and carried on, pounding himself in the chest, but Gabe kept one eye on the drama with the women. While Mrs. O’Neill looked like she’d swallowed a plate, the other lady had started to laugh.
“I need to talk to you,” Tam Swann said. She’d already picked up the case again. She took the stairs at a quick clip, not looking back when Mrs. O’Neill spluttered and the case worker raised her voice to say she had already seen Tam’s room.
Macy had an exasperated laugh that sounded almost like a sneeze.
“Gabe,” Shayna said tentatively.
He pulled his gaze away from the DSS drama and raised his brows, waiting, while Shayna put away her secretarial notebook.
“Is something up with Alex?”
“Always,” Gabe said, before he remembered that sometimes Alex didn’t kid. “Maybe. Why?”
She flushed a little and waved a hand. “Nothing.”
But the rest of the council heard her and wanted to know. Gabe, who lived with the charming scoundrel, could understand their curiosity. He just wasn’t participating.
He turned his head towards the entrance in time to see Tam Swann coming back down the stairs with a notebook in hand and this look in her eye.
Like she could have fun, if she wanted to.
“Give them back,” Macy sang, a smile plastered to her face.
Tam Swann stopped on the stairs, her mouth curving up, and then—
She held up her arms and did this—this shimmy that started at her shoulders, spent an interesting two seconds on her hips, and rolled down legs. A bump appeared on her thigh, traveling down her jeans’ inside seam to stop at her ankle. She made this hacky-sack kick and caught the keys midair.
Gabe couldn’t blink, much less breathe. So that was how trailer trash got dates.
Not that he had ever wondered.
“Your office or mine?” Tam Swann asked her stupefied case worker.
“Mine,” Macy said in a strangled voice. “Wash those!”
She finished walking down the stairs like a normal person. “Fair enough. Let’s mesh calendars.”
Gabe pushed to his feet and focused on his friends. He did not want to think about it. What kind of girl—? How did she—? And why didn’t she like him? He wasn’t smooth or cool, but he’d had all his shots.
There were people in this world who voluntarily talked to him.
My Review: 

About the Author:
Lex Keating has been engaged in a passionate affair with books ever since the Velveteen Rabbit wanted to be Real. She graduated from a liberal arts college with a BA in literature (Sorry, fries are not available at this window...), and currently resides near Charleston, South Carolina, in a swamp full of barbarians and all their cats. She has been a teacher, a paralegal, a computer programmer, and a hospice caregiver. She currently divides her time between studying old fairy tales and making up new ones 


Giveaway Details: There is a tour wide giveaway. Up for grabs is a print copy of The Silent Swan and some swag!
Giveaway is US only.
Rafflecopter Widget Code:

Rafflecopter Widget Link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjhiNWRhZTZkZTBhNWYxZWY3MjA4N2M1NmVhMDIxOjI3/

author image

Diamond

(aka Dee) has loved reading for as long as she can remember. She loves many things: fantasy novels, young adult fiction, her cat, painting, and horror films from the 70s. Diamond is a grad student at UCLA. She's pursuing a Master's in Library and Information Science.

11 comments :

  1. I'm always on the lookout for new contemporary YA books so I'll be adding this one to my list. Sounds great and I love that you got invested in the characters.
    Also any books that cover adoption or fostering themes are must reads for me so I'm delighted that this is incorporated as well.
    And finally that cover is fab! Love it :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I really think you would enjoy this Trish! I'll recommend it to you on GR. :tup

      Delete
    2. Yes, I think it's my cup of tea :) Will make sure to read it sometime soon.

      Delete
  2. I love the cover and this sounds wonderful Dee, so glad you enjoyed it. I am adding this one to my list!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This sounds like such an amazing book I can't wait to read it! (:

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've seen a similar cover out there before: Two Roads by L.M. Augustine. The story lines between the two also seem pretty similar. Huh.

    Great review, Diamond! <33

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Weird. It kinda bothers me when I see similar covers for multiple books :||

      Delete
  5. I finally am coming over to read your review. :) It was great, btw! It's like eeny meeny miny moe with my books right now. I have like 50 I really want to read and have heard great things about.

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So sweet of you to come and read my review :$ I thought you were gonna read this for the blog tour? Anyway you'd really enjoy it, it's a really cute and delightful story! :tup

      Delete

Leave a comment! We appreciate every single comment!