Publication Date: January 20, 2015 by Simon and Schuster
Genre: Young Adult Coming of Age
[Special thanks to Simon and Schuster and Edelweiss for the review copy!]
A debut, coming-of-age novel in which a teenage girl from Philadelphia leaves her old life behind to become The Sweetheart, one of America’s most infamous female wrestlers.
It’s 1953 and seventeen-year-old Leonie Putzkammer is cartoonishly tall and curvaceous, destined to spend the rest of her life waiting tables and living with her widowed father, Franz, in their Philadelphia row house. Until the day legendary wrestling promoter Salvatore Costantini walks into the local diner and offers her the chance of a lifetime.
Leonie sets off for Florida to train at Joe Pospisil’s School for Lady Grappling. There, she transforms into Gorgeous Gwen Davies, tag-team partner of legendary Screaming Mimi Hollander, and begins a romance with the soon-to-be Junior Heavyweight Champion Spider McGee. But when life as Gorgeous Gwen leaves her wanting, she orchestrates a move that will catapult her from heel to hero: she becomes The Sweetheart, a choice that attracts the fans she desires but complicates all of her relationships with Franz, Joe, Spider, Mimi (who becomes her fiercest competitor), and even with herself.
Angelina Mirabella’s surprising, affecting, and morally complex novel describes how a single decision can ripple through the lives of everyone around us. How Leonie sizes up the competition, how she triumphs, how she fails, and how she manages, somehow, to endure, holds promise: if she can, maybe we can, too. The Sweetheart showcases Mirabella’s breathtaking talent; it is daring, innovative, and powerful storytelling.
Bibliophile Soprano’s first DNF (I know, and I’m sorry…)
The Sweetheart is written in an odd way–the kind that makes you think you’re the main character. I stumbled upon a review on Goodreads, one that best explains the POV of the book. Let me quote that part:
Most novels have one of the following types of narrative: third person, past tense; first person, past tense; third person, present tense; first person, present tense. This had a new one that I’ve never ran into before and hope to never run into again. The YOU person, present tense.
-Tara Chevrestt, Goodreads User
Tara’s full review is on her blog. (Click here to read it!)
The book’s POV (except for the prologue and the epilogue–you will know why when you read it) added to the unique factor, but the story, at 25%, is not that interesting yet.
The concept is very new to me. I’ve never read a book like this before, and I know very little about wrestling. At first, I read it slowly, trying to understand the story, trying to appreciate the wrestling stuff. I smiled when it was revealed how Gwen Davies got her name, because I looked forward to what would happen next. At 25%, I felt that the book was not as interesting but not as boring. I continued reading because I was curious, and I don’t want to DNF my second read of the year. In fact, I don’t want to DNF any book at all. But, yeah, let’s just continue with my reading experience.
At 50%, I felt that The Sweetheart is just like The Age of Miracles–except that 1) I didn’t have high expectations for The Sweetheart and 2) I didn’t DNF The Age of Miracles. (Click here to read my review for The Age of Miracles)
Maybe I read it at the wrong time, maybe I wasn’t really in the mood for reading, but maybe I’m just so reluctant to say that I’m disappointed with this book.
The idea is great, and I enjoyed the first chapters, but as I continued reading, I found the book to be dragging and I don’t know why.
-An excerpt of my review for The Age of Miracles
Maybe it’s because I’m too excited for January 13, the day when I’m going to read All the Bright Places–today is the 10th, I just scheduled this post. Maybe that’s why I wanted to finish reading The Sweetheart right away. But in my attempt to do so, I lost interest in the book.
Just like what I want to do with The Age of Miracles, I want to reread this book, someday.
Maybe the time would be right, and maybe things would change. Because I honestly feel that there’s more to this book than the first time I read it.
-Another excerpt from my review of The Age of Miracles
I would love to quote some parts from the book. There were really good quotes, but since this is an ARC, I can’t quote those parts that had the potential to save the book from my DNF shelf. They had the potential, but I guess they weren’t enough.
Let us look at the bright side of things…
One, this book is indeed, a story that you might have never read before. If you want to take a break from the usual kinds of books that you read, give this book a try.
Two, this book will make you wonder about the world of wrestling–particularly lady wrestling. You will get the chance to see what happens before and after a match, what’s real and what’s for show, and you’re going to learn about the kinds of lady wrestlers. If you like wrestling, you might want to consider adding this book to your reading list.
Three, the value of home and family stood out in the book. I am deeply glad that it had depth in it, and that made me want to reread this book even more. Especially because when I finally decided to stop reading at 60 something percent. I went straight for the epilogue, and friends, I was shocked. Wow. A big plot twist right there, at the first sentence of the epilogue. Upon reading that, I went back to the prologue and things made perfect sense. How come I didn’t notice those details? Suddenly, I had a lot of questions in mind. What changed? Why? What about this and that? What happened to the last 40 something percent of the book? I’d love to know, someday.
Normally, I rate DNFs. My ratings were based on what I have read so far. But no, I’m not going to rate The Sweetheart. I won’t rate it because I believe that it has more to it than what I have read so far.
Every book deserves a second chance, I just don’t know when I’ll get to read The Sweetheart again.
That would be all, for now. Good day, bookish friends.