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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can we ever disappear and start again?
This book has a story that has been so well written with just the right amount of intensity that it pushes it right into the "Wow" factor range. Readers love to talk about when they read the last page and shut the book with a sense of completion as well as loss. This is a story that makes you appreciate greatness and seek it out in other books by David Cristofano. THE...
Published on August 9, 2012 by Mary Gramlich

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm...not sure
I was anxious to read this book as I had really enjoyed The Girl She Used to Be. Sorry It just did not hold my interest.
Published on October 24, 2012 by Mom of 3 cats


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can we ever disappear and start again?, August 9, 2012
By 
This review is from: The Exceptions (Hardcover)
This book has a story that has been so well written with just the right amount of intensity that it pushes it right into the "Wow" factor range. Readers love to talk about when they read the last page and shut the book with a sense of completion as well as loss. This is a story that makes you appreciate greatness and seek it out in other books by David Cristofano. THE EXCEPTIONS gives you the sensation of not just reading words on a page but also a feeling of magic flowing from them as characters reveal all their many faceted sides. David Cristofano gives you something you can talk about but have trouble truly describing; it is that complex and riveting at the same time.

I want to say it is about the mafia, but it really is more about family. I want to say it is about a man that hates violence, yet his dark soul side makes that not true. The statement that is factual and makes it such a great read is the running theme about loving someone so much that you are willing to make the ultimate decision of giving up yourself to save them. The underlying love story that slowly plays out chapter after chapter makes you realize that love may not conquer all but it does help you achieve.

Mr. Cristofano does not exploit the characters feelings as much as he reveals them in the darkest of places while showing that there might be some light in there. It is clearly explained what the men running the mafia are made of, their goals, aspirations, and how their actions affect every single member of society whether you realize it or not. You get the sense everything is black or white in this world, grudges never go away, and vendettas must be carried out.

The violence, while gruesome in detail, is required to make it clear how psychopathic this group is, the depth of their greed and manipulation. There is only one goal set regardless of whom it affects and obtaining it is the only means to a successful end.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, August 30, 2012
This review is from: The Exceptions (Hardcover)
This is a combination book review for THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE (2009) and THE EXCEPTIONS (2012). I've never done one of these duo reviews before, and honestly, probably won't again, but because these books go hand in hand, I feel it's necessary. These two books are not a series, mind you, but more like carbon-copy reflections of each other.

The Girl She Used to Be:
At age six, Melody Grace McCartney witnessed a violent crime, and after her parents testified against an infamous mafia family, they were sent into Witness Protection. Now twenty-six, and all alone in this world, Melody is sick of being invisible, sick of having no emotional attachment to another soul. She's been countless other names and identities, but the person she longs to be is Melody again. When a stranger shows up one night, calling her by her real name and offering a way out, she takes it. Except this man just happens to be one of the members of the crime family her parents risked everything to put away.
I'm not typically a big fan of first-person, but there's no other way to do a book like this and have the same punch. I also have to give the author a lot of credit as a man writing in the female psyche. This story takes you so much deeper than a high-action mystery with other Witness Protection books. This puts you right in that person's shoes, feeling every lonely night, every fear of recognition, and the desperate existence left after doing the right thing. This story takes you to tears, laughter, numbing hopelessness, and daring for happiness in the course of 241 pages. Mostly literature with romantic elements, this is an emotional must read.

The Exceptions:
Jonathon Bovaro grew up the black sheep in a powerful mafia family. The things he's witnessed and lived through can't be measured by average people. But the one thing that haunts him is a six year old little girl whose life he ruined twenty years before. He's spent his life trying to protect Melody in one way or another. But now his family has ordered him to take her out, and he can't do it. So acting as her shield and hinting at a dangerous plan, he finally reveals himself to the woman he's watched from a distance to give her the ultimate gift: Her life back.
Similar to the first book, (instead of Melody's back story, insert Jonathon's), we hear the story all over again, but from Jonathon's perspective. And this time, we get the ending. I thought I'd find myself bored reading about events I already knew about, but I was wrong. Hearing it from Jonathon's side, and the tidbits unknown, was beyond satisfying. And again, there's closure and conclusion in this installment. It's very rare for me to say this, as I've reviewed hundreds of fabulous books in my time, but this book moved me. Dare I say changed me. Heartbreaking, mind-boggling, frustrating, and charismatically honest, I could not put this down to save my life. We get gory insight to organized crime, witness protection, and the justice system. As in the first book, this is literature with romantic elements, and a book not to be missed.

Overall:
Both of these stories are stand alone reads, but I highly suggest reading The Girl She Used to Be first, then The Exceptions. If you must read only one, it should be The Exceptions because you get the whole story, ending and all. Again, read both! There are not enough positive adjectives to throw at these books to give them justice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare sequel that's as good or better than the original, September 6, 2012
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This review is from: The Exceptions (Kindle Edition)
I loved Cristofano's first novel, The Girl She Used to Be. LOVED. IT. So I anxiously waited for The Exceptions to be released. I was expecting this one to pick up where TGSUTB left off. So at first, when the lead male character started back at the beginning (actually before the beginning), I was thrown a bit for a loop. But as I settled in, and was able to learn what was going on in his life and his thoughts, I gained a richer perspective, a completeness to the original story. And the ending was so very satisfying and beautiful.

Others have done a good job describing what this book is about. So I will just add that this is not a mafia story with a romantic element. It is a love story, an achingly real and honest look at two flawed people who find each other, and a love that will stay with you long after the final page is turned.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars and now we get John, August 7, 2012
This review is from: The Exceptions (Kindle Edition)
In The Girl She Used To Be we get to hear Melody's story now in the follow up The Exceptions we get Johnny's side. What can I say the second I started reading David Cristofano had me hooked I loved his writing style and immediately fell in love with 10 year old Johnny when he first see's Melody. Melody has been put in witness protection program with her mother and father for seeing a crime commited by Johnny's father. Since then Johnathan has only wanted to protect her while his family has only wanted "no loose ends". This book has great twist and turns that I didn't see coming. I love a good mob story and I'm a sucker for a good romance throw in the witness program and all the twist and turn a gret HEA and you've got a great story.
*I was given a free ARC of this book by NetGallery
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great book! A must read for EVERYONE!, January 13, 2013
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This review is from: The Exceptions (Hardcover)
Who could have imagined "The Girl She Used To Be" could have been told so well from the perspective of the mobster? The original story was compelling in and of itself; the sequel surpassed it. You don't see that happen too often. The details of Melody and Jonathan's relationship are so well developed, it truly is hard to put this book down. The writing style of The Exceptions is, well, EXCEPTIONAL! It's hard to believe that this is only the second book written by Mr. Cristofano. The literary community would benefit from more of his works!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cristofano has Created a Dark and Exceptional Anti-Hero, October 26, 2012
By 
Bookreporter (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Exceptions (Hardcover)
David Cristofano's THE EXCEPTIONS is much more than a fine sophomore effort. His debut novel, THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE, won critical accolades that included an Edgar Award nomination. It told the story of a young lady named Melody Grace McCartney who, at six years of age and in the company of her parents, wandered into the wrong place at the wrong time and inadvertently witnessed an act of unspeakable violence. That incident resulted in Melody and her parents being placed in the Federal Witness Protection Program and changing locales and names the way other families change jobs and cars. Melody's parents ultimately lost their lives as the result of a monumental error, but Melody continued in the program, fashioning a life under a series of different identities until a mysterious young man approached her and offered her a different choice.

THE EXCEPTIONS shows a different version of those events. It was Jonathan Bovaro's father, a crime lord, who committed the violent act that Melody and her parents witnessed, and it was Jonathan who, as a young boy, saw the family flee the scene of the incident and provide the identification that ultimately enabled his family to trace Melody and her family, and thus place them in mortal danger over the course of decades. Yet it is Jonathan who has been haunted by Melody's face --- her very existence --- across the years that stretch from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. Jonathan is aware of one simple truth: if he had kept his silence on that fateful Sunday morning when his father committed the heinous crime that was witnessed by the McCartneys, Melody's parents would be alive and she never would have been placed in danger. What Jonathan resolves, not by words so much as by actions, is that he will protect her even as he ironically becomes her pursuer.

However, something has to give at some point. And Jonathan is not an angel by any means. He jockeys for position within his crime family and, in most cases, does that which is expected of him. There is but this one assignment --- Melody --- that can never be completed. What Cristofano has done is create a dark and exceptional anti-hero, one whose actions in general can be neither excused nor condoned, yet who has a core of decency, however small, that may in the end save his soul. Or not.

THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE and THE EXCEPTIONS are complete in and of themselves, yet almost demand to be read together. The former is probably best read first --- following the order in which Cristofano wrote the books --- with the latter being read immediately afterward. If it's THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE that tugs you into the occasionally violent story of this erstwhile love affair, it's THE EXCEPTIONS that lifts and removes the occasional veil behind the parts of the story not related in THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE. Reading either, though, will whet your appetite for the other, as well as for future efforts by this extremely talented author.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT., January 11, 2013
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This review is from: The Exceptions (Hardcover)
The characters never have sex in the book BUT it is a fantastic and passionate romance. I will put it on my read again and again list.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best, January 5, 2013
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This review is from: The Exceptions (Kindle Edition)
This story is both the excellent supplement and continuation of the first Cristofano's book, 'The girl she used to be'. This time we hear the story from Jonathan's point of view. After reading the first novel, I had a feeling of insufficiency. Now I feel contented. Cannot wait for another book by this author!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ~The Exceptions, November 3, 2012
This review is from: The Exceptions (Kindle Edition)
The Exceptions is the follow up to Mr. Cristofano's award winning The Girl She Used To Be. These two books do not have to be read in any particular order, but once you read one you absolutely have to pick up the other. The stunning characterization of Jonathan, as a man tortured by a childhood mistake, with the desire to be more than his family name, resonates with vivid emotion. This complex story will grip your heart and twist you inside out as it draws to a fantastic conclusion.

Kaitlin
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic !, September 3, 2012
This review is from: The Exceptions (Hardcover)
From the first page I read ,I was obsessed with the story.I even took it with me on my vacation.Mafia life from the small boy point of view and as he is growing up.Love story at it`s best !All I have to say WOW ...I really loved it !It does have a moments of violence in this book...its a mafia life ! It's everything you imagine a great fiction should be. I was not prepared for the wonderful story!It's close to 400 pages, and all 400 are full of story and excitement.Fantastic ! Enjoy reading !
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The Exceptions
The Exceptions by David Cristofano (Hardcover - August 7, 2012)
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