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The Exceptions Hardcover – August 7, 2012
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The Valley (The Valley Trilogy)
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"Dazzlingly moving, and written in knife-sharp prose, THE EXCEPTIONS shows us how faith can be a weapon against fate, identity can be fluid, and love can be a choice that might save us. THE EXCEPTIONS isn't just exceptional; it's a knockout."
--Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You
"Starts with a bang...a nice twist on the standard Mob thriller."
"Unique premise, empathetic characters, believable villains, all beautifully played out as a tale of the limits of love and loyalty."―Kirkus Reviews
--New York Times Book Review
"Intense...the emotions of a woman caught in Melody's unlikely scenario ring deliciously, scarily true."
"Intense, romantic debut...Cristofano's mad love scenario sizzles like garlic in hot olive oil."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"This is a compulsively readable, skillfully constructed first novel with well-drawn characters and a plot that twists and turns to what seems the best possible conclusion, marking Cristofano as a writer to watch!"
About the Author
THE EXCEPTIONS is his second novel.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
*I was given a free ARC of this book by NetGallery
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There is no possible way to review this book with a couple sentences so please bear with me and read it all.
This book means the world to me!