Customer Reviews for

The Exceptions

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted August 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This is a combination book review for THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE (2

    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.

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    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 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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    One of the best books I've read

    This book was incredible. Highly recommend!

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  • Posted October 2, 2012

    Loved It!

    The Girl She Use To Be was good and this was excellent! I love the overlap with the two stories and seeing it from another persons point of view.

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  • Posted September 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Absolutely hypnotic book! This is one that had me fixed in my r

    Absolutely hypnotic book! This is one that had me fixed in my recliner for the weekend and then when I wasn't, carrying the book around with me to the kitchen and pacing as I craved Italian food and the company of people on the North End of Boston. A rich and sumptuous read. David Cristofano knows his mafia and his art. He also seems to know a lot about the inner workings of the federal government. He's a master writer of the highest caliber.

    All the characters live and breathe in Mr. Cristofano's hands. For instance, protagonist Jonathan Bovaro is no caricature of a mafia don's son, he's the living example of one caught between the "lifestyle" and wanting to be straight. This is a character who exemplifies what it means to love and to be obsessed with wanting to do the right thing. I was spellbound by his sensitive ways, his counterbalance of the dark and light - rage and romance; love and hate; violence and tenderness. David Cristofano takes us through the gamut of emotions in Jonathan Bovaro. His life-long fixation on Melody, the young girl he inadvertently wronged as a child and caused to be held in the Witness Protection Program, is believable and staggering in its heart crushing realism. Melody is also a complex character, a woman whose feelings and situation we can respond to.

    I was set down in a places so readily available by "The Exceptions." The homes, restaurants and streets of NY, NJ and surrounding states were made familiar as the story progressed. The Bovaro territory became real. Cristofano gave the Bovaro home a realism such that I could smell the foods, see the tables set for dinner, hear and see the conversations of the mafia men as they gathered apart from their families at mealtimes, and I could place myself with Johnny as he walked the dimly lit rooms of his own restaurant, hearing dishes clatter and music from Sinatra playing. There is a play in this book on every sense we have: sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch. And on every emotion we can experience.

    David Cristofano is a genius writer able to transport his reader into the heart and soul of his characters. He made me feel as if I were sitting with Jonathan Bovaro over a glass of wine listening to him pour his heart out about his life, his family and the love of his life.

    This is a book I will rank as one I'll never forget. Rich as "The Godfather" in the traditions of the mafia, only written with a better hand and mind. Touching as "I Know This Much Is True," by Wally Lamb. Easily as good as anything Jonathan Franzen has ever written. You can't miss this novel. No loose ends here!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2012

    Love Cristofano's Work!

    The Girl She Used to be captivated me. This one lived up to expectations!

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    Posted September 10, 2012

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    Posted September 28, 2012

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