1 Sept 2019


Book Review / The Swallows by Lisa Lutz

A new teacher at a New England prep school ignites a gender war--with deadly consequences--in a provocative novel from the bestselling author of The Passenger and the Spellman Files series.

What do you love? What do you hate? What do you want?

It starts with this simple writing prompt from Alex Witt, Stonebridge Academy's new creative writing teacher. When the students' answers raise disturbing questions of their own, Ms. Witt knows there's more going on the school than the faculty wants to see. She soon learns about The Ten--the students at the top of the school's social hierarchy--as well as their connection to something called The Darkroom.

Ms. Witt can't remain a passive observer. She finds the few girls who've started to question the school's "boys will be boys" attitude and incites a resistance that quickly becomes a movement. But just as it gains momentum, she also attracts the attention of an unknown enemy who knows a little too much about her--including what brought her to Stonebridge in the first place.

Meanwhile, Gemma, a defiant senior, has been plotting her attack for years, waiting for the right moment. Shy loner Norman hates his role in the Darkroom, but can't find the courage to fight back until he makes an unlikely alliance. And then there's Finn Ford, an English teacher with a shady reputation who keeps one eye on his literary ambitions and one on Ms. Witt.

As the school's secrets begin to trickle out, a boys-versus-girls skirmish turns into an all-out war, with deeply personal--and potentially fatal--consequences for everyone involved. Lisa Lutz's blistering, timely tale shows us what can happen when silence wins out over decency for too long--and why the scariest threat of all might be the idea that sooner or later, girls will be girls.

Published:     10th September 2019
Publisher:  Titan Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


Now this was an interesting read.  On the one hand, I enjoyed the story and on the other hand there were certain aspects that made me feel very uncomfortable.

We follow Alexandra Witt as she joins Stonebridge Academy as a teacher.  Like many of other people at the Academy, she has a past.  Although this past may come back to bite her at some point in this story it is not the main focus of the story.  The main focus of the story is the boys versus girls mentality with the students.  You have the boys who seem to rule and most of the girls trying to do everything they can to get in the good books of the boys.   Alex along with a few other students start to rebel and then that is when the true story starts.

What I liked about this story was the portrayal that everything is not always what it seemed and despite the fact that there is something truly wrong with the Academy all is not lost.  There is always something that could be done to put things right, despite doing the right thing means that you have to do a wrong thing first.

What made me uncomfortable about this books is the content.  The fact that the boys are basically viewing the girls as their 'play things' for sex and blow jobs and scoring them in a secret website.   This type of content always makes me unfortunately for obvious reasons.  How old are the students, for example.  Are they of consenting age? I was not completely sure in this story as it seems that most of them are only just of age.

That said, I really enjoyed the writing and the pacing of the story and will certainly look into picking up more from this author.