Cover Image: The Swallows

The Swallows

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this book a lot. The characters were clever and engaging, and getting to spend time with them was a treat. I liked the writing too - it was descriptive without ever veering into flowery territory, and I would certainly be interested in reading more work by this author. The cover is great too!
Was this review helpful?
Disclaimer: I received an arc of this book in exchange of an honest review.


Okay so I actually finished this book about two weeks ago but had such a hard time figuring out how to review it that I've kept putting it off... 😬😬 ESPECIALLY after I came on to Goodreads and saw all the positive reviews! It sucks feeling like the odd one out but I have to be honest so here it goes.

While I consider myself a feminist and appreciate some of the stands this book took, overall it was such a boring, slow, mess with constant dribble and fluff. It was hard for me to get into it at first, then I was completely glued, and then soon after I was turning page after page just hoping for my release from reading it. 

I almost felt like the author was trying too hard to be taboo and push an issue than to actually address it. It felt more like a shock value than someone who actually cared and took consideration with their subject. It was like reading an afternoon special slash soap opera slash Riverdale plot. 

There were a ton of characters that were hard to keep straight of but that's probably because they all felt like one person. None of them had unique voices - they a felt the same and if they hadn't told you who was who at the start you wouldn't be able to tell them apart. 

The books plot was a bit muddled as well because there was somehow too much going on and also not enough. It was way longer than necessary because the entire book felt like fluff and filler. 

So, yeah, I didn't get it I guess. There wasn't one positive I could even draw from it. I'd skip it and never look back. Runnnn
Was this review helpful?
This book is a change for Ms. Lutz. Her earlier novels dealt with the relationship among the Spellman family. Her two novels (How To Start A Fire and The Passenger) prior to The Swallows have dealt with the relationship among women. This novel adds a new dimension: Women who will take on men when the women decide they can’t win a fair fight. I recommend this book. It is a fun, dark read.
Was this review helpful?
I love the feminism genre, especially revenge stories. However...while the premise is interesting, the execution fell short.

The Swallows is set in a New England prep school, where an elite few run a secret club called The Darkroom, which has been around for generations. To summarize: boys prey on and sexually exploit girls, unbeknownst to the girls they are entered into a competition with a rating/comment system and everything, when a girl finds out and tries to take action they are publicly exposed and silenced, and some people decide to build a resistance by holding a sort of coup d'état to stop this once and for all.

I love the vibe, I do, but overall I suppose I feel that most of the writing focused too much on unimportant detail and detracted from the plot, resulting in a weak message and story.

I had several issues while reading, which made this not very enjoyable. There are a zillion characters to keep track of, most of which are not even fundamental to the story in any meaningful way. The chapters are divided into a split perspective between a portion of said zillion characters, which is something I personally find annoying, and also contributed as one of the reasons the plot dragged. The split perspective between age groups was jarring, and I'm confused on whether this was targeted towards adults or young adults.

I began skimming a few chapters in, stopping to take more time to read certain sections and POV's, however the writing lacked focus and I never felt invested. The build up wasn't very interesting and I didn't connect with the characters or their dull subplots. The ending was eh. I don't know if it was just me not connecting with the writing style or what, but I'm a bit bummed that I didn't really enjoy this when I had expected to.

Alex and Gemma were my favorite, but I feel that they could have done without so much of the fluff and would have come off as stronger characters if they had zeroed in on the main point. I loved the female empowerment, the Blowchart was awesome, and the last few paragraphs were written so thought-provoking and tugged at the heartstrings. I also appreciate the brutally honest exposure of "normalized" sexual abuse that women are subjugated to represented here, that most usually gloss over in discomfort.

If the premise sounds interesting then give it a try, you may enjoy this writing style more than I did.
Was this review helpful?
I’ve been a fan of author Lisa Lutz since I was introduced to her “Spellman” series. “The Swallows” didn’t disappoint. I really enjoyed the different perspectives from each character and how the story progressed through each viewpoint. Highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
Lisa Lutz’s blistering, timely tale of revenge and disruption shows us what can happen when silence wins out over decency for too long.

I enjoyed this book. It got a little murky at times with so many characters and story lines.  It is the tale of an elite private school rule by the illustrious ten. They rule the school. What a lot of the girls don’t know Is that the boys have a secret called the darkroom. They score the girls on their looks, assets and ability to give blow jobs.

Gemma is tired of all of it. She wants to bring the darkroom and all involved down. She has a plan. Can she get the other girls to join her??
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced copy of The Swallows. I had high hopes for this one because this is usually the kind of book I love. I enjoy this author but unfortunately, this one left me baffled. I first struggled as it seemed closer to a young adult novel, but with topics and adult narrators that seemed to fit better in an adult novel. I got a bit tired of trying to keep up with all the many characters, too many characters for sure. And while I appreciated the efforts to put a stop to the abusive environment at the school, I was sickened that the adults turned a blind eye to it all. Good grief, I got pretty tired of hearing about blow jobs even though there were a few humorous moments that made me smile. It’s not a book I will forget just because of the subject matter, but overall, it was just okay.
Was this review helpful?
Loved this book. It certainly had an interesting take on private colleges and the professors. If you are a fan of books that direct their attention to a more feminist viewpoint then you will likely be intrigued by this book.

Without giving away the plot , the story focuses on ten of the in crowd kids along with some of the staff and their reactions to something similar to a burn book. When the girls discover the internet database that scores their particular...talent..the girls take revenge.

Like any other revenge and turn the tables story things go haywire and not as planned. Pretty decent read. I enjoyed it and the characters were well written.
Was this review helpful?
What happens when society continues to sweep under the rug the discreet overindulgences of priveleged boys?

The Swallows explores young naive girls who routinely subject themselves to dropping to their knees to perform oral sex for said priveleged hormonal boys who then rate the girls' performances and announce a winner, all while the girls are kept in the dark (literally) about this little game. 

The creepy part? It all takes place at a boarding school where the staff seem to know exactly what's happening under their noses, yet have done nothing.

When a new teacher stumbles across this 'tradition' and cannot turn a blind eye to it, she encourages past participants to stand up for themselves in an almost 'metoo' movement.

A little underwhelming of a read, but interesting all the same.
Was this review helpful?
Oo y’all definitely a creepy read! I definitely was impressed with this storyline right off the bat. I loved the characters and recommend this to others!
Was this review helpful?
The Swallows by Lisa Lutz is a well done novel that captures the spirit of young well to do students at a boarding school along with complicated adults that teach them. As it alternates voices between male and female students and male and female adults you get a complete picture of the world making up Stonebridge Academy. There was a lot of food for thought about the sex lives of teenagers and how it can be twisted into creating victors and victims. 
I loved Miss Witt and her battling divorced parents with their strong personalities. And I really felt for some of the students who are trapped on this campus and in their roles and have to figure out a way to come out on top somehow. 
There are some serious issues so this isn’t a light hearted romp but it does have a good sense of humor and although the tensions between the sexes end in a series of deadly conclusions the reader isn’t left gloomy and depressed.
Was this review helpful?
Disclaimer: I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and the publishing company. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Swallows

Author: Lisa Lutz

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 1/5

Publication Date: August 13, 2019

Genre: Fantasy

Recommended Age: can’t recommend, dnf-ed

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Pages: 399

Amazon Link

Synopsis: A new teacher at a New England prep school ignites a gender war--with deadly consequences.

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.

Review: Another book I had to DNF. I’ve had this on my TBR for awhile and I was anticipating it, but in the end I couldn’t connect with the story or the characters. From what I did read (about 36%) I did like the writing but the plot had no point in my opinion. I just felt like we were talking circles and writing for the sake of writing, not for the sake of telling a story. 

Verdict: Not for me, but maybe for you.
Was this review helpful?
Started this book on audio, then had to return it. Reading and listening were slightly different experiences because the audio couldn't do justice to the charts and texts. Lutz is really good at creating distinctive characters and this wasn't a pat revenge story. There was just the right amount of humor.
Was this review helpful?
Lisa Lutz  is an author who never fails to drew me into her novels.Her latest taking place on a campus characters so well drawn. So involving.Up to date issues funny smart vicious all words to describe this clever novel.#net galley#randomhouse
Was this review helpful?
Let me begin by saying I am a huge Lisa Lutz fan, so I was extremely eager to get the chance to read an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. So, here it goes...I did not read any reviews of this book in fear of spoilers, therefore, I had no idea what it was about and I was pleasantly surprised! The book is set at a private boarding school where it seems that everyone has a secret they are trying to keep (student and teacher alike). The book takes place over the course of an academic school year. This book is a nice reprieve from the usual “boys will be boys” mindset - at this school that concept doesn’t fly for long with the girls. There is much teen angst, mismatched romances, secret societies, etc.  The author kept me engaged from the beginning to the end.  I really like Lisa Lutz’s writing style, it’s clean and easy to follow.
Was this review helpful?
When Alexandra Witt joins the faculty at Stonebridge Academy, she’s hoping to put a painful past behind her. Then one of her creative writing assignments generates some disturbing responses from students. Before long, Alex is immersed in an investigation of the students atop the school’s social hierarchy—and their connection to something called the Darkroom. She soon inspires the girls who’ve started to question the school’s “boys will be boys” attitude and incites a resistance. But just as the movement is gaining momentum, Alex attracts the attention of an unknown enemy who knows a little too much about her—and 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.

“The Swallows is fast-moving, darkly humorous and at times shockingly vicious. The battle of the sexes within its pages couldn’t be more compelling, but sometimes our choices and eagerness to take revenge may due to deadly consequences. A novel that may you think that sometimes things can be out of control.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for the opportunity to read this book. A full review will be posted on Amazon and Goodreads
Was this review helpful?
It was bad enough having to go to high school without having to read about high school. I didn’t stick around the book long enough to find out who winds up dead. The book jumped around among an unreasonable number of characters. I wanted all of them to be dead. Obviously, this book was not for me and I abandoned it at 25%. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
Was this review helpful?
This is my first Lisa Lutz book and I really enjoyed it. The academic setting worked really well, however I wish the characters were more developed. I wanted to like the main character, but she just seemed like a brat. An unreliable narrator works well here, but I would have liked more detail on each character.
Was this review helpful?
I am something of a sucker for mysteries with an academic setting, and this one was particularly enjoyable. It captured the claustrophobic world of high school, with its cut-throat competitiveness and its bizarre hierarchies. The individual voices of those telling the story were well done, and distinctive, and Lutz kept the suspense simmering at just the right degree until the finale.
Was this review helpful?