The Swallows

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 14 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

This book is set over a very eventful year at a private boarding school, told from the perspective of several different faculty members and students. During the year, in part due to the inspiration of a new teacher at the school, the girls at the school become fed up with the gross sexist quasi-secret website the popular male students maintain (including rating the female students on their oral sex prowess), and decide to stand up for themselves and take revenge. For some reason, even though I went to public school, I love novels set at boarding schools, and this was definitely a good one. It combines the snarky quality of Lisa Lutz's Spellman Files series with some of the darker aspects of her thriller "The Passenger" for a very interesting combination of light and dark, and the teenage spin on the "me too" era was fascinating, both dispiriting at times as well as inspiring. The last paragraph of the book seriously gave me goosebumps. 4.25 stars.
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I liked the characters but the blow job premise was a bit heavy handed and not my most favorite plot point.
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Very different subject line in this novel. Many different characters and personalities at this boarding school, both students as well as staff. What the girls discover is quite unbelievable. How they go about to rectify this situation makes for an interesting read. You will certainly want to read to the end to discover how this situation works out for all concerned parties.
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Tensions are high in Lisa Lutz's new novel. Alex Witt takes a job teaching creative writing at an expensive Vermont boarding school because her family's friendship with the Headmaster means her recent past won't be looked into, but finds that her secrets pale in comparison to the ones the boys are keeping. And once the girls start to figure things out, it might just take down the entire school. 

This is the kind of book where it's important to start reading early enough in the day that you won't end up losing a night's sleep while you race to finish it. It's a novel filled with rage that runs head first towards catastrophe. It has characters that are believable and who breathe and live and make amazingly poor choices. This novel is what would be written if Curtis Sittenfield and Gillian Flynn collaborated. It's just a lot of hard-edged fun.
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The Swallows takes on gender roles and tackles them in a prep school setting. New teacher Ms. Witt realizes something unsavory is going on and wants to help put an end to it. The Swallows starts out incredibly strong and had me hooked instantly. Unfortunately, around the middle my interest started to wane and the plot started to lose me. There a few different perspectives in this one which keep the pages turning but could have probably done with 100 less pages somewhere in the middle.
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The Swallows by Lisa Lutz is a recommended social drama set in 2009 at a New England prep school.

Alexandra Witt joins the faculty as an English teacher at Stonebridge Academy. When Alex is assigned creative writing classes, she bulks, but takes it on after getting a few concessions she wants. In an assignment she asks students to answer several simple questions and turn then in anonymously. She knows this will mean some insight into her students and she also knows she will be able to figure out who turn in the papers. The papers result in some disturbing responses and Alex is determined to figure out how deeply entrenched the "boys will be boys" attitude is, who knows about it, and how long it has been going on at the school. As she points out, "Stonebridge may look like Green Gables, but it’s the Bada Bing Club for the preppy set." Starting at a new school is never easy, but Alex seems to be facing an unknown nemesis... or two.

A student, Gemma Russo, is determined to fight back against the boys, and the online Darkroom where they humiliate the girls, rate them, and score a secret competition between them. She's been planning her attack for years, but now she's gaining allies, including a first-year student named Linny, and discreet help from Alex. Gemma and her allies are planning to end the misogynistic culture prevalent at Stonebridge. 

This is a well written social drama that captures the long pervasive attitude that sparked the "MeToo" movement. It really isn't a mystery, as the mystery part of the drama isn't really a mystery at all. It is easy to figure out where the plot is going and what the end game will likely entail. The narrative is told through multiple points-of-view, both teachers and students. The boarding school setting and the narrative through several students point-of-view, gives The Swallows a YA feel, although perhaps targeting an older YA audience. There is a chart Alex writes, and then her mom edits, that is a wonderful addition to the book and should be shared.

The main female characters are complex and well developed, however many of the male characters are more simplistic caricatures of badly-behaving males and thus less realistic. There is also a small handful of students and teachers in the novel when there are surely more teachers and students around. It was also stretching believably that the secret would be kept by so many students and that the teachers would be allowing the boys to do what they were doing. The Swallows isn't quite as good as Lutz's The Passenger, but would be better enjoyed by an older YA audience.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.
http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2019/08/the-swallows.html
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2942327872
https://www.librarything.com/work/23163052/book/172299185
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I loved The Spellman series and because of it requested this book. It’s so different from that. The description seemed like young adult mystery, however it definitely was not young adult. Overall, the story played out like I thought it would. It wasn’t the best book by the author, but I might wait for more reviews next time before requesting something from her.
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At first I thought this was going to be a "school" story, but it became something so much more.  It had some Lysistrata overtones, but in reverse, which I thought would be exciting.  But in the ending was very simplistic and in trying to tie up all the loose ends, I think the lessons were lost.  While the idea of using different narrators for different perspectives was interesting, even after finishing the book, I don't know who the winners and losers were...
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The Swallows is Lisa Lutz latest book.  It is set at an elite boarding school and is about the female students resistance to the old school boys will be boys happenings on campus that have been overlooked and swept under the rug for many years..  For some reason I was thinking this was going to be a thriller but I can't really say what the genre actually is.   This book was a bit of a struggle for me to finish although I did finish it.  I thank the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book but i'm sorry - i just can't recommend it.
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I have been a huge fan of Lisa Lutz's books since the Spellman Files series and I was excited to have received an eARC of her newest novel The Swallows.  Again she writes an engaging story with many varied types of characters, this time set in a boarding school for high school age children
 Eventhough the story revolves around a high school, it is a book that can be enjoyed by various age groups and transcends various genders.
Everyone needs to read at least one of Lisa Lutz's books, and The Swallows is a great place to begin.
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This book sucked me in from the first chapter, although I feel like some of the plot doesn't hold up to close scrutiny. A great book for the #metoo era.
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5/5 Stars.
The boys at Stoneridge prep school have created their own discussion board, the Darkroom, and they have a "contest" that the girls are unwitting (mostly) participants in. One of the girls has figured it out and she's furious about it. It isn't until Alex Witt arrives to teach at the school that something changes and the girls go from fuming to acting, with dangerous, destructive consequences for everyone involved.
There was just enough dark humor in this book to keep me from becoming completely enraged while reading it. The boys' behavior is beyond disgusting, dehumanizing the girls with their sick game of sexual conquest. But in the end the girls, in their fury, lose a measure of their humanity as their rage consumes them. I went from cheering them on to being afraid of how they'd handle the consequences of their actions. All in all a very timely read. Lutz handles a difficult subject very well, with just the right amount of dark humor to keep you going but not to trivialize the subject.
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I absolutely could not get into this book. I couldn't connect with the characters or get into the storyline. Because I didn't finish it, I won't post reviews online. Thank you for the opportunity.
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Set in a boarding school in New England, The Swallows gives Lord of the Flies a real run for the money.  While the boys run a secret sexual competition, scoring the girls who unknowingly participate, the girls plot to take the whole thing down and get revenge. None of this is going to end well.....
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I struggled with this book. A very serious topic was dealt with in such a quirky fashion that it felt like it was belittling the problem it was trying to address. Characters were very one dimensional and there was minimal growth through the course of the book. The lackadaisical attitudes of many of the staff members and absence of serious fall-out after everything came to light made it even more unbelievable and farcical. To top it off, I am not sure what the target audience was. I wouldn't let a tween or young teen read this, yet the writing was too juvenile for a grown up. I fear Ms. Lutz wasn't sure where to take this one.
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This is the first book by Lisa Lutz that I have read, but it will hopefully not be the last.  It's a tough book to quantify.  It felt YA to me.  Alex Witt gets a job as a creative writing teacher at Stonebridge Academy, a high school, co-ed boarding school.  The dean is a friend of her parents and he hires her despite the cloud she's nuder from how she left her previous teaching position.  As you can read in the publisher's description of the book, every class has a group called The Ten.  These are the elite kids that make a lots of rules for everyone else.  The males of The Ten run something called The Darkroom.  As the secrets of the Darkroom become less secret, the females of the campus get mad and want to take action.  The chapters rotate through different narrators, including Alex Witt, Gemma (a senior), Norman (another student), and Mr. Ford (another teacher).  I really enjoyed the author's voice and how she gave each character a different lens from which to view the same events.  I enjoyed the dialogue, the story, and the action.  It seemed larger than life, and I could easily see it as a movie with some comedic undertones because of how extreme some of the actions/reactions are.  I enjoyed it.  

Thanks to NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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The Swallows by Lisa Lutz reveals yet another aspect of the author's excellent writing ability.  She has shown her ability to write humor (The Spellman Files) and a thriller (The Passenger) and now a mystery set in a preppy boarding schools in which the students call the shots, utilizing several first person narrators.  
The narration itself is very engaging, each of the characters is believable and is written with depth.  I also like the pace of the plot, in some instances a character will retell part of the story to provide another perspective, and in other, the plot jumps ahead, and this keeps the reader guessing.
The unique aspect of this book is that the author, in my opinion, does great justice to the teenage characters.  They are flawed individuals, with backgrounds that make their actions in this novel believable.  Too many depictions of teenagers outside of YA novels depend solely on stereotypes, but I didn't find that to be the case in this book.
Although I was hoping for more of a shock at the ending, the book does come to a natural conclusion and I enjoyed this very much.
Thank you to Random House and Netgalley for an advance copy in return for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed this book. It came off a bit YA’ish but I was ok with that. It gave me a little bit of everything dark, funny & fast pace. It kept my attention. I would red more from this author.  

Thank you Random House for the gifted copy!
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THE SWALLOWS by Lisa Lutz is SUCH a fun book, despite the very dark and troubling story elements. It is a revenge fantasy, one that perhaps should not be taken too seriously, but totally worth a read regardless. Alex Witt starts at Stonebridge Boarding School as an unwilling creative writing teacher who quickly learns that there is a divide without the student body: boys vs. girls which results in an all out gender war. The plot is fast paced, mysterious, and sometimes shocking. 

I always love books set at schools and this one is no exception. It even includes a map of campus! *heart eyes* The school's characters are rich and well developed, and I truly feel for the girls who band together to get revenge on the boys of the school who are seeped in secret misogyny and terror. I read this book in two days, without wanting to put it down. It really is that good and I'm assuming will stay with me for awhile. 

Thank you Penguin Random House for the gifted copy!
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The Swallows is a timely read for issues that teenagers deal with.  It is set in a private school filled with teenage drama.  The book is at times humorous and other times heartbreaking to think about what teenagers incur.  Some issues are far out but managed to keep my interest.
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