Cover Image: Swallow


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Member Reviews

Scheduled to post 9/4/21.

Where did I stop? 23% in

Why? It was just repetitive. It was really hammering home just how bullied Mildred was (and with a last name like Waco, you already know what's coming), which was awful, but it looks like the author forgot to give her a personality beyond that. The only thing that defined Mildred was that she was a punching bag for other people. She didn't seem to have anything for herself, anything that she liked, anything that she enjoyed. She was very one dimensional. Since the story was taking its time getting to the point, and I really wasn't enjoying the characters, not to mention the bullying felt really outdated, like this book should have been set in the 90s, I just didn't see a point in continuing to read. I wasn't enjoying it nearly enough to do that.
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I really enjoyed this book. It was a fast read for me, and I was interested in the different points of views from each different character.
I just don’t think it was realistic at all. Everything was over the top, but sometimes that’s good to read. Kind of refreshing, in a way.

Netgalley gave me a free copy of the book in exchange for a review.
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3.5 stars

The appreciation for 90s horror is clear. 

With a character like Mildred- who is introduced as the most hated and pitiful character I've been introduced to- we can't help but want her to stand up for herself. Her bullies are cartoonishly evil and cruel, so we begin rooting for her after her first kill. 

Her descent into a murder spree and supernatural, cannibalistic chaos is something I couldn't look away from. It was wild and primal. 

At one point, the story felt muddied with constant character introductions and subplots that were difficult to keep track of. The story also felt a bit too fast-paced, never giving the reader time to breathe or process the previous bloody murder. At one point, I realized we didn't know who Mildred was beyond the death and carnage as there wasn't much to be introduced to before the chaos began. Patsy was even more of a mystery with her very brief character introduction. 

The ending felt predictable but overall, it was a quick and entertaining read filled with gore, vengeance, and high school drama cranked up to 11.

CW: fat-shaming + unhealthy relationship with food, bullying, murder, cannibalism, reference to household abuse, parental neglect
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This is the kind of YA horror I can get behind. It was very cheesy, but it was almost so bad that it was good at the same time. The main character Mildred is relatable to a certain extent about her getting bullied and the hardships she has to face as a teenage girl. Her getting revenge and not caring about what she has to do to get it made me want to root for her. Overall I don't really like the cover, and the writing can be a little much at times with the dramatic of the main character.
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I received this book from in exchange for a honest review. 

What first intrigued me about this book was the cover. I didn't quite understand what the cover was about regarding the plot. I also was interested in the first line of the description on NetGalley: 
Revenge is a dish best served cold. 
The book's main character is Mildred. Mildred is disliked by EVERYONE at her high school; Roanoke High School. Her parents are absent from her life a lot seeing that they are geologists and are traveling a lot for work. When they are around, her mother nitpicks her weight and makes her eat grapefruit for breakfast, (hence the fruit on the cover). The popular clique are Millie's main bullies. They call her names and belittle her. 

Her parents leave for a business trip to Hawaii and is left alone at home. After coming home to an empty house, Millie decides that night that she's had enough. She starts looking online for how to get back at your bullies and a site pops up for Crossroads Magicks, an occult shop in Roanoke. Millie decides to take her moped and drive to the shop. She goes into the store and she begs the owner of the store to help her get revenge by any means possible. So the "owner", (I say owner  in quotes because she is really a witch) of the store performs a spell on Millie that involves Snake's blood and other various items that I certainly wouldn't want to ingest. 

After her trip to the Magicks shop is when things start to get interesting... Interesting but campy. I won't go much further into the details of the book so I can avoid spoilers, but know there are demons that *may* come scoop up dead bodies and possess a teenager. As much as the dark magic and witchcraft plays into this book, it gave me serious Jennifer's Body vibes. If you don't know that movie, please go look it up. 

I know this is fictional but it was kind of unrealistic. Not saying that a teen can't pay for some creepy spell in an equally as creepy occult shop with mommy and daddy's money... but I think overall it wasn't super believable. However, playing Devil's Advocate here, as much as it was campy, it was still an enjoyable read. It definitely lived up to the revenge seeking plot that was best served cold. These death scenes, and there is murder and blood in the plot (you've been CW) aren't anything short of cold-blooded. If you can't handle dismemberment, then this book might not be for you. Although the dismemberment and death scenes are straight out of a cheesy 80's slasher film but with demons. Like how did NO ONE see that coming? 

I do think this is a good book. Campy but good. I enjoy those cheesy horror flicks that are from the 80's. I do enjoy the vibe of the book and the overall concept, albeit cheesy. I think there could have been more to the book so it could have been a little bit more believable. The character development was good, which I do enjoy in a book. If the plot is campy, I at least want to have good character development. It was a quicker read and it's definitely worth it if you like horror. 

My overall rating is 3/5.
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This book had so much potential but I was disappointed. I was hoping for an 80's and 90's style horror and this definitely had the potential. I felt like the author was going for a Drag Me to Hell vibe with this but it just fell short. The story was good and the characters were okay but everything just felt way to jumbled up. It felt like the author knew where they wanted to go but they had no idea how to get there. 
I have a feeling a lot of people will like this book it was just to chaotic for me.
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This was dark, but oh so fun! The writing was decent and the story had me hooked.
However, the plot is non-existent and the multiple POV did throw me off a bit at times, but I’d be lying if I said I was not entertained while reading it. I could have done without the constant bullying of the MC, but this was a revenge story after all. 
If you’re looking for something with teen-drama, cannibalism, demons, gore, and witchcraft - this is for you!
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𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐫'𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐩𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐢𝐧 𝐞𝐱𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚𝐧 𝐡𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰. 𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐤 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐨 𝐍𝐞𝐭𝐠𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐞𝐀𝐑𝐂. 𝐀𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐦𝐲 𝐨𝐰𝐧*

I read the synopsis for this book and was immediately interested. The cover art is so pretty as well so who wouldn't be excited to read this, it was so disappointing when I started reading this book and it was very hard to get into. The main character was thoroughly described horribly and it came off as overkill. My natural instinct is to root for the main character, but this main character has so much self-loathing I suppose from all of the bullying. It was hard for me to get into the author's writing style. Plus, the characters weren't that interesting. I'm sure there are other people who will love this book.
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Shallow follows 17-year old Mildred who regularly gets bullied by everyone at school. /Everyone/, even the nerd characters. The first half reminded me a lot of the movie Welcome to the Dollhouse in that regard. The hatred the entire student body seems to have for Mildred is over the top and downright campy. It wasn't until the halfway point that I realized it's supposed to be over-the-top. The whole novel is a campy late 80s/early 90s horror movie, and I for one loved it. 

The reason for 3 stars (more like 3.5) despite my love for this book mainly lies in the first half. I almost DNF'd multiple times but I'm glad I pushed through. It moves quite slow and simultaneously does both too much and too little. We are reminded over and over again of how miserable Mildred's life is and how terrible the other students are. However, in that time we really don't learn much about Mildred. Her lack of personality made reading about her rather dry. Mildred isn't a very likable protagonist, and the longer the story goes on you kinda even lose some sympathy for her, but I think that's actually the point. Mildred isn't a perfect victim and she is proof of what bullying can do to a person.

The other reason for the mid ranking is the underworld plot. I can't lie, between all the interesting things going on with Mildred and her victims, my eyes definitely skimmed over all the demon drama. It kept slowing the pace of the story when it was at its fastest. 

The second half is where things get good and I could not put my e-ARC down. I loved the POV changes. They added just the right amount of depth to the other characters without taking them off the hook for their bullying. There were even a couple I was almost sad to see go which just proves how well they were written. Swallow is the right amount of gory - graphic but in such a cartoonish way you can't really be squicked out by it. This is one of those books that's easy to read in one go, and I'll probably reread it again before the year is out. 

All in all, a very entertaining read once the plot gets going, would definitely recommend!
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Content Warning: Bullying,demons,magic,gore and attempting suicide
Honestly not my type of book. While the storybuilding and characters are good ; it's too scary for my taste.
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Honestly quite confused about this book. It has a lot of potential to be a strong Tacky horror novel that leans into high school stereotypes (think Heather's and mean girls) but it was overall just scattered and confusing, things like demons and underworlds felt like they should be important but they weren't?
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This wasn't the book for me. I thought the concept was really cool and could really be a fun, gory, humour filled horror book but it fell flat on pretty much most of those fronts (except the gore). I didn't think anyone's characterization was well done - almost none of the characters' actions had any obvious motivations behind them and when they did it felt like a cliche in a bad way. This also made most of the characters deeply unlikable - even Mildred who we're supposed to root for? Also, couldn't really understand the POV changes, if it was a death by death POV change as it sometimes would be (i.e. with Tyler) it would've made more sense but did I need a whole chapter from Aaron's sisters POV? No. Especially when nothing comes of that almost 80 pages later. Overall, I just think this concept could be better executed and that's why I'm so disappointed. Sorry.
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This story was really disappointing. Everything was very surface-level. I didn’t feel any depth with the story or characters. I don’t think there was really even one likable person in this book. It felt like everyone is horrible and I’m not sure why it was portrayed that way…classmates, teachers, administration, parents, other adults, and even Mildred…they all were pretty horrific. 

This was a pretty short story. I was able to complete it in one sitting. The only reason I didn’t DNF this book is because the story was so bizarre, I wanted to see how it ended. I’m upset that I finished it. 

The one thing that I enjoyed was the grotesque horror of it all but those scenes were so quick that the payoff wasn’t there.
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This book was very thought-provoking to me. I think it was interesting to look at what actions have what consequences. I enjoyed the lessons learned but also the story in general was very entertaining and at times, emotional.
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trigger warnings- fatphobia, gore, cannibalism, ableism, bullying, ableist language, misogyny, suicide. 

honestly, i thought this book was going to be some type of horror book, since i mid year book resolution is to read more horror books. so, i was kind of hyped to read this YA take on this horror book. but, this book is like not horror, this was more really really weird and deeply uncomfortable, and not even in a way that i could be like oh yeah its a horror or a like a oh yeah it's a sci fi. 

but also the fatphobia and the bullying was just so gross and stupid. like, i feel like there are parts were kind of justified or something that it could be like 'well she's fat' or that's how i felt while i was reading this. and like also with the fatphobia being the main plot of the bullying, it wasn't even like something that would be like 'well she's not actually like this, it's all the bullying,' which i feel like most books do like, 'well yeah she was bullied, but she's not like that in real life,' which i feel like could have helped so so much. 

and also just the sheer amount of fatphobia and misogyny in this whole book was just a major red flags. like, this all happened form page one, which is just so so gross. and it was honestly just so difficult to read and that i think there is ways to balance all of this, and also way to much depictions in here, and it was honestly just so damaging and it felt like so weird to read this. and that i think it was kind of just brushed off and was like, brushed off to the side and kind of normalized it. 

and also the book also had this plot with multiple povs, and i feel like the multiple povs just didn't work, like i feel like there are books that multiple povs could work, but for this book it honestly did not work, which honestly kind of sucked. and also i couldn't really even connect with any of these characters, mainly cause some of the plot just didn't work and the whole plot with the demons and the monsters were just so weird. and all the switching of the povs just didn't make any sense for me, and nobody was really interesting or anything.
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This book was a campy, fun horror story, and a very quick and enjoyable read. The writing is fast-paced and keeps you guessing about what happens next. The main character, Mildred, isn't particularly likable but neither was Carrie, and she put on a hell of a show. Some reviews say the bullying is exaggerated, but from what I remember, it reads very true to high school.
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I know this is really a 3 star but in my heart it's a 4  star
Trigger Warning: gore, cannibalism, murder, witchcraft, demons, bullying, parental abuse/neglect and mental health.

This book gave me reading fanfiction in high school vibes, and I loved it.
The writing wasn't the best, but the switch between pov actually added to the story very well (except the witch demon ones, but I ignore those).
What made this book was the satisfying revenge against bullies (which was way too extreme), but it filled a dark fantasy I had when I was very young and was getting excessively bullied. I resonated with the rage and hate she felt towards her tormentors, but I did enjoy that we had glimpses into the bullies lives, so we saw they were human, but it didn't excuse their actions.

It would have been better with a less sudden and wishy-washy ending, in all honesty, but I still recommend it!
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This was low-key kind of boring and I’m kind of pressing. I didn’t really like it, but the writing style was not too bad. I would not recommend it to a friend. But the cover design was really pretty. This was in my Kind of book but I did like the main character Milgred !
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<b> <i> i was given a free eARC for my unbiased, honest review </b> </i>

***3.5 Stars***

-Swallow is about a girl named Mildred, she is very lonely and is picked on by everyone at her High School. Mildred is different than most at her school... She is fat, her hair is stringy and gives off a not-so-clean look, her skin isn't the best, she isn't too smart, etc... basically she is this person who is SO UGLY, it hurts others to even look at her!!! So she ends up getting into something way over her head trying to solve and figure out how to make the pain and loneliness from being bullied by her peers.

What made me want to read this book, was for one, it was horror (b-movie, slasher, campy type horror) campy, cheesy type horror is like my fave! two, I am a fat girl... I have also struggled with my skin as well (acne) ... I was picked in school for being fat and therefore I am automatically "ugly" ... I feel like I connected to Mildred on THAT level...and because the writing was easy to read and it was a fun little b-rated campy horror movie wrapped all up in a fun book...

I do feel like the author has NO experience in being bullied or being fat either...I mean, the bullying was a little over the top! It was like the ENTIRE school hated this girl so much that they had to make her life a living hell every day... it seemed like too much!!! But, then again I can only speak for my experience and mine alone...

IDK if the author was trying to say this with #Swallow but what I got from the book was: everything isn't always black and white ... like how we got to be inside of each kid who bullied her. We got to see how they weren't only mean kids, We also got to see that even someone innocent (Mildred) can turn into a monster under the right circumstances...

I enjoyed this book and I am excited to see what else this author comes out with!!!

#Swallow #SamSchill #Horror #campyhorror #b-ratedhorror #High School #YA #fatphobia #Gore #Cannibalism
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So I won't give much feedback, because I didn't finish this book. It wasn't at all that it was badly written, it was the kind of OTT "horror" as the movie Jennifer's Body, and that's just not my thing. It was hilarious, and well written though!
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