Cover Image: We Don't Swim Here

We Don't Swim Here

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Member Reviews

I couldn't get past the obvious questions of the plot with this one. Really, all of the water sources are closed down and it's not really questioned. There's no lead-in to the issues, things just pop off. People are stuck in this town. Or are they? How did this not come up before moving? Hello? There's a competitive swimmer in the family? I just couldn't get into the premise. The characters were fine. The writing was fine. I just couldn't do it.
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This book didn't really make since to me. I just didn't really understand what the point of this book was. I stopped reading because I just could not get into it.
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I really enjoyed this one! I love a good ghost story and Vincent Tirado provided a great one with a perfect twist. Add in family drama and enough secrets to drown you and you have a captivating book that you wont want to miss!
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Sort of a similar setup as Burn Down, Rise Up.   In this backwoods town, the residents have rituals they follow, so the town siren won't harm people. Sometimes, the rituals get interrupted, and bad things happen.   

We Don't Swim Here is told in dual POVs between cousins -

Bronwyn - an Olympic swimming hopeful has to move to this small town for a year to help take care of her dying grandmother. Bronwyn hates it. There is no place in town for her to swim, and no one will explain why all bodies of water are off-limits. Bronwyn is determined to find out why. 

Anais- has lived in town her whole life.  She knows and follows her rituals. She will do everything she can to keep her family(Bronwyn) included safe.  She can't explain it to Bronwyn without endangering her. Bronwyn isn't someone who just sits back and does as she is told. She wants to know what is going on in this town, and why it is happening.
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Last year I was impressed by Vincent Tirado’s debut Burn Down Rise Up and their follow-up We Don’t Swim Here was another entertaining supernatural thriller. Like with their debut, although predominately a supernatural thriller does contain elements of racial social commentary and strong LGBTQIA+ representation. The story opens with Bronwyn being uprooted and moving from Illinois to a small town in Arkansas, where his grandmother is dying. The family intend to remain there for a year, with Bronwyn who is a gifted swimmer, being expected to put her Olympic aspirations on hold for the good of the family. But not only does her new home have no swimming programme or school team, it was no swimming pools at all! We quickly realise this small town is pretty weird and has its own rituals and customs, which play a major part of the book, and even though this was very interesting it could have done with fuller explanations and less dead ends. For example, there are numerous mentions to the ‘Ghost Bus’ which has nothing to do with the main plot, does not really go anywhere, and ultimately adds nothing to the which revolves around why We Don’t Swim Here.

Although We Don’t Swim Here was a decent page-turner I felt the big reveals came much too early in the plot and this limited suspense somewhat in why everybody did not swim. The story is presented as a split first-person narrative between Bronwyn and her cousin Anais, the girls were close when they were younger but have seen little of each other in recent years. Anais, of course, is aware of the local customs and rituals and does her best to watch out for her cousin, who as an outsider is a target. As both girls are Black the story also has a racial element, as the school and wider community is predominately white. Even though there were other unanswered questions We Don’t Swim Here was a decent supernatural thriller with an unsettling small-town vibe. AGE RANGE 13/14+
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A supernatural YA thriller that's fantastic at building tension and keeping it going at neck-breaking speed. The pace is fantastic. There are many elements coming in and you do want the answers very much. There are many characters, but only the main one is really given emotional depth, despite the dual voice. I think the cousin Anais deserved a little more, but that was fine, the questions are what keep you hanging.
Admittedly, it didn't do as much as I thought it would, and the twist I was expecting wasn't quite as strong as the one I'd imagined, as what came to be was rather heavily telegraphed. I think some of the slight disappointment is because not all the questions were really answered. This is a little bit of a let down, but it also gives more realism to the story, some things always remain mysteries, and perhaps more is going on in this town than just this one "covered up secret" we are focused on. I feel like there is a lot of space for this to become a series about the town, in which case a lot of the unanswered questions can be broached later. 
A solid YA book for the fans of the fantastical.
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I had higher expectations for this book, if I’m being honest. It started off slow, but once it finally picked up it was good!
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Anything that has to do with water meshed with horror already has me on the edge of my seat and ready to read. This one was no different. And while I did enjoy many aspects of it, I just found the writing style to not be for me! This is purely subjective and I know many others will love it!
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This is an odd but creepy-good novel about cousins, Bronwyn and Anais who were close growing up but haven't seen each other in years until Bronwyn and her parents move back to Arkansas for a year to care for grandmother in hospice. Odd things have been happening and there are legends that the townspeople defend--like the Ghost Bus and the reason no one swims in the local lake; and the high school pool is closed. Since Bronwyn is a competitive swimmer, this is heartbreaking to her but even more so is the secrecy surrounding almost everything the high school kids do and even the strange behaviors of adults close to them. But of course legends usually get started because of something real and getting to the bottom of this gets weirder all the time! It's a fascinating look at how people can get wrapped up in what they believe even when there is little solid evidence to prove anything beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!
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Planning to remain only a year, Bronwyn , her mom and dad move into her grandmother’s house as she’s dying. Bronwyn's miserable, the kids at her high school are weird and mysterious, including her cousin, who won’t tell her what’s going on and why no one swims in the towns pools and lake. Part mystery, part gothic and horror novel, We Don’t Swim Here is deliciously creepy,building to a satisfying and well done conclusion.
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She is the reason no one goes in the water. And she will make them pay.

I enjoyed the author’s first novel, Burn Down Rise Up and I enjoyed this book too! The creep factor was so high! Especially in the beginning of the book where we don’t know what’s going on. All we know is that this town is weird, these people are weird, and somebody is in danger! The suspense was definitely being built, and I had to know what was going on! I love a good revenge story, and lemme just say that the revenge was WELL DESERVED! I was definitely rooting for all the revenge. I feel like Vincent Tirado’s writing style has improved even more since Burn Down Rise Up and I can’t wait to see how else their writing will evolve as they release more and more books!

I did have a couple of things that could’ve been better in this book to me. For one, the side characters didn’t have much personality. I wanted to like them, but they weren’t developed enough to stand out. I wanted to care about them more. Also, I was left with questions at the end. There were things that happened at the beginning of the book that weren’t mentioned again at the end, and I needed closure on those things. 

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a horror featuring a creepy town, Black main characters, revenge, and sapphic representation! Vincent Tirado is definitely an author to watch! I can’t wait to see what they release next!

Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for this arc! All opinions are my own.

TW: Murder and racism
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We Don't Swim Here was an interesting read that will certainly leave readers scratching their heads. It follows two cousins after one moves into a town where people don't swim. There's local superstitions and weird rituals and horrible secrets with cover ups. I really liked that the author had you guessing about the story of the "siren", "ghost", "legend" and then really dove deeper into the story as the book went on. There were strong characters and a lot of intrigue and I really think readers that like unsolved mysteries with a bit of a creepy supernatural twist will enjoy this one!
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Tirado proves with this book that they’re an expert at writing atmospheric, creepy, and suspenseful YA. I loved Burn Down, Rise Up and this was great sophomore book. Prefect tension and the dual POV worked very well. Highly recommended!
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This is a book that is going to have me thinking for a long time. At different points it is a ghost story, a mystery and a study in racial injustice and at all points it is excellent. When Bronwyn is moved to her Dad’s hometown she is immediately told “we don’t swim here” and from there the secrets just pile up. The town has strange rituals and rules that keep outsiders out and the towns people in line. It is hard to explain what happens from there because I don’t want to share anything that will spoil this read, but injustices done to people will always come to light and then lengths that people will go to hold on to their beliefs is astounding! A fantastic read!
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Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a digital ARC of this book.

I hadn't heard of this book before finding it on NetGalley, but the cover and synopsis intrigued me. My feelings are a bit conflicted on this one, but I'll talk about what I liked first.

I really enjoyed how Tirado wrote the paranormal parts of this book; he did a good job of capturing the essence of urban legends in a small Midwestern area, as a person who lives in a relatively small Midwestern area. The flashbacks and dream sequences were written well. The crime that featured in the book had a lot of nuance and was discussed well, although I wish that it had been delved into deeper. As well, I would have liked to see more of Sweetie's backstory. It would've really fleshed her out as a character more.

As for the characters in general, I found them a bit lacking. Bronwyn was an okay main character. Anais frustrated me because she was so standoffish as a narrator, I couldn't get inside her head at all. I also didn't know what any of them actually looked like beyond one-word descriptions. I kept getting annoyed with the lack of detail and depth of the general cast of this book. On the topic of pacing and plot: the pacing plods along until the middle, where the action finally begins to pick up. most of the plot in the beginning felt like loosely connected events.

I found myself with more questions than answers throughout this entire book. I still don't understand the rituals of the town, especially since they only appeared a few times and then vanished. The townspeople's aversion to Bronwyn was lacking in any real reasoning and I was just as frustrated as she was.

Overall, a decent read, but it was lacking in some important areas.
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A superb fast paced thriller.  I absolutely loved the story and couldn’t stop reading it.  It’s perfect for all readers, especially thriller lovers.
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[arc review]
Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing an arc in exchange for an honest review.
We Don’t Swim Here releases May 2, 2023.

We Don’t Swim Here is a YA mystery/thriller/horror blend told in alternating dual pov’s from two cousins: Bronwyn and Anais.

Bronwyn is an active competitive swimmer, and is on track to be an Olympic swimmer — that is, until her family uproots her from Illinois, back to her father’s hometown in Arkansas after her grandmother suffered from a stroke, leading her to now live in hospice care.

This town is very eerie, rural, and has a bunch of rituals that they follow. They don’t fare well to “outsiders” or tourists.
Their motto is “we don’t swim here” — but why? What is wrong with the lake? Why are all of the community pools and rec centers closed down?

These questions had me itching to find out what sort of creepy nonsense was deep rooted in this town full of secrets.

Unfortunately, this was a miss for me, but I think there’s potential if this was presented in a novella format to reduce some of the filler.
I found that there was a lot of telling, and not showing. A lot of time jumps, and things that just weren’t explained well.
One of the main plot points happened way too early in the story for me, which had the remaining 60% dragging.
It’s hard for me to believe that this town has been so tightly knit and rallying together for decades, yet this story was propelled by this new generation of kids, and none of the adults seemed to have any clue or care in the world as to what was going on.
I’m disappointed that not much resulted from the “ghost bus”. The ballot box ritual was pretty anticlimactic for me as well, and I don’t understand how there just happened to be certain “blind spots” around town where nothing was effected by this “curse”.
Anais’ perspectives were so evasive and I feel like I still don’t understand a whole lot of why things happened they way they were. She kept saying that the town has such strict rituals, schedules, and timed events — but what were those? There were no enforced curfew times or anything like that mentioned or shown.
Who was stalking them? Why was there SO much emphasis to not trust Molly Grace?
The side plot with Hanna was disjointed too. They were exes, then they were in contact with each other again thanks to some run-in in the woods, and then later in the book there was this dramatic scene where Hanna was like “I can’t do this anymore.” Do what? Pass her in the hallway? Have mutual friends? The placement was so unnatural.
Why did it take one person asking questions about why they’re not allowed to swim for anyone to think oh maybe this doesn’t make a lot of sense to begin with??
What was the point of the whole conflict between their two fathers when they are brothers and lived in the same town? It literally does not make sense to have separated them.
I’m just left wanting so much more.

If you really like stories with sirens, possession, and diverse characters, I’d say maybe give it a shot.

TW: racial hate crime involving death by acid and drowning.
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A wonderful haunting story with relatable characters and a mystery that will draw you in completely.
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This was a really fresh and new storyline that I enjoyed. I did not give it five stars though because some of the dialogue felt a little forced and unnatural.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this eARC!

The cover is giving all the vibes! This suspense/thriller was done incredibly well, the characters had amazing depth and it didn't take much time for the action to get going. I really enjoyed the twists and turns, the town and the people definitely creeped me out, and that ending? I was not expecting it to end how it did, but loose ends were tied up, it made sense, and overall it was fantastic. From the beginning, how everyone avoids swimming like it's a plague, was so had me hooked. I had to know why.
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