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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • a good, fast read

    The Swallows: A Novel is a disturbing tale of the trials and tribulations of the students residing at an eastern prep school. Stonebridge Academy in Lowland, Vermont has all the bells and whistles required of a preparatory high school/boarding school, stately brick and climbing ivy, miles of walking paths and trees. The scholastic achievement has faltered over the years, and the majority of graduates will qualify for the same college acceptances as those students applying from a normal public high school. Problems of a sexual nature seem to have escalated over the last few years, reaching an explosive point just before Christmas break, 2009. Though many girls are included in the ranks of those abused, shame keeps them silent and isolated. It takes Ms. Witt's new role as an instructor of Creative Writing to bring a sense of unity to the girls and shine a spotlight on the systematic abuse perpetrated by a small group of upperclassmen who congregate online in the Darkroom and keep score on the subfile Dulcinea. This is one of those novels that suck you right in and don't let go till the last page. The characters, both good and bad, are exceptional, the sense of time and place (2009, 2010) is precise and the storyline is compelling. This is a novel I am happy to recommend to friends and family. I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Lisa Lutz, and Ballantine Books. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work.

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  • The Swallows

    The Swallows is the latest book by Lisa Lutz. Ms Lutz tells us the story by going back and forth from four main characters and their point of view. I've read several other books by this author and she never disappoints. I was given an early copy to review.

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  • Bad Behavior

    This was yet another book that made me ever so happy that I didn't go to boarding school, or send my children to one. It also reminded me that I'm exceptionally grateful to have gone through my teen years before social media became a thing. (It was hard enough before the pressures of social media became such a problem.) Lutz tracks the lives of both teachers and students at a somewhat mediocre boarding school in this book - none of whom are exactly models of best behavior. When a new teacher begins to realize that there's a sexually charged competition going on among the students, one that's been going on for years, she encourages some of the female students to find ways to bring it to an end. They become quite creative, and not all the consequences are the intended ones. There's dark humor and suspense here - not my favorite Lisa Lutz book, it was probably somewhere between a 3- and 4-star read for me but I listened to most of it and the narration was excellent, that and the overall atmosphere she created pushed it to a 4. My thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine Books for providing a copy for an unbiased review.

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  • A thrilling tale of lust, power trips, and revenge

    Told from various third-person points of view, THE SWALLOWS is a deep-dive into the world of privileged boys meets aggrieved girls hellbent on revenge. When new teacher, Alex Witt, assigns a routine paper for students to anonymously tell her something about themselves, she discovers an ugly secret society of misogynistic boys who rate girls on their unique abilities. What she discovers will ignite a fire under the girls to fight back and get even, with tragic consequences. The mystery of what the Darkroom is and means to students at Stonebridge Academy unfolds slowly, leaving the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next. It all builds to an ugly climax that leaves everyone forever changed. Plot This is my first novel by Lutz and I’m hooked. She weaves a captivating tale, building suspense, gluing me to the pages, or in the case, my Kindle screen. More than a few hours of sacrificed sleep were involved. Her characters are so complex, damaged, real, and very well distinguished from one another, that I always knew whose point of view I was reading. Though she sets up the tragedy throughout the story, it doesn’t ruin the ending. All we know is something bad is going to happen, but so much builds throughout the preceding chapters, there’s no way to know exactly what it’ll be. Characters The cast is full of diverse, well-developed, well-differentiated characters. Because it’s told in so many first-person points of view, this was key, and the author knocked it out of the park. Lutz does an amazing job of crafting compelling characters to tell her story. Even the ones I didn’t like, I still felt like i really understood. What I Loved About THE SWALLOWS 1. Pacing. The story is expertly paced to keep me turning the virtual pages. 2. Alex Witt. The primary protagonist and the most damaged of the bunch. She was the perfect blend of jaded teacher and inspirational mentor. 3. Getting Even. The girls fighting back with what they had available was one of my favorite parts of the story. 4. Characters. A thrilling cast brought this story to life in a way that other characters wouldn’t have been able to carry. 5. Ending. Without giving anything away, I love the way the author concludes her tale and the ramifications it has on her characters’ lives. Bottom Line A thrilling tale of lust, power trips, and revenge. Disclaimer I was provided with a copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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