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3.33  ·  Rating Details  ·  227 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Samantha only wants to be loved. By her father, by her best friend, and now by the new boy at school, Farouk. The more time Sam spends with him, the more she can’t stop thinking about him. But she’s cautious, because people can hurt. To escape, Sam runs track at school, finishing every race, but never pushing herself to the limit. As she runs, she is haunted by the recent, ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Laurel Leaf (first published August 10th 2004)
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Community Reviews

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Nov 06, 2008 Alex rated it it was amazing

Swollen has been a great book to read. I would really recommend this book to anyone who wants an off the seat moment throughout the entire book. From beginning to end, you find answers to the questions they set for you to look for. If this book was turned into a movie, I think it would be great, and a lot of people would want to see it, especially teenagers.
When Owen, the star jock of the high school, dies of a swollen heart, Samantha was starting to get a lot of mixed emotions-- glad that he is
Jun 14, 2011 Meaghan rated it really liked it
This is in many ways quite a gritty story -- promiscuity, unprotected sex, marital infidelity, self-mutilation, drug addiction, steroid use, abortion and suicide are all touched upon in some way. Yet somehow the author manages to get them all in without it seeming like an after school special. Samantha and her family and friends could be at any middle-class suburban high school. Although there wasn't much of a plot here and Noah's death didn't play as big a role in the story as I expected it wou ...more
Lexi Bialik
Oct 31, 2014 Lexi Bialik rated it really liked it
Swollen is great story of a teenage girl named Sam that is desperate to be loved by anyone. But she has a father that is a bad example upon her. He often asks her to cover for him cheating on his girlfriend with another woman. And Sam is scared to trust and fall for people cause she has trouble knowing what the outcome is going to be. This is because she thinks that everyone is like her father, and she doesn't want someone like him. Until she starts to fall for the new boy at school. With him, S ...more
Sarah Crawford
Feb 11, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it did not like it
I'm sure you've read books that you “just couldn't put down,” they were that good.

This is one of the books that you just can't really pick up. It's one of the very few that I almost gave up on, it was that boring.

There's not really any reason to care very much about any of the characters in the novel. Everyone has flaws, granted, but in this novel it's hard to find much of anything positive to say about any of the characters at all.

In addition, the book is stuffed to the gills with social proble
Isabela Oliveira
Aug 31, 2008 Isabela Oliveira rated it liked it
Shelves: 2007-2008
A beautiful story about getting over first loves and realizing that you can get over them.
MaryAnn Harlan
Jul 23, 2008 MaryAnn Harlan rated it really liked it
To be upfront this book touched some deep. long buried chords in me. In fact it completely depressed me. When I finished I had to go curl up next to my husband and just cry. And not Lurlene McDaniel, everybody dies cry. Just tears. Why? I don’t know, or more honestly have no plans of announcing why on a public forum. Sam is the invisible girl, who falls in love (with what turns out to be a mostly inappropriate boy, but really aren’t the ones who scar us mostly inappropriate?) It goes as first lo ...more
Neru Tamang
Oct 31, 2012 Neru Tamang rated it liked it
The protagonist is Samantha who is a good runner and who is not good in math and who call her self a "middle girl" and also her mother left her with the father. one day she meet a boy name Farouk and they start hanging out with the boy and the more she hangout with the him the more she start to think about him. and in track her record start to drop because she make excuse so she could hangout with the boy. the book mostly tells story about how the girl comes back to her normal life from the life ...more
Mar 21, 2010 Tiffany rated it it was ok
A story about a teenager desperate for love. Her father can seldom be bothered with her, and when he is he sets a terrible example, often asking her to lie for him while he cheats on his girlfriend with other women. Her best friend cuts herself, and she expects any boy she's with to be like her father. Plus, she has a mother who didn't exactly do the best by her daughter in leaving her with her father. So, out of her desperate quest for unconditional love comes time with boys, and even a desire ...more
Gabe Neph
Jan 08, 2012 Gabe Neph rated it liked it
This book is about a young girl named Sam that is trying to find herself, along with love. After the jock at their school dies, a new mysterious boy named Farouk moves in. Sam takes a great interest in the mysterious boy. I would recommend this book to people looking for an in depth, emotional book.
I liked how Melissa Lion wrote this book to resemble and actually be somewhat like a teenage girl's life. Although some of the situations in this book could have been altered a little bit. The myst
Kelsey Neal
Oct 26, 2014 Kelsey Neal rated it really liked it
This was a very intesting book to read. It was romantic, sad, and mystirous all at the same time. But did confuse me when they talked about OWen dieing at he bigining and then not really at all during the end. But i liked the mystery in farouk and the ramanticness in between them. And the story behing the father not wanted the baby. But this was a interesting book to read over all.
May 18, 2016 Breanna rated it it was amazing
it was a really good book it was sad but then got alot better and i cried at times but i am an emotional person and i am touched by books!! IT WAS AN AWESOME BOOK i even told my friend that she should read it!
Mar 02, 2009 Lupe rated it it was ok
Swollen deals with real life issues. Samantha, is a teenage girl who is experincing with boy drama, she's a member of the track team and her dad is an unfaithful boyfriend. When a new kid comes to school, Farouk, Samantha falls head over heels for him. They spend so much time together thoughout the book. Hanging out all the time and walking along the beach together.

Its sweet and all but after a while it just gets old. The book talked too much about Farouk's and Samantha's attraction that soon
Sommer Ann McCullough
Sep 16, 2007 Sommer Ann McCullough rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: XC runners, those with hard issues in their lives, 'Upstream' fans
This book was very impacting and had a lot of deep issues in it. Ranging from a cheating father to a friend who cuts herself and feelings of inadequacy this novel spanned many parts of life. I loved the tone and the way Melissa Lion incorprated so many truthful feelings without making it feel bogged down. This book felt like a true look at someone's life and was very well told. One of the best realistic fiction reads I've had in a while. It takes everyday existence and morphs it into something t ...more
Lexie Boydston
Oct 12, 2012 Lexie Boydston rated it liked it
Swollen Is about a boy named Owen; a runner who is found dead one day. His parents made a speech at his school claiming that his heart swollen up and he does of heart failure but everyone was shocked when they realized it was suicide.
"I run to feel my heart beat hard" this quote relates to the characters well because they're all trying to run away from something in their life.
This book connects to topics covered in class in our humor unit because it has a lot of dark humor about things that sho
Nov 16, 2008 Paige rated it really liked it
Recommended to Paige by: Little Willow
This book was fantastic. It was well-written and believable and never too sappy. My only complaints would be that I got annoyed with Samantha near the end of the book, though I'm glad with the way things were tied up, even though it may not have been that picture-perfect ending some would hope for. Melissa Lion is a great writer, and it never felt like she was trying too hard to do anything - the words just were what they were. I appreciated the lack of cliches here and the depth of the story &a ...more
Stephanie A.
Jan 08, 2013 Stephanie A. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Found my original blog entry, score!

2006: Swollen is a lovely example of a vaguely written, plotless YA novel. It rambled in several directions without ever really resolving anything, and I can’t even particularly tell you what it was about. There was a girl, and there was a lot of buzz about why an athlete at her school died, though they never really say. It was also kind of about her dad’s girlfriend being pregnant, and kind of about her year at school, and mostly incomprehensible.
Jul 18, 2011 Kricket rated it it was ok
a cross-country running teenage girl gets her heart broken.

i can't decide if there's too much going on in this book (teen pregnancy! a different accidental pregnancy! cutting! suicide! infidelity!) or not enough (because not much is actually happening to the main character...) i didn't really identify with samantha and i wasn't sure what i was supposed to make of the way farouk treated her. it kept my attention while i was reading, but ultimately i'm not left with much of an impression.
Sep 09, 2008 Kate rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who like stupid books
This book was major in depression, it started out with hope and dreams all those at the end were shut down and the main character didn't believe in the good people out there. I know i can't believe the theme of this story, because if the world was really like that, there wouldn't be families, there wouldn't be new found couples, and our world would drown in disgust and dispare. Don't read it, it's a waste of anyones time.
Oct 24, 2009 Terry rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Girls who run track or who aren't confident with boys
This took a few unexpected turns from the 'first-love-leads-to-heart-break' formula. The setting of coastal southern-California is brought out and adds to the story. There are some interesting side plots and secondary characters. This is an especially good look at how girls and women get to places where their choices, are obviously wrong - to an outsider - but they can't see it for themselves.
Jia wei
Mar 01, 2014 Jia wei rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Each and everytime I read this book over and over, I get different rush of feelings. Many times I get confused or rather tangled by the ending. Touching, moving and heart-lifting story that leaves a deep stain in my heart. I feel for Samantha each time I read this book. Sometimes I feel Farouk is a jerk and other time he's a gentleman and still loves her. *shrugs*
Jun 20, 2008 Panda rated it liked it
It's alright but alittle to romancy and girly for me. Sammantha totally is a brat and doesn't even really care that a kid at her school dies. That kid could have been in love with her and she doesn't even seem to care. She even found he carved there inistials into a bridge! She just porays herself as a brat!
Dec 21, 2012 Brittany rated it it was amazing
This is one of the books that started me off reading. My schools library was holding a book bingo for students who made good grades and I won an ARC of this book. While I haven't read it in a couple of years, I remember how this book made my middle school self feel. Great story!
May 30, 2015 Meagan rated it liked it
Sparse book. The writing takes a weird turn towards the end, and I don't feel like most of the characters were really fleshed out the way I was hoping. Interesting father/daughter and step parent notes, though. Also, a Persian love interest that is seamless.
Apr 22, 2009 Jenny rated it it was ok
As a parent of a 13 year old girl, this book is terribly depressing, and sad to me. It has started a few conversations though with my daughter about choices. (I read this book after my daughter brought it home from the library and read it.)
Tim Anderson
Jan 17, 2013 Tim Anderson rated it it was amazing
this was a very good book it was about a girl who met this guy who were both runners and one day this guy died and she met a new guy named farouk and those two were in love then this persian girl came and stole him from her and she was mad
Mar 04, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Desperately longing to be loved, but afraid of being hurt, Samantha must conquer her fear of sharing her true feelings when she finds herself growing more and more attached to Farouk, the new boy at school.
Apr 04, 2012 Sonia rated it did not like it
Apparently I read this because it's in my library reading history, but I don't remember the plot, so really, how good could it have been?
Aug 15, 2010 Cookie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Ummm...quick read...not really sure what else to was strange...not great...but not bad.
Angela Avery
Jul 20, 2009 Angela Avery rated it it was ok
A very random book, but ok for young adults I guess. Quick read,finished in less than a day.
Aug 10, 2008 Don rated it really liked it
a well written story of a highschool girl and her life and relationships.
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Melissa Lion is a novelist and book critic. Her two novels, Swollen and Upstream were published by Random House. Her third novel is expected out next year. Her work has appeared in Santa Monica Review, Other Voices and an anthology titled, The Crucifix is Down. Upstream was recently optioned for a motion picture.

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