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399 pages, Hardcover
First published August 13, 2019
In a perfect world, they wouldn’t need to fight. That’s not the world I live in. You can keep telling girls to be polite, to keep a level head and it’ll all work out in the end. But don’t be surprised when they figure out that you’ve been feeding them lies. Don’t be alarmed when they grow tired of using their voices and playing by your rules. And don’t be shocked when they decide that if they can’t win a fair fight, they’ll just have to find another way.I received an ARC from Ballantine via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I find myself reading more and more fiction by women and POC about topics such as feminism and racism. Call it my personal reaction to the political events of the last few years. Some of these works have been better than others, of course. The Swallows has been one of the best I’ve read.
“Son, you’ll never get anywhere if you can’t do a proper elevator pitch. You’re burying the lead. It’s a twisted noir about a bizarre sexual competition that has become the backbone of the social hierarchy at a long-standing boarding school.”That quotation really sums things up quite nicely. A new teacher, Alex Witt, immediately senses that there’s something deeply wrong at Stonebridge Academy. Alex is a wonderfully written character; trying so hard not to care this time, she’s sarcastic, wry, and damaged. Alex inspires a group of girls, led by Gemma Russo—another sharply written character—to try to change the social order in the school once and for all. The plot builds nicely, well-paced and believable, until events begin to spiral beyond any of the characters’ control.