The Swallows

The Swallows

A Novel

Book - 2019
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A new teacher at a New England prep school ignites a gender war--with deadly consequences--in a provocative novel from the bestselling author of The Passenger and the Spellman Files series. What do you love? What do you hate? What do you want? It starts with this simple writing prompt from Alex Witt, Stonebridge Academy's new creative writing teacher. When the students' answers raise disturbing questions of their own, Ms. Witt knows there's more going on the school than the faculty wants to see. She soon learns about The Ten--the students at the top of the school's social hierarchy--as well as their connection to something called The Darkroom. Ms. Witt can't remain a passive observer. She finds the few girls who've started to question the school's "boys will be boys" attitude and incites a resistance that quickly becomes a movement. But just as it gains momentum, she also attracts the attention of an unknown enemy who knows a little too much about her--including what brought her to Stonebridge in the first place. Meanwhile, Gemma, a defiant senior, has been plotting her attack for years, waiting for the right moment. Shy loner Norman hates his role in the Darkroom, but can't find the courage to fight back until he makes an unlikely alliance. And then there's Finn Ford, an English teacher with a shady reputation who keeps one eye on his literary ambitions and one on Ms. Witt. As the school's secrets begin to trickle out, a boys-versus-girls skirmish turns into an all-out war, with deeply personal--and potentially fatal--consequences for everyone involved. Lisa Lutz's blistering, timely tale shows us what can happen when silence wins out over decency for too long--and why the scariest threat of all might be the idea that sooner or later, girls will be girls.
Publisher: New York, New York : Ballantine Books, ©2019.
ISBN: 9781984818232
Characteristics: 402 pages :,map ;,25 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Oct 27, 2019

The Swallows is a good book about rape culture and girls/women fighting back. The book was a morbidly compulsive read for me partly because it was set in a HS boarding school in 2009. If I had to re-do HS as it was the first time (in the 60s) I'd be pretty sure I'd died and gone to hell. If I had to do HS now, or in a boarding school setting - ARGH! I feel sick at the thought. It was interesting to 'hear' the story from various characters -- mostly those on the side of 'right.' Different people knew different parts of the story. Just think if Alex had taught fencing at Stonebridge! “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.”

Oct 16, 2019

Engaging and darkly funny. A literary takedown of misogynistic practices. A must read for all high-schoolers. And adults.

Oct 02, 2019

A dark comedy of manners that's a mix of feminism and "this will definitely end badly." I would recommend it to people who enjoyed either the movie War of the Roses or J.K. Rowling's novel Casual Vacancy.

Sep 30, 2019

Disturbing subject matter, and a little over the top ending, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book! So awesome!

Sep 23, 2019

A cleverly written novel set at a private boarding school where there is a secretive group maintaining a secretive site on certain female student's sexual performance. The story plays out well with interjected quips from the author.

Sep 23, 2019

I became a Lisa Lutz fan because of The Spellman Files (if you're a mystery fan and haven't read this series yet, stop reading this review and go read them. I'll wait.) and her two standalone novels were excellent, as well. "The Swallows" isn't quite as strong as her previous works, but as a fan I still devoured it and wished there was more. If you're also a Lisa Lutz fan, you'll enjoy what seems to be a mash-up of Gossip Girl and "The Secret History." If you're looking for your next beach read, I would recommend "How to Start a Fire" or "The Passenger" instead.

Sep 11, 2019

this was definitely not the spellmans, although alex witt has a quirky relationship with her parents. I ended up using two bookmarks, one to mark my current spot and the other to track the main characters. after a while I stopped referring back, it didn't matter any more. a well-written book about a difficult subject. SO happy I'm (well) past the teenage years, which seem so much more fraught than what I remember.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top