The Swallows

The SwallowsA 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 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 DarkroomMs 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 PlaceMeanwhile, 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 WittAs 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 This is my first Lisa Lutz book and I really enjoyed the read This was so off the wall that I didn t take any of it seriously and just went with it I don t think the book was meant to be serious although there are some deep seated male female issues shining through You can read the intro to find out what the book it about, but let me tell you what I liked.I thought the character Alex Witt was badass her mother was as well so she got it honest Gemma was a true leader and her decisiveness helped move the story along Most of the males were immature jerks The headmaster was totally clueless I thought the blowchart was a nice touch.The writing, the characters, and the plot all kept me interested I will probably pick up another of Lisa Lutz s books soon because I enjoyed the writing.The only thing I didn t really like was the number of points of view the story was told from Sometimes it was hard to remember whose head you were in while reading what they were thinking doing.Thanks to Random House Publishing Group Ballantine through Netgalley for an advance copy. Dang it Honestly, it pains me to give this one anything less than a stellar review, as Lisa Lutz is one of my favorite authors, and I credit her Spellman Files series to getting me out of a multi year reading slump All that to say, please take this review with a grain of salt, and know full well that I could be the outlier here, due to the fact that I know she can write the heck out of a story Perhaps the fact that this one felt so off base from her previous works is what threw me off initially, so the predictable nature of this story left me underwhelmed and unsatisfied There are a lot of characters in this story, and it was quite difficult keeping them all straight and determining just why some were even included I love a good challenge in my reading, but I need for it to have purpose and meaning, not to just be used as a plot device to bloat the page count Upon finishing this book, I m hard pressed to tell you what genre this book technically falls Overall, I got a heavy YA vibe from the voices of the characters, setting, and plot, yet I m unsure that this would actually appeal to the YA audience, which could be why I m waffling around this detail I guess there is a mystery at hand, but I can guarantee at least half of the reading population will figure it out early and be sorely disappointed at the payoff after such buildup Overall, I m sure you can tell I didn t connect well with this one, but I still hold the author in the highest regard and will continue to search for future work from her I highly recommend you give this one a try for yourself, as this could be the book for you if the synopsis sounds appealingMany thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley. At the beginning of this book I thought, Okay, this clearly takes place in a fictional universe of boarding school novels where we have dropped all pretense that anything in it is real or related to real life And I was willing to suspend my disbelief for that Boarding school novels can be campy fun or dark microcosms of teenage misbehavior I m down for that This is a school where the staff is made up of checks notes six adults while there are 400 students, though we only ever meet about ten of these students and the rest of them seem to not actually exist Okay, whatever, let s do it.Around a third of the way through I thought, Okay, we re going to get some interesting gender wars here Maybe this is satire It could be satire Nothing in it feels all that satirical but the lack of realism and the committed to weirdness plot could mean satire Let s wait for some sharp topical insight And I waited I should have stopped reading it once I d given it some space and still couldn t get my bearings But I like Lisa Lutz, I ve read several of her novels, I thought her last one was her best so far, I figured she had to have something smart waiting for me But at the end I was just mad enough to want to throw this book.There does not seem to be much of a point to it all Teenage boys are terrible Girls decide to fight back Things escalate It s not going to end well The broad strokes are not exactly new, in this kind of scenario it s all about the details And the details here never meshed The teenage boys are so terrible they are irredeemable We get one as a narrator who helps out the girls and maybe he s supposed to be sympathetic, but he never seems to take any responsibility for his bad actions No one takes any responsibility in this book because the terrible teenage boys are capable of such ridiculous revenge that no one dares, which what But I guess that s okay in a book where not only are the teenage boys capable of these dramatic acts of revenge, they are also apparently capable of keeping a secret for years that they also then all decide to stop keeping for the same school assignment I m sorry I could do this for HOURS but I will not The teachers are truly awful for no real purpose except to maybe remind us that adults are just older teenagers There is no explanation for so much awfulness, so I guess you could see this as one of those super dark books like Fight Club where everyone is just so totally effed up that that is the point but this book sure seems to think the girls are at least mostly justified so I don t think that s it either The teacher who is the closest thing we have to a protagonist is at an odd remove from the action and it s unclear what she even has to do with anything besides give us some B plot I do not know why Lutz s usual darkly comic gifts have failed her so utterly here, sometimes a bit would land but none of them ever stuck that landing And given the amount of manipulation, sexual coercion, sharing of images of underage children, and all on display, it feels like it should all DO something It should mean something or take you somewhere We live in a world with so much misogyny, it s not that we don t want some humor with it, it s just that if we re going to get it in our entertainment it s still going to hurt so you have to make it worth it You have to give us something to believe in or laugh at or get excited about To its credit, this book does have a truly excellent flowchart called The Blowchart that they should give out to actual teenagers because it is very good advice.I do not think this book has much to say that is useful or interesting about feminism or patriarchy or teenage misogyny and manipulation If you would like a book like that, I would directly you to the very excellent 2018 novel THE RED WORD by Sarah Henstra, which is also about a kind of gender war, this time at a college, that is a very smart and gutsy book that I highly enjoyed and which very much deserves your time. Stonebridge Academy has some secrets and the Darkroom is at the heart of it Alex Witt, who has just joined as a teacher and quickly learns of the all too well known boys will be boys phenomena going on No one has been able to stop it What will it take and when is enough enough I absolutely love Witt s character The Blowchart she makes, while you may first giggle at the title comparative to the subject matter, you quickly learn the true meaning and the lesson behind it all LOVE the final message The issue here is that when there s an academy school such as this where certain traditions continue because people are too afraid to speak up to save their own asses, it turns into a vicious cycle where at the end of the day, everyone becomes a victim Retaliations may not be worth the cost but something still needs to be done and while boys will be boys and girls will be girls the girls will become warriors and god help those in their way There were moments where it lost a little spark for me but overall a fabulous read about gender wars Behind this heavy subject manner is humor and electricity from Witt s characters, the quiet hero in some of the boys who knows what s wrong, the surging of power within the girls who are targets, willingly or not Competitiveness at the price of morality Does any of this really change Or is it just muffled until the next wave We ll never truly know It s the heart of this story where lessons are learned and a heavy price is paid that tugs at your emotions.Lutz is, and continues to be, a favorite author of mine And this cover, once you ve read the story, really stands out and speaks volumes I love a simple cover with a TON of meaning. Let me start this little spiel by praising Lisa Lutz I ve loved her talent for quite some time Shoot, I am even one of the few who genuinely loved Heads You Lose Which I still suggest for a fun read on Reddit all the time And the Spellman series permanently bonded me to Lisa Lutz as a fan So I went into The Swallows with my hopes so high that your kiss book might kill me like the wise men of Dashboard Confessional once sang So I guess we can consider me dead because my hopes were butchered up and buried Headless hope or not, The Swallows, will not deter me from reading from Liza Lutz But let the rambling and murder comparisons come to a halt and I ll spill the tea The Swallows is told from many points of views strike one Some of those views include Ms Witt, the new, mysterious and angsty creative writing teacher Basically Ms Witt stumbles upon a dark school secret that really riles up the school s female population Enters Gemma, the popular girl, who doesn t even have to try yet she is trying harder than anyone Gemma is a take no shit kind of gal, so she wants to take matters into her own hands on matters regarding this secret But as the plot unfolds, it all goes incredibly wonky resulting in an epic men are from Mars, Women are from Venus show down What didn t I like No One Asks Well I shall tell you anyways First, there are about two hundred characters minimum Yes, I am slightly exaggerating But there are so many students, parents and teachers that it was almost impossible to know who was who There were so many times I had no clue and simply could not tell one from the other So I just read it and was like Oh, remember that thing that happened to one of the 16 bazillion character with unrecognizable names I will never remember It basically was a headache to try and keep up with this storyline while simultaneously trying to remember 50 angsty characters So there goes a star And then there were 4.Next This story is being marketed as a Mystery Thriller, Women s Fiction novel I got this information from NetGalley and confirmed this genre through the Goodreads genre tags And I have to admit, it is not being marketed correctly I don t know who thought this would best target women, but the teenage point of view and high school setting outweigh the annoying, teenage like adults In my opinion, the focus of the book was far appropriate for a YA later teens aged reader I think whomever decided to label it with the Women s Fiction book did this novel a disservice It will resonate with older teenagers much better than grown women More on this genre classification It is called a Mystery Thriller I would not call this novel a thriller at all And does a not so secret secret make a novel a mystery There was no big mysterious revelation or major twist reveal My personal opinion is this classification will do harm than good for this book And then there were 3.On to the next There were honestly so many pointless plots in this story The example I am about to give is not a spoiler Ms Witt has a father who is an Author and randomly shows up all the time All her co workers and students ask if she is related to said author And it honestly amounts to a whole lot of nothing Like I really just either missed the point or my other theory is there was no point Maybe this is a whole men need women lesson No clue But if someone went through and deleted all those paragraphs the story would be no better or worse Pointless Also, Ms Witt comes to school on some than suspicious circumstances But there is a little invention called the internet So obviously someone seeks it out The big secret was kind of underwhelming This was really built up too I was essentially promised a real pony for my birthday and I got a fricken stuffed horse There is point than the famous author dad, but don t get carried away with credit there These aren t the only plots that I found no use in there were a few others But who knows maybe I am being hyper critical I will just say that I am looking forward to reviews on this one to see if others had similar feelings And then there were 2..And there you have it, a two star story Which I truly hate to give to Lisa Lutz just because she is an author that I associate with reverence But this story was not for me And I really think they should reconsider who they think the target audience for this novel truly is But I will say, I totally love the punny title That is the Lisa Lutz we know and love Thank you NetGalley and Random House Publishing for a copy of The Swallows. 3.5 stars This one took me too long to finish, and by the end, I was just wanting to get it over with That s not to say that the story itself and writing weren t good, because they absolutely were There were just so many characters I had to write them down with little notes as to who was who, because I wasn t sure who was going to turn out to be important And they all were They all played a part.So, this is the story of what goes on behind the walls of Stonebridge Academy, and private boarding school, with a long history Over the years, the boys have created a secrfet website where they rate the girls and their sexual activities Of course, the girls are oblivious to this mostly To make matters worse, the boys created a competition for the girl who gives the best oral audition You simply submit your nomination, your review, and any others who partake also review Nothing can wrong with THAT plan, right Secrets, lies, manipulations, and just plain looking the other way abounds Enter Ms Witt, a teacher who left her other position for some unknown reasons, but gets a position at Stonebridge because of who her mother and father were She helps uncover what is going on and helps the girls get their ultimate revengebut at what cost The storyline was great, the writing was great, the characters were snarky perfection It was just a bit confusing for me at time and took a bit long to get to the conclusion, and by the time I got there, I was just glad for it to be done. Memory and reality are like cousins Best case scenario, they re like first cousins But sometimes they re the kind of cousins who can marry Yes, friends That s a direct quote Please feel free to laugh out loud like I did The Swallows, is filled with tons of wittiest, wildness and it even speaks of a few ok busted many B.J s but it has no BS The Swallows was light, fluffy, youthful read to which you gladly swallow rather than spit But being an adult and a parent it is one that I find difficult to accurately give a rating to Oh, if I could only be one of the editors from this tale, perhaps I could give a better synopsis rating of the humorous tale told within this read 4 stars 4.5 stars, rounded upI was a huge fan of Lutz s The Passenger and the entire Spellman series While the Spellman books were all just great fun, The Passenger showed she had the chops to do an intriguing, serious mystery With The Swallows, we get something different again Alex Witt arrives at a New England boarding school thinking she s going to teach English Lit, but gets handed creative writing instead This isn t some posh school, it seems to be half baked than serious And what a cast of characters We hear not only from Alex, but a variety of teachers and students The students run the gamut of teenage personalities, but the adults other than Alex are off the chart weird as you would expect of anyone teaching at a third rate boarding school Lutz retains her wicked turn of phrase ability Stonebridge May look like Green Gables, but it s the Bada Bing Club for the preppy set Normally this subject matter wouldn t enthrall me Pissy, entitled teenager boys lord it over the girls in the school But, it just kept me engrossed I wanted to see if how the boys got their comeuppance It s sad to think that in 2009, the girls are still seen as objects, things to be manipulated And the ending, well, I couldn t read that ending fast enough Wow, wow, wow I had one minor quibble with the book Admittedly, we only see a microcosm of the entire school population, but I can t believe that a majority of the school officials and teachers would have been willing to turn a blind eye to the goings on My thanks to netgalley and Random House Ballantine for an advance copy of this book. The Swallows was ridiculous and over the top and I loved it If you re looking for Sex Education Netflix in book form for the MeToo generation, this is your book Just make sure you go in wanting a bit of a romp, because I think if taken too seriously, The Swallows won t land It s a fun book.It s multi POV, 1st person with helpful chapter headings to let you know whose POV you re in I only had to go back to remind myself who I was with once or twice honestly it s a case where it could have easily been in third limited and felt the same the whole book has a punchy adult literary tone that really works Alex Witt is our primary main character, the daughter of a famous crime fiction writer who fled her last teaching job in scandal and has landed at Stonebridge, a middling boarding school with a dark secret.The secret is sex The boys are garbage and treat the girls like sex objects There s this whole not so secret society thing where the boys have a digital locker room of sorts where they rate girls on their blowjob skills, and the girls who find out don t like it one bit Our primary teen character is Gemma Russo, rebel with connections to the popular set called The Ten who is out to dismantle the whole system We also get POV chapters from Finn Ford, douchebag teacher novelist, and Norman Crowley, techny nerd kid who helps fuel The Darkroom but feels bad about it.Both the female protagonists read like Manic Pixie Dream Girls if you only concentrate on the top level details Alex is brusque but sexy, witty, doesn t care about trivial bullshit, etc She s the ultimate Cool Teacher, like Dead Poets Society but a 30 something woman who gives no fucks Finn immediately sexually objectifies her, thanks his POV is there in large part to contrast to the actually fleshed out women and demonstrate gender bullshit it works Gemma is pretty but actively hides it by styling herself punk emo, she s smart and badass, always has a quip She s honestly a carbon copy of Maeve from Sex Education, and I even pictured her looking like her, hence why I drew that comparison Alex and Gemma are stereotypical strong female protagonists, who in a different book by a different author with a different POV character male, like Finn would come across as very different characters thin, shallow But they really work in Lutz s hands Both women are complex, vulnerable, and, for me, relatable Even though I have almost nothing in common with either of them I related to their spirits, and their palpable anger.This is really a book, wrapped up in a hooky commercial and slightly ridiculous plot, about anger About rape culture, MeToo, modern feminism It presents everything mostly without explicit commentary, which I appreciated It was there on the page female characters Witt s age or older who enabled the rape culture at the school, even blamed the girls The men who participated and the men who did not The spread of girls and their varying reactions to the sex games going on One woman Witt s age approximately 40 comments that they had it worse as teen girls Witt responds that, no, she thinks these girls have it worse It was straightforward, just there on the page to chew on I liked it Ultimately, I do think the book is a reflection of rape culture, rather than an answer to it I didn t leave the book feeling anything would really change for the antagonist characters.But then, okay, as I mentioned the boarding school stuff is RIDICULOUS And I love a good ridiculous boarding school book so I liked this one I almost rolled my eyes a few times though From The Ten, which posits the popular crowd in each grade was comprised of the top ten students, but not based in academics just at any given time in each grade there were ten kids who appointed themselves the most popular and they all hung out Really a stretch for me And then the Darkroom and the editors and the Dulcinea Well, ok The Darkroom I believe But every time they referred to themselves as the editors I just deep sighed The Dulcinea had a great payoff I mean it s the crux of the whole book.But I d just like to remind everyone that 60% of teens are not having sex Today teens have LESS sex than in the past So this is why you have to kind if disengage your reality filter and read this as a fun romp, because the sexual antics are a bit over the top A LOT of these girls are having sex from age 14 or 15, which I think is meant to be sex positive but just feels statistically ridiculous Every single girl depicted in this book is having sex No one is queer Many students sleep with teachers I mean, it s fine, but just something I thought of a lot reading it In that sense, it definitely feels properly like an adult book which it is , rather than a YA.Anyway, I loved reading it Highly recommend

Lisa Lutz is the New York Times bestselling author of the six books in the Spellman series, How to Start a Fire, Heads you Lose with David Hayward , and the children s book, How to Negotiate Everything illustrated by Jaime Temairik Her latest book, The Passenger, a psychological thriller, will be published March 2016 by Simon and Schuster Lutz has won the Alex award and has been nominated for

❴EPUB❵ ✼ The Swallows Author Lisa Lutz –
  • Hardcover
  • 368 pages
  • The Swallows
  • Lisa Lutz
  • English
  • 13 August 2019
  • 9781984818232

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