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The Swallows
The Swallows: A Novel | Lisa Lutz
61 posts | 49 read | 59 to read
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.
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suvata
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Pickpick

“The Swallows is fast-moving, darkly humorous and at times shockingly vicious. The battle of the sexes within its pages couldn‘t be more compelling….Lutz delivers a frantic, morbidly funny story.” —BookPage

“[Lutz] takes no prisoners….She builds her plot cannily and walks a neat line between satire and realism [in a] withering portrayal of how the #MeToo movement plays out in this rarefied setting.” —Publishers Weekly

44 likes2 stack adds
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AUDIOBOOKINGWITHLEAH
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Mehso-so

3⭐The writing is there, and the characters were compelling if not likable…for the first ½, I was fully invested to see what was going to go down because I knew what I was getting myself into what with the scandalous topics and the fact that it all felt a little much for HS kids to pull off. Past the halfway mark is where it fell apart. It became too much for me to “swallow” and overall, there is entirely too much complicity going on in this book.

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Sarahreadstoomuch
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Pickpick

What has plot holes the size of submarines, is snort-worthy funny, and also quite disgusting and maddening? This book right here. Excellent on audio, was hooked from the beginning to find out what happens and how, all while also feeling nauseated by the gross patriarchal system of this boarding school. Still thinking about it, wondering whaaaattt?? And happy I listened. It was a total fluke.

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Cinfhen
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This book is HILARIOUS 😂 GREAT recommendation @Megabooks ♥️ I‘m getting “Tampa” vibes 😆 and I‘m hoping to use it for #DarkAcademia #Pop21 #Frenemies #Booked2021

Cinfhen My early hunch is you will HATE this @4thhouseontheleft 2y
Kalalalatja I have a feeling you are flying through books at the moment! Well done on keeping that reading energy going 🙌🙌 (edited) 2y
Cinfhen I‘m definitely on a roll this month @Kalalalatja ♥️and almost all the books have been excellent 🎉🎉🎉 2y
Megabooks So glad you like it! I definitely think it will work for those prompts! 2y
Cinfhen I‘m loving it @Megabooks but I‘m not sure the frenemies prompt will work 🤷🏼‍♀️I still have about 5 hours to go, so maybe that‘ll change. 2y
83 likes3 stack adds5 comments
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Linsy
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Pickpick

Good book! Well plotted and kept me interested. Instead of just flipping through the gossip and intrigue though, it just made me sad. Maybe it hit too close to home? Or I‘m not in the mood? Or maybe I was supposed to be sad and not find it salacious. I really don‘t know. 🍒

#merryreaders #wintergames2020
#tbrread

GingerAntics It has a sad vibe? Hm. I guess from reading the description I knew it wasn‘t going to be the happiest book in the world. If they‘ve made it realistic it‘s not going to have a happy ending or anything. 2y
74 likes1 comment
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Linsy
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GingerAntics Neither am I 2y
Linsy @GingerAntics The you might like this book! I‘m enjoying it, but not as much I hoped I would. Can‘t tell if that‘s because I‘m comparing it to Truly Devious though. 2y
Jaimelire 😂 2y
GingerAntics This looks like quite the book. This is definitely going on my wish list. 2y
BeaG 😂😂😂 2y
61 likes5 comments
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monalyisha
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THE END IS NIGH! Of 2020, that is. Which means that it's almost time for my IRL Book Club to choose our books for the coming year! Here are my top choices.

Which two would you submit?

sb3626 City of Girls and Here for it would be my votes! 2y
thegreensofa I would pick The Memory Police myself 🤔. Japanese novels are so good for discussion, and that one sounds so intriguing! I hadn‘t heard of it. 2y
monalyisha @thegreensofa It was on either a long or short list for the National Book Award's “Best Book in Translation“ last year! 2y
See All 16 Comments
monalyisha Okay. I've narrowed it down to 7 -- not “How to Do Nothing“ or “City of Girls.“ (Sorry, @sb3626! “Here for It“ is still a contender!) (edited) 2y
sb3626 @monalyisha I can‘t wait to hear what you choose either way! 2y
Bookwormjillk I‘ve only read City of Girls but I liked it 2y
Megabooks Nothing to See Here and The Swallows are great. I HATED Three Women. Like I struggled to give it 1⭐️. 2y
SilversReviews I have only read NOTHING TO SEE HERE, and I enjoyed it. 2y
Hooked_on_books Here For It and The Memory Police are both superb and have lots of discussion material for book club. 2y
monalyisha @Hooked_on_books That's the kind of info I need! Thanks! 2y
monalyisha @Megabooks I keep leaning toward The Swallows, tbh. Tell me more (sans spoilers) about why you hated Three Women! I find the premise so intriguing! 2y
Megabooks @monalyisha The Swallows would be good for discussion I think. Three Women, I believe I described it as female pain porn in my review. The way it was written was very prurient and exploitative of the women she wrote about. And that just pissed me off!! 2y
monalyisha @Megabooks Oh yeesh. Thanks for the heads-up! 2y
shadowspeak17 The Memory Police and Nothing to See Here are both really good. 2y
rsteve388 Nothing to See Here and City of.Girls are excellent. 2y
73 likes16 comments
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Gnora
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Challenge 15 of 50: A book with a bird on the cover

Since 2020 has been the longest year in existence, I had almost forgotten I had listened to The Swallows all the way back in February. It's a great boarding school novel with a riveting and topical plot. Also, it has a bird on the cover. lol 🐦

#popsugar #readingchallenge #2020 #audio #libby #librarybook #litsyloveslibraries

Erinreadsthebooks I enjoyed this book and I feel you on the longest year ever 🤦‍♀️😩 2y
12 likes1 comment
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nichollinlove
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Pickpick

"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 fight dirty."

A great book to start my spooky reading season with.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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BookishMarginalia
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An unexpected “blowchart” pops up in the middle of the novel... after the protagonist holds an impromptu sex ed lesson with a few of her female students to drive home the fact that if they don‘t want to, they should not.

vlwelser She had me at, "Have you done your homework?" I ? this author. I may need to get my hands on this book. 3y
MoonWitch94 This is hilarious & so right 3y
114 likes4 stack adds2 comments
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BookishMarginalia
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Breezing through this novel that I started in the wee hours of the morning.

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BookishMarginalia
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I love coming upon unexpected #BookishMaps!

erzascarletbookgasm 🙌 yup! Love book maps! 3y
JGadz11 I‘m reading You are Here, which is a gorgeous art/literary/imaginative perspective of maps as one of the things that makes us human. Highly recommend! 3y
Erinreadsthebooks I loved this book! 3y
105 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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BookishMarginalia
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Starting this Lisa Lutz stand-alone novel tonight, as the rain continues to fall and the thunder rattles the windows. #LibraryLove

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NerdyRev
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Mehso-so

While this has a good empowering story of women overcoming a sexual BJ contest they weren‘t aware they were in, my rating comes from more the length and the flow of the book. The main story itself is well done with a good twist and the storytelling with multiple voices fit the book well. It was how many times we saw the same scene or the amount of extra non needed story lines there were in the book. It distracted from a very good story.

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artkavanagh
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I downloaded the sample (first) chapter from Apple Books but I want to get a print copy to read. Here‘s the opening, which persuaded me that, yes, I do want to read this.

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Megabooks
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Lisa posted the infamous “blow chart” from this book in her Instagram stories today. I really love her books!! She has such great humor with wry insight. Happy valentines (late)! 😂💕

Bookzombie “This chart looks blurry.” 😂😂 3y
Megabooks @Bookzombie right?!? Lolololol 😂 3y
LeahBergen 😆😆 3y
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julesG 😂😂😂 3y
batsy 😂😂 3y
Soubhiville This is great! 3y
Blaire 😂😂😂 3y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 🤣🤣🤣🤣 this cracks me up!!! 3y
Meaw_catlady No is absolutely the right answer 3y
DebinHawaii Too funny! This book is in my #TBR stack & now I want to move it up! 🤣🤣🤣 3y
Megabooks @Meaw_catlady 🙌🏻🙌🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 3y
Megabooks @DebinHawaii I hope you enjoy it! 3y
Megabooks @LeahBergen @julesG @batsy @Soubhiville @Blaire @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks This is my third book by Lisa and she‘s a really fun, yet insightful writer!! Glad she made you lol!! 👍🏻😂 3y
Reviewsbylola 🤣🤣🤣 3y
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JoyBlue
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Bailedbailed

bailed at 38% (4:11:48)

spoiled teenagers performing/talking incessantly about blow jobs—no thanks!

Soubhiville Lol, nope, does not sound good. 3y
JoyBlue @Soubhiville LOL—I'm glad I'm not *totally* alone in that feeling. It's highly rated by others. To each their own. 3y
ljuliel Good grief. YUK 3y
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JoyBlue @ljuliel LOL—you can say that again! 3y
Redwritinghood Yeah. I bailed on this one too. 3y
JoyBlue @Redwritinghood Always glad not to be alone! Also glad when others have a better experience. I'm flexible that way! 😉 😂 3y
49 likes6 comments
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CBee
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Pickpick

I‘ve seen mixed reviews on this one, but I think it‘s an appropriate read for our time. This is set way before #metoo, but just because the movement didn‘t have a name or hashtag, doesn‘t mean it wasn‘t just as prevalent. I realize this is fiction, but is it really?
Also, definitely a few trigger warnings in this one.

Scochrane26 There‘s always been NF/fiction books about sexual abuse/assault, but I feel like metoo has brought new books & maybe made some older ones re-emerge. I was thinking today of past books I read, mostly in grad school, because I started She Said. 3y
CBee @Scochrane26 agreed. She Said is on my TBR, I‘m interested to read it. Hopefully next year. 3y
Scochrane26 I haven‘t read much yet, but so far, it‘s good. @CBee and I really like this quote. 3y
CBee @Scochrane26 I thought it was an incredible way to end the book. 3y
36 likes1 stack add4 comments
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hermioneshandbag
This post contains spoilers
show me

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 fight dirty.

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LaurenELovesToRead
Pickpick

The Swallows is impressive in many ways but mainly due to the writing skills of author Lisa Lutz. I loved the character development of Ms Witt, and also of Gemma and Linny. It was one of those storylines that make you disappointed in human kind, it is important though as girls are taken advantage of in the real world and it shouldn‘t be ignored.

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JennyM
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One heck of a #borderline is being crossed by the kids at Stonebridge Academy. But plans are afoot, and my Saturday night will be spent with the last 100 pages to see how it all plays out! #movember #smashingthepatriarchy 👊

Megabooks Loved this book! 3y
Megabooks Also, this is my favorite of hers and an excellent audiobook! 3y
JennyM @Megabooks oooo, thank you. I‘ll add to my audiobook list. Just finished this one - good book with a powerful message💥 (edited) 3y
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Cinfhen Need to check out this book and yours @Megabooks xx 3y
JennyM @Cinfhen you have to suspend belief a bit. And I don‘t know what @Megabooks thinks, but it felt a bit YAish to me. Don‘t think it is though, is it Meg? 3y
Megabooks @JennyM @Cinfhen I think all the teen characters could push it YA, but I felt the use of the teacher (Ms Witt) to really drive the story put it adult for me. My meter for YA is “would I hand this to a parent friend of an 8th grader (13/14 yo) and say, ‘your kid would love this!‘?” The answer to that question about this book would be no. At least not around here. 2-0 adult 🤷🏻‍♀️ 3y
Cinfhen I like your barometer @Megabooks but I put YA at a higher age like 15-18 and that changes the perspective so I will adjust my expectations 😘 3y
Megabooks @Cinfhen I put it lower because I think that most kids that read a lot are starting the YA books in middle school. Are there some that I still consider YA, that I might say, “give some guidance with this one (to a 13 yo).” Sure. But overall, I put the bar a little younger. 3y
Cinfhen That‘s probably true @Megabooks voracious readers are reading YA in MiddleSchool but I‘m not sure authors are writing for that particular age group. It‘s hard to understand/ classify these genres (edited) 3y
Cinfhen Books are for everyone and every reader!!!!! 3y
JennyM @Megabooks @cinfhen so interesting to hear how you both gauge books. For me, it felt YA because of some of the themes (which I won‘t mention due to spoilers). But content wise I wouldn‘t give this to anyone under the age of at least 17. I‘ve googled, and I don‘t think it is classified as YA. 3y
Cinfhen For me, if a book feels OVERLY DRAMATIC or OVERLY ANGSTY and it‘s filled with “ teen talk” I tend to classify it as YA 🤷🏼‍♀️ 3y
Megabooks @Cinfhen @JennyM I would say this is not that, Cindy! I agree there‘s different levels of YA. Like Julie Murphy‘s stuff I‘d definitely give to a middle schooler, but Emergency Contact is more 15+, but definitely angsty and romantic enough to be YA. Why is there always romance in YA????????? 3y
Cinfhen I definitely have to read this now just to satisfy my curiosity @Megabooks @JennyM I did read and really like this book by Lisa Lutz 3y
Megabooks @Cinfhen I liked The Passenger too. I own it and How to Start a Fire, and I liked them so much, I bought The Swallows on pub day. 👍🏻 I haven‘t read The Spellman Files series, though. I‘m generally not into series. 3y
53 likes1 stack add15 comments
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Godpants
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Pickpick

The escalation was a bit insane to me, but overall a really fun one. #scarathlon #teamStoker 6 points.

BeansPage Is this a team theme read at all? 3y
Godpants @thereadingmermaid sorry, just a regular read! 6 points, forgot to post that part! 3y
BeansPage Oh that's okay sweetheart that's why I check. Thank you for clarifying 😘😘 🧟‍♀️ 3y
6 likes3 comments
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Godpants
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I love a good mystery that takes place at a fancy pants boarding school so I‘m already flying through this one. #scarathlon #teamStoker 1 point

BeansPage 🧟‍♀️ 3y
7 likes1 comment
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IheartYA
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Mehso-so

I expected this to be deliciously sinister, phenomenally powerful. It was not. I wanted this to be deep and magnificent but all I found was a shallow pond of ordinary. The excessive cast of unrelatable and unlikable characters, stirred with alternating POVs and unnecessary details clogged up the storyline. If I hadn't liked the writing so much, The Swallows would have been swallowed up by my DNF pile.

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MicheleinPhilly
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SUPER SALE ALERT! $1.99 each. #KindleDailyDeal #KindleDeals

MicheleinPhilly AND MAKE SURE YOU CHECK YOUR SHELVES FOR THE HB COPY YOU PURCHASED AT FULL PRICE FIRST! 🤦🏻‍♀️ 3y
rockpools Oops! 3y
48 likes3 comments
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kedupre
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Mehso-so

i had a few issues with character-overload, and believability/likeability. I kept silent-screaming “where are the adults?!?” Even the adults acted like children. But I guess a novel where the problem was solved calmly and logically wouldn‘t be a very exciting novel 😆

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AmberWB
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Pickpick

YES!!! This book—-wow. It was dark and quirky and powerful. The last chapter made me want to run around yelling “Smash the patriarchy!!” ✊🏻✊🏻✊🏻

Megabooks Loved this book! 3y
AmberWB @Megabooks I want that last paragraph on a t shirt!!! 3y
JoScho Love this 🙌🏼 3y
gibblr Umm hello I need this in my life 3y
37 likes1 stack add5 comments
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Kappadeemom
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Loved this book and the last paragraph is the best part of the book, in my opinion. #girlpower

44 likes2 stack adds
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Kappadeemom
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Multi tasking - golf, reading and hanging with my dogger #dorkie #jack

Tamra That‘s a happy face! 3y
JulietReads That's one happy dog. 3y
60 likes2 comments
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Kappadeemom
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Reading with my #dorkie #Jack

45 likes1 stack add
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jennw1212
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AmberWB
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Really enjoying this one so far!

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TheNerdyProfessor
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Grateful that Riley Dog isn't as devious as the characters in this novel.

OriginalCyn620 So cute!!! 🐶❤️ 3y
Suet624 Awww...💕 3y
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Erinreadsthebooks
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Pickpick

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 A super important novel that reiterated the importance of the Me Too movement. I loved the characters and setting the author created. I loved the badassery shown by the young female characters. My English teacher heart loved the prep school setting and English teacher main character. I wish the ending had been handled differently, but that‘s my only complaint...and it‘s a tiny complaint 🤷‍♀️ A total pick in my book 👍🙌✔️🔥

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Erinreadsthebooks
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As excited as I am about new Atwood today, I‘m not putting down The Swallows, and THAT says a lot about how much I‘m enjoying this book 💯

Bren912 I just started it and am crazy about it so far. 3y
Erinreadsthebooks @Bren912 I just finished it and loved it! 3y
37 likes2 comments
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DebinHawaii
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My #library #bookhaul from yesterday. My hold came in on a business management book I learned about on a webinar & my hold came back around on Ayesha at Last. Then I found The Huntress available in the new books section & pulled the tagged book out of a small box of #ARC s that one of the librarians gives me to go through. 🤗 The orange wooden dragonfly was given to me at work. It‘s from Vietnam & balances on the point on its head.

Cinfhen Awesomeness 💕👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 3y
Megabooks I loved The Swallows! 3y
Prairiegirl_reading I‘m half way through The Swallows on audio and it‘s really good so far!! Quick read. 3y
CafeMom I love Lisa Lutz. I didn't realize she had a new book out. 3y
72 likes4 comments
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Erinreadsthebooks
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This is a conversation between a prep school student and his teacher. That reference to Gatsby speaks to my English teacher soul...cracks me up 😏 I‘m loving this book!

30 likes2 stack adds
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Erinreadsthebooks
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A tiny bit of morning reading before heading to work. I‘m about 💯 pages into this book and I‘m digging it 🌟🤓

28 likes1 stack add
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LaceyDoesLit
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Pickpick
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IrresponsibleReader
Pickpick

From the funny and dark beginning, to the perfect and bitingly ominous last three paragraphs this is a winner. Timely & appropriate, but using tropes and themes that are familiar, Lutz has given us a thriller for our day—provocative, entertaining, and haunting. One of those books that hews really close to things that could or have happened and you're better off hoping are fictional. Lutz is always very good, The Swallows is Lutz at her best.

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UnabridgedPod
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Pickpick

This is my first book by Lisa Lutz, and I will *definitely* be reading more. The Swallows is SUCH an excellent boarding school novel. It's fast paced, suspenseful, and horrifying. Alternating between multiple perspectives, the book leads the reader through the characters' discovery of an insidious plot perpetrated by The Ten, the top tier of students in each class. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod Alex Witt, a new teacher, is one catalyst for a plot from both within and outside of The Ten to put an end to a practice (no spoilers here!) that is cruel and misogynistic. As I came to know the characters at the novel's center and to watch the push and pull of their relationships with each other, I was completely absorbed. ⬇️ 3y
UnabridgedPod I didn't completely love the ending--for me, it didn't quite live up to the beautiful build of tension in the rest of the book--but I absolutely adored the bulk of The Swallows. 3y
14 likes1 stack add2 comments
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kbuggle
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Pickpick

Listened to this on audio and it was the perfect end of summer read- told from four viewpoints and based at a boarding school, the story follows a teacher new to the school and a secret student competition that comes to light when the female students start to learn how they‘ve been involved without their knowledge.

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ReadingSusan
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Mehso-so

This was disappointing.

I was provided an advanced copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

mcipher Awww, I loved The Spellman Files and have Hugh hopes for this one - what would you say was disappointing about it? 3y
ReadingSusan @mcipher I was excited to read this one because the concept was awesome with the underground resistance at a boarding school. But it ended up falling really flat for me. The characters were blah and the story wasn‘t that engaging. If it had not been an ARC I wouldn‘t have finished it. I haven‘t read the Spellman files but I have heard good things. 3y
mcipher Well I hope you try them and like them better! 3y
71 likes3 comments
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TheLibrarian
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Stopped into B&N last night and snagged these beauties! #bookhaul

tammysue Nice haul! 3y
DGRachel I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The Escape Room. Looks like some great choices there! 3y
83 likes1 stack add2 comments
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C_ster
Pickpick

While I miss Lisa‘s lighter writing (the Spellman series had me often laughing), her writing remains taut and thoughtful

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Megabooks
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed this darkly comic look at boarding school even though some parts of had an unfortunate ring of truth. I most related to the teacher, Ms Witt. My actions probably would have been similar to hers, for better or for worse. NSFW part of the review in a spoiler tag, but no actual spoilers.

Megabooks The top five senior guys (by popularity) run an online bulletin board rating girls by their ability to give blow jobs. Any guy can rate, but only the top five decide the winner each year. Sick. The girls find out, and all hell breaks loose! (edited) 3y
DrexEdit I *almost * bought this one today. 😊 Still looking forward to reading it! 3y
Megabooks @DrexEdit I hope you enjoy it!! 3y
109 likes4 stack adds3 comments
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Megabooks
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For all you map lovers!

I‘m really enjoying this tongue-in-cheek look at prep school! Yesterday‘s book mail 📭

ChasingOm I can‘t wait to read this one — I‘m waiting for my library hold!! 3y
Megabooks @ChasingOm I‘m about 150 pages in and loving it!! 3y
ChasingOm Right after I read your comment, I checked my email and my hold has come in! 😂 I‘m meant to read this book!! 3y
86 likes1 stack add4 comments