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The Swallows

A Novel
By: Lisa Lutz
Length: 11 hrs
Categories: Fiction, Humor
4.5 out of 5 stars (54 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A teacher at a New England prep school ignites a gender war - with deadly consequences - in this dark and provocative novel by the best-selling author of The Passenger

“Suspenseful and utterly riveting!” (Tess Gerritsen)

When Alexandra Witt joins the faculty at Stonebridge Academy, she’s hoping to put a painful past behind her. Then one of her creative writing assignments generates some disturbing responses from students. Before long, Alex is immersed in an investigation of the students atop the school’s social hierarchy - and their connection to something called the Darkroom. She soon inspires the girls who’ve started to question the school’s “boys will be boys” attitude and incites a resistance. But just as the movement is gaining momentum, Alex attracts the attention of an unknown enemy who knows a little too much about her - and 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 of revenge and disruption 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. 

Cast of Narrators:
Abby Elliot as Gemma Russo
Lisa Flanagan as Ms. Witt
Ari Fliakos as Mr. Ford
Michael Crouch as Norman Crowley
and with Johnny Heller reading The Announcements 

Advance praise for The Swallows

“Wes Anderson meets Muriel Spark in this delicious and vicious battle of the sexes set within a private school. Wickedly fun and wildly subversive but packing an emotional punch, The Swallows is as powerful as it is timely.” (Nationally best-selling author Megan Abbott) 

“Sharpen your axes, ladies, and get ready for this fierce, fun, unsparing novel of female rage, power, and friendship.” (Camille Perri, author of The Assistants and When Katie Met Cassidy)

©2019 Lisa Lutz (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“In her witty and charming style, Lutz offers a genre-busting work of fiction that will satisfy readers looking for a seriously engaging read. The story itself is disturbingly plausible, and the humanly flawed characters make choices, good and bad, based on their backgrounds, all blending smoothly into a darkly comedic mystery . . . . This novel keeps readers on the edge of their seats while opening a conversation about public shaming, economic privilege, gender inequity, and revenge versus justice.” (Booklist, starred review)

“Lutz draws on the droll humor and idiosyncratic characterizations that make her Spellman novels so appealing . . . . An offbeat, darkly witty pre-#MeToo revenge tale. The patriarchy doesn’t stand a chance.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“[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)

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Lisa Lutz kicks butt!!

This was an excellent book. a stunning commentary of teen life in the digital age. The characters resonate, the dialogue is clear and carries the story along.
Interesting organization no “chapters” per se, just different perspectives from students and teachers in a private school. Once you start it you won’t want to stop.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Impressive!

Very fresh. Original and well plotted with characters you will like and hate and everything in between. The build up is great and interesting with no blah hurry up and get there moments.
It's a book to savor and enjoy.
Good job Ms. Lutz!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good but implausible

The lack of supervision of teenagers at a private academy was a bit hard to believe. There were just a lot of things that were implausible. But other than that it was a good listen and I liked the narrators.