The Swallows by Lisa Lutz Audiobook Review

This was one of those listens that makes you want to keep driving to hear more.

The Swallows by Lisa Lutz

Released August 2019

Dark Fiction  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon 

Source: Library Borrow
11 hours, 1 minute

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

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.

My 2 Cents For Free!

The Swallows takes a look at the sexual antics taking place at a small private school. Antics that are allowed to continue even as underage girls are rated and shamed and end up leaving the school when the hoard decides to turn on them. It’s pretty awful stuff and the title is exactly what you might think it is as well as a little something more.

All the things get stirred up when a new teacher arrives at the school. She has the teens fill out an anonymous questionnaire and notices some disturbing answers that send her on a mission to find out exactly what “The Dark Room” is and why so many fear/hate it. One thing leads to another and the young ladies realize they have a way to fight back and fix the power imbalance and when it happens it is a glorious thing. Though I wish it had been darker and nastier but I’m a terrible person who definitely reads too much horror, haha.

This book was one of those infectious reads that make you stop everything to keep reading/listening. I knew revenge was ultimately coming because I might’ve sneaked a peek at a review or two just to be sure and I was there for it. My only real complaint was the huge cast. It’s too large for this book, if you’re asking me, and especially if you are listening on audio because many voices sound too similar. And everyone has a side-story. There are teachers, students, groundskeepers, a parent or two. I had some trouble keeping up with names and histories and connections and hookups and other dastardly deeds, I cannot lie. Even with that said, it was a still a strong enough gossipy story that I never felt the need to shut it down forever. I’ll always wish the ending had been longer (it felt SO rushed), bleaker and meaner but I know all books can’t end the way Cockblock by C.V. Hunt did!

4 out of 5


  1. Great review. I've seen this on my library shelves so maybe I'll pick it up now. "...I wish it had been darker and nastier but I’m a terrible person who definitely reads too much horror..." I love how you think :)

  2. You had me at New York Prep School. :D

  3. "Sooner or later, girls will be girls" ooh love the sound of that. This sounds totally awesome- the revenge part- although I hear you on wishing it was even darker. Sounds like a story just crying out for some NASTY revenge lol. I read her earlier book the Passenger a couple years ago too, so I'll definitely keep an eye out for this.

    1. I think you'll love it, Greg! I hope you get to read it.

  4. I have really liked most of the books by Lisa Lutz that I have read. I wasn't sure about this one but it sounds like I need to give this one a try.

    1. I haven't read her others (yet) but this was a good one!

  5. I've never heard of this one but I don't think it would be for me. I can understand wanting it to be more, I've had that happen when reading a dark book before.

  6. I've been thinking about trying this one. So happy you enjoyed it!


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