The Swallow: A Ghost Story

20300222Author: Charis Cotter
Publisher: Random House of Canada Limited; Tundra Books
Series: N/A
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror, Paranormal, Mystery
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Format: eArc from Net Galley

In 1960s Toronto, two girls retreat to their attics to escape the loneliness and isolation of their lives. Polly lives in a house bursting at the seams with people, while Rose is often left alone by her busy parents. Polly is a down-to-earth dreamer with a wild imagination and an obsession with ghosts; Rose is a quiet, ethereal waif with a sharp tongue. Despite their differences, both girls spend their days feeling invisible and seek solace in books and the cozy confines of their respective attics. But soon they discover they aren’t alone–they’re actually neighbors, sharing a wall. They develop an unlikely friendship, and Polly is ecstatic to learn that Rose can actually see and talk to ghosts. Maybe she will finally see one too! But is there more to Rose than it seems? Why does no one ever talk to her? And why does she look so… ghostly? When the girls find a tombstone with Rose’s name on it in the cemetery and encounter an angry spirit in her house who seems intent on hurting Polly, they have to unravel the mystery of Rose and her strange family… before it’s too late. {}


My Review:
I truly enjoyed this story.

This is a great ghost story that has you hooked from the first sentence. This story reminded me of late nights spent wrapped up in a blanket by the fire reading Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz. It is wonderfully suspenseful and had me wondering what I actually see in the shadowy corners of my room.

However, it did take a while for me to get in to the groove of the story. I attribute that to the chapters being alternately told between Rose and Polly, which to be honest, confused me at first because I could not understand why these two completely different characters were a part of the same story. But, after the first half Polly and Rose’s individual perspectives start to co-mingle and the story starts to pick up and soon has you quick to turn the page for the conclusion.

Both Polly and Rose were wonderfully three-dimensional. I never questioned if these two characters were actually children. They had the emotions and actions of two young girls, who will do anything to solve the mystery and keep their friendship. But, I do not think that this will be an easy book for middle grade readers to get in to. It reads more like a classic (The Secret Garden,  or anything by LM Montgomery), which I adore, but would be difficult for a younger reader to understand, at least without some perseverance.

However, even with the possibility that this will not appeal to middle grade readers I would recommend this book to any one, including middle grade readers, who enjoy a good ghost story with a slight Victorian feel.



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