The Swallow : A Ghost Story by Charis Cotter

The Swallow : A Ghost Story by Charis Cotter 

Age range: 9-12 
Pages- 315
Release date: 09/2014

Set in the 1960s in Toronto,Canada, this book follows two young 12 year old girls named Polly and Rose. In this alternate perspective book, the girls discover that they are neighbors who share a wall of their home. Both girls are seeking a friend, and they start to talk through the wall. They soon decide to meet in a graveyard behind their homes. When the girls meet, they instantly become friends...but something is off.  The girls walk past a grave stone with Rose's name on it. Could she be a ghost & not know it?  Polly has always wanted to see a ghost, and Rose has the gift to see ghosts. Using each other's interests and powers, the girls  discover a curse and discover more ghosts then they ever thought was imaginable. 


This book is filled with friendship, grief, and mystery. I still don't know what to think of it. There was a scene where Polly gets attacked by a spirit. I was a little disturbed by this. 

I felt like this book was complex. You didn't know what was real and what wasn't. It might be too intense for some readers, but I did enjoy trying to solve the mystery.  I also enjoyed the powerful theme of family and friendship.  Although it was creepy, it wasn't too scary. The ghosts were friendly for the most part. It makes me think of the movie Caspar. There was a lot of depth to it. 

I think readers who enjoy Mary Hahn books, might enjoy something like this. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. This is for the real ghost lovers. 

The author after all was inspired to write the book based on her own ghost experiences.  If you aren't a ghost believer, I would steer clear of this one. 

Overall I would give this read three stars. 

 I do see some of my tweens enjoying it, but just wasn't the right book for me. 

I have been reading a lot of dark middle grade lately. Has anyone else noticed the reoccurring themes of ghosts and pandemics?  

There also seems to be more and more historical mysteries lately. I like it, but I am a little surprised of this direction in middle grade literature. 

I did find a great list of middle grade novels through Voya Magazine. I was able to find this book and some other great reads. 

Check it out here: Voya Middle School Top Shelf

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