Monday, October 27, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Swallow

With Halloween just around the corner, why not read a ghost story? I enjoyed this surprising and spooky story about two neighbours. I borrowed the e-book from my local library.

From Amazon:

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.
The Swallow by Charis Cotter, Tundra Books, 2014

My Take:

From the beginning, I was intrigued by the idea that one of the girls was able to see ghosts. The mystery of the angry ghost and what exactly the connections were between the ghosts and the girls kept me reading!

This story was told from two different points of view, which is always a challenge for a writer. To learn from this book, I’d look more closely to see how the writer used these different points of view to keep the story unfolding, and ways that she worked to keep them distinct.

Opening Line:

“There’s no place for me. I’m getting squeezed out of my own house.”


“I’m always trying to become invisible in this house, trying to find the one place I can be myself where no one can bother me.”

“It would surprise a lot of people in the world if they found out what ghosts are really like.”

“She was wearing her long black dress with the white collar and staring at my father with that same, hungry, longing look that I recognized from the eyes of every ghost I had ever seen.”

“Cold from the stone steps was seeping up through my cloak and turning me to ice.”

Visit Newfoundland author Charis Cotter at her website:


  1. Sounds like a great October read. And love the Toronto setting. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Awesome! My daughter would probably eat this book up, and I'll admit, I would consume it along with her. Thanks for sharing it!

    Unleashing the Dreamworld

  3. You're right: this would be a perfect Halloween read. I hadn't heard of it before, so thanks for the recommendation. Dual POVS are rare in MG books.

  4. I am totally into ghosts. Must check this one out, Andrea!

  5. I love the old-fashioned feel of the cover That alone makes me want to read this. :) I also like the hints that this is more than just a ghost story, but about two lonely girls, so there's an emotional plot as well. Will be checking this one out!


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