Grown-Ups Read – The Swallow

We’ve got another great grown-up book review to share with you today! Cathy, one of our great adult volunteers, and Chair of the Red Cedar Awards, has been reading Charis Cotter’s mysterious novel, The Swallow.

The Swallow: A Ghost Story is a book about loneliness, family secrets, and the power of friendship. It centers around two twelve year old girls in 1960s Toronto. Rose and Polly are brought together when Rose moves in to the house next door to Polly’s. 

Both girls are lonely and isolated from their families, but for completely different reasons. Rose is an only child, often left alone by her career focused parents. Polly feels ignored in her busy household filled with rambunctious younger twin brothers and older foster sisters.

Their home lives are dissimilar, and so are their personalities. Both girls are very relatable, but Rose is mysterious & cautious while Polly is humorous & adventurous. The girls find common ground in their shared interest in ghosts. When they first meet, each initially believes the other IS a ghost! The friendship develops and an adventure ensues (they conveniently live across the street from a graveyard), with genuinely spooky results.

One could describe this book as a paranormal The Secret Garden. It is a beautifully written, suspense-filled book that will appeal to middle grade readers and grown-ups alike.


Besides being the fearless leader of the Red Cedar Awards, Cathy is a librarian at the West Vancouver Public Library.

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