Book Review: The Swallow A Ghost Story by Charis Cotter


Title: The Swallow: A Ghost Story

Author: Charis Cotter

Publisher: Tundra Books

Release Date: September 9, 2014


Book Summary:

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.

Another Canadian book!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was interested in this book because it takes place in Toronto, Ontario and it sounded like a fun little ghost story and it didn’t disappoint me.  It follows two 12 year old girls (Polly and Rose) who couldn’t be more opposite.  Rose is quiet, shy, awkward girl who’s an only child and Polly is very outspoken, adventurous girl who is part of a large family including siblings and foster children.  The story is told from both girl’s perspective, which I thought was a nice way of providing more story and insight into the girl’s family lives.  We also find out that Rose can see ghost, which is Polly’s dream.

We follow the girls through their adventures and discoveries.  Charis has some nice twists and turns in there so that  you aren’t exactly sure what will happen next.  I had many theories throughout the novel and each time I thought I knew what was going to happen in the end we learn new information.  There were a couple of parts in the book that would scare younger children (of those who are more easily scared).  I grew tense in a couple parts of the book and I wondered how exactly I would have reacted if I was more within the age group this was written for (closer to 12 years old).

I haven’t read many ghost stories and it was a perfect time to read it – being October and all).  I couldn’t put the book down – I wanted to know what would happen next, what the next twist would be, and how the girls would solve their mysteries.  I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend this to anyone who likes ghosts, looking for a Halloween themed book, or into mysteries.  I think even those who scare easily or do not typically like this genre would still enjoy it.  It is not only a ghost story but a story of friendship and family and how to handle life’s difficulties (from a child’s perspective).  It shows that it’s OK to be different and to embrace those differences instead of wishing them away and hoping to be “normal”.


Rating: 4/5 – Great Book

Content: Clean Read

Source: Review Copy

This book can be purchased at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Chapters Indigo


  1. Great review, I think this is something I would enjoy!