The Swallow: A Ghost Story

Two old houses stand side by side overlooking a cemetery. In one house is Polly. In the other is Rose. They couldn’t be more different. Polly lives in a large, noisy family, while Rose is often left alone by her busy parents. Polly has a wild imagination and speaks before she thinks; Rose broods and says little. Polly’s greatest desire is to see a ghost, while Rose just wishes she could stop seeing them.

Both girls spend their days feeling lonely and invisible, until they discover their attic hideaways share a wall. Despite their differences, the two become friends.  But is there more to Rose than meets the eye? 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, they set out to unravel the mystery. A haunted house, a curse and a family secret all come to light as the two girls explore the uncertain world between life—and death.


Silver Birch Honour Award 

IODE Violet Downey Book Award

Finalist, NL Book Awards

More Awards

What people are saying about The Swallow:

Spooky tension, friendship and compassion permeate this exquisitely plotted middle-grade ghost story… the story structure weaves its way in and out—riveting and tumbling with tension but never obvious, leaving readers wondering if anything is really as it seems. The protagonists are both spooky and delightfully down-to-earth, and readers will seesaw between chills and snorts of laughter. When Cotter delivers the final twist, it is a denouement that becomes a springboard for greater revelations that lead to even greater reader satisfaction. Middle-grade storytelling at its very best—extraordinary.  —Kirkus

The mysteries our two young heroines set out to solve will keep readers eagerly turning the pages, and the author’s attention to detail gives the book depth and emotional resonance. The prose is haunting and evocative. The Swallow doesn’t just fly; it soars. —Canadian Children’s Book News

It is a fantastic addition to Toronto literature, with all the makings of a classic. —Quill and Quire


More Reviews ... 


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Interview with Charis

A video interview in two parts about The Swallow with fellow children's author Valerie Francis.

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