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.


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

The Swallow is a page turner, full of mystery, chills and unexpected plot twists. Polly and Rose are very real and their unlikely friendship gives added depth to this wonderful novel. Just a terrific read. —Janet Macnaughton, author of Dragon Seer, The Saltbox Sweater among others

Ghosts are everywhere...or are they?  Who has the power to know?  Rose and Polly have lots of questions, especially about one ghost in particular, as the maze of a mystery becomes more and more complicated by secrets from the past. The Swallow is a ghost story and much more.  It's a story of loss and longing, of friendship and family love that will keep you quickly turning pages, gripped by the voices of Rose and Polly, to the very last page. —Sylvia Gunnery, author of Emily for Real, Chewing Gum and Other Crimes, among others

“Fantastically creepy! This is an easy sell for reluctant readers.” —Leah Griffin, Teacher Librarian, VOYA Top Shelf committee member

 "Incredibly addictive , once you start it, I dare you to stop reading it." —Susana, Paperback Wonderland









IODE Violet Downey Book Award 2015

Honour Book, Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award, 2015

Diamond Willow Award 2016, Finalist

Red Cedar Award 2016, Finalist

Rocky Mountain Book Award 2016, Finalist

Hackmatack Book Award 2016, Finalist

CYBILS, Speculative Fiction for Elementary and Middle Grades, 2014 Finalist

Halloween Book Festival Winner, Young Adult, 2014

VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers 2014

OLA’s Junior Fiction Top 10 Best Bets for 2014

Kidlit Books of the Year 2014, Quill and Quire

Co-operative Children’s Book Centre, Choices 2015

Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Best Books for Kids and Teens 2015, Starred Selection