The first Robyn Harding book I read was Her Pretty Face, I read that at the beginning of last year, and I felt that it was so incredible how rich the characters were. Many thrillers that I read have cookie cutter characters that really don’t make an impression or stand out in any way, they’re all the same one with different names, faces, and accents, but still relatively the same. But Harding’s characters are like an expensive dark chocolate, there’s more going on than just chocolate. Nutty, sweet, sharp, and underlying it all, a bitterness that speaks to the darker nature of humans. The Swap is no exception to that talent.
This was gripping, chaotic, dark, and unnerving. I have to say, Robyn Harding sure knows how to write characters. Whether you like them or not, they are fully-fledged individuals with complex motivations and feelings. There were parts that I thought I knew where the story was going and then things shifted and unexpected turns happened and I was reeling from them. I thought I could easily piece this one together, I was so wrong.
It’s the story of a high school senior named Low and her intense friendship with the beautiful and captivating Freya. It’s perfect… until Jamie gets in the way. And then Jamie and Freya become friends, pushing Low to the wayside. Low is hurt by Freya’s betrayal and hates Jamie for ruining her chance at a relationship with Freya, and so she does what she must, she finds a way to tear them apart.
I loved the discussion on polyamory and sexuality. I especially enjoyed the fact that Low was never made to feel less than because she didn’t really feel sexual impulses. I had no idea this story was queer! It made me even more interested in reading. Even in adult literature, it’s important to have those discussions and conversations for the readers because it builds empathy and it can help adult readers recognize parts of themselves that maybe they didn’t choose to question or gave up on. As for polyamory, in the novel it’s talked about in a mostly positive way; a group of adults loving and caring for each other as well as loving, caring, and supporting the children. It’s shown as a more is more kind of thing and I really love that because what could be wrong with more love and attention for children growing up?
My weird analogy about dark chocolate aside, I do really hope that you check this book out once it comes out on the 23rd. I’m glad that I got to enjoy another Robyn Harding book and I can’t wait for her next one. Thank you so much to Gallery/Scout Press and NetGalley for giving me an advanced copy of this book for review.