Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood

Challenge 52 ~ “A book published in 2016.”


★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I took this to read on my last fieldtrip, not quite knowing how much free time we were going to have, but hoping to find some time to at least start it. By the time I returned, I was almost 60% through. You may think this implied I had time to spare, but we crammed the hours with hikes, skating and campfires to the extent that I was more tired when I returned than when I left! Wild Swans had such a strong power, however, that as soon as I’d started, I was constantly pulled back to read just another page!

Spotswood had the plot and pacing down to a tee, with a harmonious balance of action and description, making the novel a delight to read. As everything began to end, I realised how short a time the events had occurred in, and I was knocked back at just how incredible the pacing in particular had been. At no point in the novel were my eyes attempting to skip lines, or was I having to pause, overwhelmed at how much was going on at once.

Like in any good novel, Spotswood complemented this with a strong repertoire of literary talents, from relatable pop culture references to delectable description. My particular favourite had to be the realism of the character development, which reflected both the extent of the themes in the novel, but also the timespan in which the events occurred. Despite not having a family curse, or living in America, Spotswood brought the reader into the story and cast the landscape to life.

There was only one aspect in which Spotswood didn’t quite deliver – there was a lot of talk surrounding the ‘curse’, but Ivy never seems to reach a conscious conclusion as to her positioning on the supposed Milbourn tragedy. There is clear development of both Ivy and the other characters, yet with the tone and writing style Spotswood adopts, I feel a stated solid positioning would have been more realistic as the novel drew to a close. In comparison to the rest of the book, however, this is a small qualm (and one that does not detract significantly from the story!)

Through contemporary, well-handled subplots to an enticing main story, there is no element Spotswood fails to capture delightfully, producing a well-narrated story that will transport the reader through a rollercoaster of emotions and adventures. For my first completed read from Net Gallery, the successors have a lot to live up to – Spotswood blends an accessible tone, real-life issues, character development and great pacing in a new gem for the young adult community.

Recommended for fans of:

  • Drawing With Light by Julia Green
  • The Same Stuff As Stars by Katherine Paterson
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han


N.B.: This ebook was received from Netgallery in return for a reflective and honest review.


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