“We Don’t Swim Here” Review

The heads of two young people, both Black, are on the cover facing away from each other. One is clearly visible while the other is almost entirely blurred out. The background of the cover is dark greenish blue water at the top and solid black from the middle down.Written by Vincent Tirado
Published by Sourcebooks Fire, May 2023
320 pages
Completed: May 20, 2023

“Bronwyn is only supposed to be in rural Hillwoods for a year. Her grandmother is in hospice, and her father needs to get her affairs in order. And they’re all meant to make some final memories together.”

“Except Bronwyn is miserable. Her grandmother is dying, everyone is standoffish, and she can’t even go swimming. All she hears are warnings about going in the water, despite a gorgeous lake. And a pool at the abandoned rec center. And another in the high school basement.”

“Anais tries her hardest to protect Bronwyn from the shadows of Hillwoods. She follows her own rituals to avoid any unnecessary attention—and if she can just get Bronwyn to stop asking questions, she can protect her too. The less Bronwyn pays attention to Hillwoods, the less Hillwoods will pay attention to Bronwyn. She doesn’t get that the lore is, well, truth. History. Pain. The living aren’t the only ones who seek retribution when they’re wronged. But when Bronwyn does more exploring than she should, they are both in for danger they couldn’t expect.”

This was a really fun read. I was one of those books where once I started I just kept going and finished it all in one go. I loved all of the characters and the central mystery was great. The town was suck in a trap of its own making from the past act and couldn’t see a way out of it because so much had gone into covering up what that act actually had been that only a few left knew the full story. I really enjoyed the resolution of everything though there was on plot point I wish had been explained. I believe I know the answer given what is said throughout the book but it’s never explicitly said nor does anyone in the town seem to realize the truth of that plot point of everything that’s gone on. Though to be fair the main characters are teens and it’s the kind of story where adults don’t entirely know what they should know. It works either way.

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