Book Reviews

Book Review: The Swap, by Robyn Harding

The Swap,

by Robyn Harding

Publication: Gallery/Scout Press; June 23, 2020


Low Morrison is not your average teen. You could blame her hippie parents or her looming height or her dreary, isolated hometown on an island in the Pacific Northwest. But whatever the reason, Low just doesn’t fit in—and neither does Freya, an ethereal beauty and once-famous social media influencer who now owns the local pottery studio.

After signing up for a class, Low quickly falls under Freya’s spell. And Freya, buoyed by Low’s adoration, is compelled to share her darkest secrets and deepest desires. Finally, both feel a sense of belonging…that is until Jamie walks through the studio door. Desperate for a baby, she and her husband have moved to the island hoping that the healthy environment will result in a pregnancy. Freya and Jamie become fast friends, as do their husbands, leaving Low alone once again.

Then one night, after a boozy dinner party, Freya suggests swapping partners. It should have been a harmless fling between consenting adults, one night of debauchery that they would put behind them, but instead, it upends their lives. And provides Low the perfect opportunity to unleash her growing resentment.

*My Review*

Being stuck in the house with little to do (unless I do some housework/organizing), I decided to find something that seemed like a juicy read. I can say without any reservation that The Swap by Robyn Harding is absolutely a juicy read!

This novel is told from multiple POVs, however, the most frequent narrators are Low, Freya, and Jamie. Low is finishing up her senior year in high school and is a social outcast. The poor girl literally has no friends. Freya and her husband Max have recently moved to the island to basically hide away from everyone. Max used to be a famous hockey player and Freya was a big-time social media influencer. Now they live in a gorgeous home in the woods and Freya has posted an advertisement for pottery classes. Then there are Jamie and Brian. Brian is a writer and Jamie has opened a small mercantile store in town. They are the newest residents who decided to pick up and move to the small coastal town in hopes that more peace and quiet would help them finally conceive. 

As the blurb states, Freya and Jamie become fast friends after Jamie and Brian move to town. Their husbands get along very well also. Everything is great until they decide to get high and as the title suggests, swap partners for the evening. As anyone could guess, the feelings and emotions that follow were anything but carefree and nonchalant. What seemed like a harmless night of fun ends up causing more issues than I dare to list. But this is only part of the novel.

Low is obsessed with Freya. I mean, obsessed with a capital O with Freya’s beauty, talent, and so on. Low has been sort of ambiguous about her sexuality and sexual preferences, but once meeting Freya, it becomes very clear that Freya is what she wants, in whatever context that she can have her. So this needy, flighty, self-centered woman that is years older than Low, decides to befriend Low and confide in her about her life. All of this is well and good until Low notices that Freya has started spending more time with Jamie, and then that’s when the crazy really starts to rear its ugly head. 

So yes, this is about two couples deciding to switch things up for the night, thus having to deal with the aftermath. But this is also a journey into the minds of three women as things start to slowly unravel in their lives. It’s about obsession, jealousy, sneakiness, vindictiveness, and much more. If I were to label any of the characters as likable or relatable, I guess my thoughts would immediately go to Jamie. Max and Brian weren’t awful but neither really impressed me either. As far as Low and Freya, I will just let you read for yourself and see if you find any ways to sympathize/empathize with either character or if they just creep you out. 

The Swap is a fantastic, edge-of-your-seat read. I’m not exactly sure I agree with its labels of mystery, thriller, etc. but it will absolutely keep you guessing. If you love books that are like a train wreck happening slowly over a few hours, then this is your next read! The writing was amazing, intelligent, and Harding truly brought each of these unique characters to life. 

*Thanks to NetGalley and Gallery/Scout Press for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Pre-Order The Swap on Amazon!


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