We Don’t Swim Here

Sourcebooks/Fire. May 2023. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781728250809.
Gr 9 Up–Told in dual points-of-view, this novel features cousins Bronwyn and Anais, both second generation Black Dominicans, who are at odds as soon as Bronwyn and her family move to Arkansas to help with their abuela’s end of life care. Anais is a lifelong resident of Hillwood and deeply entrenched in the dark secrets of the town, the rituals of avoiding the ghost that haunts their waking hours and navigating her increasingly complicated relationship with her ex-girlfriend, Hanna. Bronwyn is struggling after leaving her home in Illinois, where she was a competitive swimmer with Olympic dreams, now living in a town where no one is allowed to swim, the pools are drained, and the lake is haunted by a murderous ghost. Rooted in systemic racism and small-town living, Tirado’s novel is captivating and raw. The mythology of the story is not always clear, but Tirado’s dark style is compelling.
VERDICT Recommended for fans of dark YA such as that by Kayla Cottingham.

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