The Swell by Allie Reynolds Book Review Read it later

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Chandler M. Contributor intro page

Carly Rae raved about Allie Reynolds’ book Shiver, so I was super excited when I was given the opportunity to read her new book, The Swell.  Going from the cold, snowy mountains to the warm Pacific Ocean, I enjoyed diving into The Swell and all of its mystery. 


The Swell by allie reynolds book
The Swell by Allie Reynolds! Get your copy on Amazon.

Kenna has had a feeling for some time that something is off with her best friend, Mikki. When Kenna discovers that Mikki is engaged to her boyfriend Jack after a short time of dating, more red flags go up. Kenna decides to take an impromptu trip down to Australia to check on her friend. Something is off about Jack, but she’s not sure what it is.

Kenna’s arrival catches Mikki by surprise, and since she and Jack already had a trip planned, Kenna tags along. The trio stop along the way at a convenience store to pick up a few items, and Kenna notices all of the “missing posters.” This leaves a sick feeling in her gut, and she wonders why so many young surfers go missing. 

Their destination is Sorrow Bay, which happens to be in the middle of nowhere with no cell reception. When they arrive, they join Clemente, Skye, Ryan and Victor. The four do not seem thrilled about an unexpected guest. They seem to be a surfer “tribe,” but Kenna can’t help but think something is seriously wrong. When they put it to a vote to have Kenna join the tribe, three of them agree to ask her to join. Kenna knows she can’t leave until she convinces Mikki to go with her. When she starts asking questions about the tribe’s past and some of the surfers who have gone missing, the others get frustrated. Soon disturbing notes appear in her tent. She quickly realizes the others definitely do not want her there. Too bad she is not done digging. 

The Swell by Allie Reynolds

Genre: Fiction/ Thriller

Kenna heads to Australia from Europe to check in on her best friend, Mikki, who has seemed off on all of their phone calls. When she arrives, she discovers Mikki has a group of friends who act suspiciously. Kenna goes with Mikki to Sorrow Bay to try to convince her to return with her, but it may be too late. 

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Contributor Chandler with The Swell
Contributor Chandler with The Swell!

I loved the setting of The Swell. Who doesn’t love a secluded beach all to themselves? I could probably do without the bugs, but the beach views described sounded amazing. The extreme sports described in this book were also very intriguing. I enjoyed the layout of this book. The story was primarily told by the female protagonist, Kenna. About a third of the way through the book, other characters’ POVs began to be incorporated into the story.

We were able to hear from everyone at least once, even though the story was mainly told by Kenna. I did enjoy Kenna’s character. She was likable and had good intentions, even though she kept dipping her toe into the “tribe life” which she should have clearly run from. However, Kenna was really the only character I was able to connect with.

Even though this is a thriller, the relationships in The Swell were not my favorite and felt very unsettling. They were actually one of the biggest turn-offs for me in this book. This book had a very slow pace until the end, then the last 50 pages really picked up. There were a lot of moving parts which helped keep me turning the page, but I still wish the pace had been faster and more consistent. When I got to the end, I was excited to see how everything unfolded. Like all thriller 

books I tried to guess the twist at the end, but with The Swell I was off with my predictions. While some people love a cliffhanger, I was disappointed when I was  left hanging at the end. There was a lot of tension and build up for a slightly dull ending.

Allie Renyolds loves adventure and extreme sports. What setting should her next book be based in?

More Reviews from our Contributors

Contributor Lindsey S. with her copy of The Swell!

Lindsey S.

I thought this book was fine. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. The concept was interesting and the fact that most of the story takes place in one location highlights how isolated the characters were. Because they’re so disconnected from society, they essentially created their own laws, which is the main driving factor of this book. While I was never fully invested in the characters, I was curious about their pasts, what they were running from, and the secrets they harbored because of Sorrow Bay. Reynolds did a great job at crafting strong, but suspicious characters. This is what kept me engaged in the story. Thanks to its short chapters, it’s a quick read full of heightened moments of intensity. 

One of my biggest issues with this novel was how situations and events that felt important were never fully explored. There were a lot of conversations or reveals s, but then the story just moved on to something else and never circled back. At one point it felt like the author was taking more time to describe a bird hovering in the air than she did probing what felt like important moments. I was let down each time this happened, and by the end of the book I was ready for it to be over, so something would be resolved. 

Also, I had a bit of a hard time understanding a lot of the lingo. I’m not a fan of surfing–my only frame of reference being the film Johnny Tsunami–so like a swell, most of it went over my head. 

This book reminded me a lot of the movie The Beach, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio. Both are an honest look at what happens when you become insular and beholden to a small group of people. It was interesting how the morality of the characters shifted with time, as shown in this book through the random chapters told from each character’s POV. 

Popular books from the author

Shiver by Allie Reynolds

Genre: Fiction/Thriller

When a group of friends get together after not seeing each other for a decade, what could go wrong? They meet at a lodge in the mountains for a quick getaway, but when secrets from the past start to come to the surface, how will they weather the storm? 

Read the full review of Shiver here

Buy this Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-million | Audible

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The Swell by Allie Reynolds book review
The Swell by Allie Reynolds
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