Swanna in Love: A Novel (Paperback)

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Swanna in Love: A Novel By Jennifer Belle Cover Image

Swanna in Love: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


A deep dive into the intricacies of a dystopian society, where every detail of life is controlled. The protagonist's struggle for freedom is gripping and thought-provoking, prompting reflections on our own world. A dark, yet enlightening read.

— Bob

Best-selling author Belle (High Maintenance, Going Down) unleashes her first new novel in over ten years


It's the summer of 1982 and fourteen-year-old Swanna Swain is the only one left at camp. The place is a ghost town by the time her mother Val finally shows up six hours late—stoned and radiant—in a Ford pickup driven by Borislav, her new young Russian lover. Assuming she is headed home to her air-conditioned Upper West Side apartment, Swanna and her lovable younger brother Madding are instead dragged to Vermont—to an artist colony where kids are not welcome and they are forced to sleep in the back of the truck, while Val is cozy inside the house with the Russian.


Then Swanna meets Dennis, a handsome married father of two, at a bowling alley, and, knowing a thing or two about seduction from Judy Blume, her best friend at camp, and her own parents’ many affairs—she sets out to convince Dennis to help her. But love seldom obeys rules, and even a tough, smart, city girl like Swanna might not be able to handle falling in love.


Best-selling novelist Jennifer Belle returns with a kind of inverse Lolita that explores adolescent desire from the girl’s point of view. In turns hilarious and wildly shocking, Swanna in Love will keep your feathers ruffled and the pages gliding by.



Jennifer Belle is the best-selling author of four novels, Going Down (which was named best debut novel by Entertainment Weekly and optioned for the screen twenty-seven times), High Maintenance, Little Stalker, The Seven Year Bitch, and Animal Stackers, a picture book for children (illustrated by David McPhail). Her stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Independent (London), Harper’s Bazaar, Ms., BlackBook, the New York Observer, Post Road, and many anthologies.

Product Details ISBN: 9781636141640
ISBN-10: 1636141641
Publisher: Akashic Books, Ltd.
Publication Date: January 30th, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English
Both a riotous page-turner and a thoughtful examination of girlhood, vulnerability, and sexual power.
— Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

Whip-smart dialogue and a convincing teenage perspective add heft to this comic novel. Belle breaks hearts with the story of Swanna’s first love.
— Publishers Weekly

Swanna in Love is an addictive read, a book as genuinely funny as it is transgressive. Jennifer Belle captures the bravado and vulnerability of adolescence in a voice that jumps off the first page and ventures into some dangerous territory.

— Tom Perrotta, author of Tracy Flick Can’t Win

Oh, how I loved the whip-smart Swanna Swain. I loved the way she effortlessly lied to people. I love how much she wanted things, good and bad. With Swanna in Love, Jennifer Belle has given us the other side of Nabokov's Lolita—the misunderstood teenage temptress who desperately wants an ice cream sandwich, a comfortable bed to sleep in. Love. Sometimes, it hurts what happens to her. I inhaled this book.

— Marcy Dermansky, author of Hurricane Girl

Only Jennifer Belle could write a character like the utterly original and hilariously fierce Swanna, who navigates her way out of the benign neglect of an eighties New York City post-divorce childhood with her beloved brother in tow—a lifetime of growth and change—in the course of a summer. Swanna in Love is a coming-of-age novel unlike anything I’ve ever read—beautiful, funny, and heartbreakingly true. I loved, and believed, every word of it.

— Laura Zigman, author of Small World

Utterly delightful. By turns deeply funny and profoundly moving. The most pitch-perfect portrait of adolescence since The Catcher in the Rye. I loved this novel so!

— Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year