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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
There's a lot of learning what not to do (hook up with strangers), and the storyline also highlights the dangers of extremism and domestic terrorism in today's world.
Never be afraid to confront your past. Being honest about your past allows you to move forward.
Positive Role Models
As the book begins, there's not much to recommend Aidan as a role model. But as the story unfolds, and he's faced with making difficult moral choices, he steps up and does the right thing.
Violence & Scariness
Bodies (both killed and wounded) are everywhere in this story. Three anti-LGBTQ lawmakers are murdered, Aidan kills men who are trying to kill him, drones and snipers kill everyone as an anti-LGBTQ church group pickets a gay funeral, and innocent people are targeted by tear-gas-spewing drones and killed by arrows from a crossbow.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A teen boy recounts an affair with the father of a high school classmate, and later begins to understand the emotional damage he's suffered from it. Boy recalls having sex with a pool boy while on vacation with his family. He uses a gay hookup app called DirtyPaws to connect and have sex with an older man. Beyond kissing, lustful thoughts, and a bit of undressing, nothing is graphically described.
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A fair amount of profanity ("f--k," "s--t," "motherf----r," "goddamn," "bitch").
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Derek Milman's Swipe Right for Murder was inspired by the classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller North by Northwest. As Milman's story begins, a gay 17-year-old named Aidan Jamison hooks up and has sex with with an older stranger at a New York hotel. When the stranger ends up murdered, Aidan goes on the run, pursued by a mysterious gay terrorist group called the Swans, who want the "item" he took from the hotel room. There's a high body count in this novel (people are killed by guns, drones, arrows, and even a paperclip) and a fair amount of profanity ("f--k," "s--t," "motherf----r," "goddamn," "bitch"). Although Aidan's sexual encounters are not described much past kissing and a bit of undressing, the story never addresses the real-life dangers of teens using an app to look for sexual partners.
Is It Any Good?
Mistaken identity, attack drones, mysterious gay terrorists, and a teen hero haunted by his past make for a fast-paced often complicated but ultimately satisfying LGBTQ thriller. There's a lot going in Swipe Right for Murder. Sometimes it's hard to follow the twists and turns (will we ever find out why photos of Aidan were on Benoit's phone?) and a few things may be a bit over the top (murder by paper clip) or simply inexplicable (why, when he's being hotly pursued by men who want to kill him, does Aidan take time out to meet his family for dinner in a restaurant?). Still, it's an engaging page-turner that tackles serious issues of homophobia and domestic terrorism.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.