Parents' Guide to

The Swifts: A Dictionary of Scoundrels

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Tweens cope with murder, mayhem at quirky family reunion.

Book Beth Lincoln Mystery 2023
Book cover: The Swifts, a Dictionary of Scoundrels

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 14+

Wanted to love it

I wanted to love this book, and at first I did! Shenanigan is hilarious and the writing had me hooked. However, I would like to warn parents that the family uses an Ouija board in this book. Also, there are several scenes with discussions about gender issues/confusion. The summary on the back of the book mentioned none of these things. I was disappointed and sadly, I will not be sharing this book with my kids.
age 10+

A clever whodunnit with gender identity addressed but not at the forefront

We loved this book. We read it chapter by chapter as a bedtime readaloud. My kids took the gender identity discussions (or non-discussions at the beginning of the story) in stride, maybe because they’ve been talking about this in school already (thank you school!) and maybe because we have also read age appropriate books about gender identity for years now. The violence didn’t seem egregious to them, but since my 11 year old has already read the Hunger Games, this felt easy. My 8 year old says he loves horror, so 🤷🏽‍♀️.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (4 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Author Beth Lincoln's lively tale finds its tween heroes dealing with murder, mayhem, and missing treasure at a creepy family reunion. If you love big, obscure words ("tintinnabula," "schadenfreude," "pamplemousse"), French and German phrases, and silly wordplay, The Swifts: A Dictionary of Scoundrels is the book for you. But there are also plot twists galore, and characters coping with relatable issues from sibling bickering to just exactly who gets to define who you are, anyway. As one character says,"There will always be people who think they know you better than you know yourself. But I quickly learned that they don't matter; the people who love you are the people who listen."

Book Details

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