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Swanna in Love


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

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$16.95 $12.71

What people are saying…

“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

“Stranded in Vermont with a neglectful mother and her boyfriend, Swanna, a precocious 14-year-old, pursues a married man whom she sees as her ticket back to New York.”
New York Times Book Review

“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

“With the publication of Swanna in Love from Akashic Books, author Jennifer Belle presents a kind of inverse Lolita that deftly explores adolescent desire from the girl’s point of view. Original, hilarious, wildly shocking and iconoclastic, Swanna in Love is an inherently fascinating, compulsive page turner of a novel that is highly recommended for community and college/university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections.”
Midwest Book Review

“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

“This book is incredible…Hysterically funny and dark.”
—Robert Siegel, creator of Welcome to Chippendales


“An exceptionally funny writer.”
Time, on Going Down

“A witty, gritty, thoroughly convincing first novel.”
—Nick Hornby, on Going Down

—Boston Globe, on High Maintenance

“Just buy the damn book.”
New York Observer, on High Maintenance

New York Daily News, on Little Stalker

“Hilarious and poignant . . . This protagonist is an endearing figure.”
Seattle Times, on Little Stalker

“A fun ride . . . [Isolde] flirts with infidelity and navigates satiric set pieces (fertility-challenged nannies, bad playdate mommies) like a BabyBörn-toting Alice in a kook-infested urban Wonderland.”
Entertainment Weekly, on The Seven Year Bitch


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.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Published: 1/30/24
  • IBSN: 9781636141640
  • e-IBSN: 9781636141466
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781636141633


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, and 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. Her most recent work is Swanna in Love.

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