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A propulsive YA novel in verse that blends the contemporary magic of Jandy Nelson with the simmering feminist rage of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Shout

As far back as anyone can remember, the women of the Strand family have been magical.

Their gifts manifest when they each turn fifteen, always in different ways. But Nell Strand knows that her family's magic is a curse. Her mother’s age changes every day; she's often too young to be the mother Nell needs. Her older sister bleeds music and will do anything to release the songs inside her. Nell sees the way magic rips her family apart again and again. 

When Nell’s own magic arrives in the form of ladybugs alighting on the keys of her beloved piano, the first thing she feels is joy. The ladybugs are a piece of her, a harmless and delicate manifestation of her creativity. But soon enough, the rest come. Thick-shelled glossy beetles that creep along her collarbone when her piano teacher stares at her. Soft gray moths that appear and die alongside a rush of disappointment. Worst of all are the wasps. It doesn’t matter how deep she buries her rage, the wasps always come. Nell will have to decide just how much of herself she’s willing to lock away to stop them—or if she can find the strength to feel, no matter the consequences.

An intense, emotional read simmering with rage and magic, I Am the Swarm is a captivating YA novel in verse that beautifully speaks to the complicated nature of growing up as a girl.

  • Pages: 336 Pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Imprint: Viking Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN: 9780593623862
Penguin Teen