Matt Gratton and his two best friends, Sean and Coop, always set themselves a summer-time goal. This year’s? To see a real-live naked girl for the ﬁrst time. As far as Matt is concerned, they’d have better luck ﬁnding the lost city of Atlantis. But seeing a girl in the buff starts to seem like child’s play compared to the other summertime goal Matt sets for himself: to swim the 100-yard butterﬂy (the hardest stroke known to God or man) in order to impress Kelly West, the hot new girl. So what if he can’t manage a single lap, let alone four? He’s got the whole summer to perfect his technique. What could possibly go wrong?
This book was recommended to me following a discussion on Twitter about contemporary YA fiction with a male protagonist. I thought it sounded like something I could enjoy and went straight down to my local library to track down a copy.
The book is great fun. The plot is highly entertaining and I flipped back and forward between laughing and cringing for the majority of it. A couple of moments in it are downright gross, but they’re written in such a way that they’re hugely entertaining rather than off putting. There are a number of plot threads which all wind around each other beautifully, this is a book about friendship, first romance, and growing up.
The main three boys, Matt, Coop and Sean, are great characters and I loved their friendship. I really felt like I got to know them within the book, I was very pleased to discover at the end of the book that this is just the first volume about them – I’m already looking forward to reading more about them. I also loved Matt’s grandfather – Grandpa Arlo. His attempts to woo a recently widowed neighbour added yet another set of laughs to an already funny book.
I really like Don Calame’s writing style, the book zips along at a great pace and he’s created some wonderful characters that you can’t help but love. I think he manages to get the balance of the book just right, it would have been easy to let the laughs and gags run away with themselves, but they’re tempered with really lovely quieter moments.
I absolutely loved this book and will be looking out for the next books in the series. Definitely recommended.
Swim the Fly is published in paperback by Templar in the UK priced £6.99