Friday, June 3, 2016

Review: Goldfish

Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema
Publisher: Feiwei & Friends
Release Date: June 7th, 2016
Source: ALA Midwinter
Date Read: 1/20/16 to 1/24/16
240 pages

Lou Brown is one of the fastest swimmers in the county. She’s not boasting, she really is. So things are looking pretty rosy the day of the Olympic time-trials. With her best mate Hannah by her side, Lou lines up by the edge of the pool, snaps her goggles on and bends into her dive…

Everything rests on this race. It’s Lou’s thing.

… or it was. She comes dead last and to top it all off Hannah sails through leaving a totally broken Lou behind.

Starting again is never easy, particularly when you’re the odd-one out in a family of insanely beautiful people and a school full of social groups way too intimidating to join. Where do you go from here? Finding a new thing turns out to be the biggest challenge Lou’s ever faced and opens up a whole new world of underwater somersaults, crazy talent shows, bitchy girls and a great big load of awkward boy chat.

Lou Brown guides us through the utter humiliation of failure with honesty, sass and a keen sense of the ridiculous. This girl will not be beaten.

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I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Before I get into this review, I have to mention that I'm probably incredibly biased. You see, talking about Goldfish made me remember my swimming career. From ages 11-14, I thrived in the swimming world. My times were always improving, I qualified for a number of swim meets, I had many friends, and I had great times. Unfortunately, once I hit 15 years old, it all went down from there. My body stopped growing, my peers in high school were faster than I was, and my personal records stayed the same. I grew to hate the meets and the practices and I had no friends among my new team. For me, everything sucked.

Goldfish made me remember all of that. And more importantly, it made me miss swimming. Or at least the time I was 11-14.

Because you see, Lou is in the same exact position as I was. Instead of an outstanding race, Lou fails at making the cut-offs for a qualifying swim camp. But her best friend does. Because of this, Lou is incredibly heartbroken and decides to quit swimming, because how can you go back to a team that expected more from you? 

As a 15 year old, this is huge. This is the time in your career where you either find out you have a talent in swimming, or you suck (that was the latter for me). Because of the meet, she feels like everyone will shun her, like her swim coach (which she does, that bitch). Plus, with Hannah at swim camp, she has no other friends.

That is, until she forms a group with a couple of guys who want to learn synchronized swimming for some talent show. With time, and planning and research, she ends up becoming friends with the three of them, despite everyone else on her original swim team looking down on her.

I'm going to go ahead and point out that I know nothing about synchronized swimming. I don't know whether the events in the novel are accurate, or whether it really is that simple to audition for a talent show (and bring in a tank for that matter). Or whether it really is that original for synchronized swimming to be a talent, especially when it's a couple of guys and Lou, neither of whom are trained in this sort of thing. What really made this novel for me, is that you CAN move on and be BETTER at other things. Just because you failed at one thing, doesn't mean you will at others. Ever since I have quit swimming, this is what I've been doing everyday. Discovering my other passions.

Overall, I thought this novel was a fun, light read. Even though the main character is a little young, younger than we see in most YA, I felt that it had to be this age because as I mentioned before, this is when decide whether to quit or continue. I think I would recommend this more to readers that used to be, or still are, swimmers, just because it's easier to connect with Lou (Like me!)

Here's a happy swimming turtle
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