Swim the Fly

Don Calame, Author
Don Calame, Author . Candlewick $16.99 (345p) ISBN 978-0-7636-4157-3
Reviewed on: 04/20/2009
Release date: 04/01/2009
Paperback - 345 pages - 978-0-7636-4776-6
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Screenwriter Calame debuts as a novelist by perfectly channeling the adolescent male mindset. Matt, Cooper and Sean, swim teammates since third grade, hold the local record for the “largest collection of green fifth-place ribbons.” In addition to hanging out poolside, each summer they choose a project. This year, Coop, 15, announces their objective will be to see a girl naked. Since none even has a girlfriend, deviant hijinks ensue, including some (dressing in drag to sneak into the girls' bathroom) that strain credibility. Meanwhile, narrator Matt sets an even more unattainable goal—volunteering to swim the grueling 100-yard butterfly to impress the team's star backstroker, “smokin' hot” Kelly West. (Coop points out the flaw in Matt's plan: “I'm sure Kelly finds the sight of a scrawny, pasty white dude flopping around in the water like a spastic salmon very hot.”) The boys' pursuits make for a hilarious, if raunchy, what-I-did-last-summer narrative, supported by a cast of memorable adults, including a take-no-prisoners swim coach and Matt's grandfather, who is on a parallel romantic journey. This one will spread like athlete's foot in a locker room. Ages 14–up. (Apr.)

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