Book Review: Girl Out Of Water (Nat Luurtsema)

Publisher: Walker Books

Pages: 320

Release Date: June 2nd 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

A thoroughly British teen comedy starring a hilariously flawed heroine with a quip for every occasion – perfect for fans of Holly Smale, Rae Earl and Jenny MacLachlan. Lou Brown’s life is going down the pan. Best friend Hannah sailed through the Olympic time trials and is off to her fancy-pants new swim training school, while Lou’s own failure to qualify leaves her without a hobby – or a friend. As Lou tries to navigate her post-swim world, a chance encounter with three boys with stars in their eyes takes her life in a surprising new direction. One that leads to a crazy world of underwater somersaults, talent show auditions, bitchy girls and one great big load of awkward boy chat.

Review:

I won a copy of this book in a giveaway at Luna’s Little Library so big thanks to her 🙂

Lou Brown is destined for great in the swimming world, until she messes up an important race and is cast aside by her coach. Her best friend Hannah is off to the swimming camp she should be at and she’s stuck in school with no friends and no hobby, until three of the popular boys ask her to coach them in underwater swimming for a TV talent show.

I connect with Lou from the very first page, and that’s probably something to do with my own swimming past. While not at Lou’s standard, I started swimming from a young age, swam in competitions for my local team and trained several times a week until I permanently smelt like chlorine. I gave it up when I was younger than Lou to focus on other things (though I wouldn’t have gotten as far as Lou – apparently I was too focused on my strokes being perfect instead of going fast!) This book just set off nostalgia in me as I remembered my own endless hours poolside with frizzy hair and friends who only recognised me in a swimming costume.

Nostalgia aside, this was a really fun book to read. Lou made me laugh a lot, although her actions were so cringey at times in made my toes curl!  She grows throughout the book, from a focussed swimmer to a girl with boy problems to coach of a strange new underwater sport. There’s a great lesson here in not being defeated: although Lou didn’t make it into the camp, she learned that there was more to her than swimming and that it wasn’t the end of the world, as it can feel at that age. As she receives some increasingly worrying texts form Hannah she also learns that getting what you want isn’t always a dream come true either.

One of my favourite things in the book was Lou’s family. Her parents are divorced but living together while her dad finds a job, and Lou is sharing a room with her older sister Laverne. It’s great to see things like divorced parents in books (another thing I can relate to) and it not be the end of the world either: people get divorced, a lot of the times it’s for the best, and life goes on. Her family played quite a bit role in the book, which was good to see as often 15 year olds seem to be doing whatever they like with no parental consequences, whereas this book rang truer to real life.

This was a fun, easy to read book with a lot of hilarious moments. A definite summer hit!

4

Book Review: The Moonlight Dreamers (Siobhan Curham)

Publisher: Walker Books

Release Date: July 7th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Amber craves excitement and adventure. Instead, she’s being bullied at school for having two dads, and life at home isn’t much better. Inspired by Oscar Wilde, Amber realizes that among the millions of people in London, there must be others who feel the same as she does; other dreamers – moonlight dreamers. After chance encounters with

Review:

I won a copy of this book in a giveaway at Luna’s Little Library so big thanks to her 🙂

This was a charming story of female friendship and empowerment, creativity and embracing who you are without conforming to what other people think you should be. Amber, Maali, Sky and Rose are all very different girls who meet and become friends when Amber starts a ‘Moonlight Dreamers’ club, where the girls tell each other their dreams and help them make them a reality.

I liked how different the girls’ dreams were. While some of them may have seemed more trivial than others, they were all very personal and mattered to them in a different way. I really liked Amber’s passion for Oscar Wilde and her dream to visit his grave in Paris (something I wish I’d done last time I was there now!).

For character development, I enjoyed Rose’s the most, as she was the most prickly of the four but really opened up and came into her own towards the end of the book. She’s also a classic example of not judging a book by its cover: just because she’s gorgeous it doesn’t mean she’s a classic bitch/obsessed with her looks. Maali was really sweet and even though her dream didn’t go quite as she expected, I was glad she found some courage and confidence. Same with Sky and the others really: no one’s dream went quite to plan but that made the book more realistic: most things don’t turn out all shiny in the end but we learn from the experience and grow as people.

I did feel like part of the Moonlight Dreamers club was a little twee at times and maybe that’s just me showing my age: the rules and chanting just wasn’t up my street. Still, I thought this was a great summer read with a really positive message without getting too heavy about it.

4