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Bri Meets Books

Children's and YA literature reviews.

Category Archives: guy books


At work, when I merchandise the teen section, I notice we’re always getting a deluge of books with darker themes. As my family is currently mourning somebody, I don’t necessarily want to read about unpleasant themes. So I was eager to get Swim the Fly by Don Calame. Because it is, in a word, hilarious. But being an English major, I can not be concise and therefore must use words to describe this novel: uproarious, rollicking, fun, and side-splitting come to mind.

Matt’s about to spend the summer the way he and his friends, Coop and Sean, always do: competing against each other to be the first to reach a goal. This summer’s goal? To be the first to see a real live naked girl. Soon Matt’s got another goal to reach: swimming the 100 yard butterfly on his swim team to impress his crush Kelly and the new girl on the swim team. To accomplish this, Matt seeks the help of a eccentric and nearly-sadistic swim instructor, Ulf, who tortures Matt with his unorthodox training methods. Meanwhile, the race to reach the guys’ goal continues with hilarious results.

Calame’s background as a screenwriter (Employee of the Month and the Disney Channel original movie Hounded) shines throughout the novel, as each page is perfectly paced, beat by beat. Here the laughs really are a mile a minute. As each plan fails – some the fodder of popular teen shows, such as nude beaches, hiding in the locker room – they get more wild and ridiculous, but always hilarious. Whether it’s the mishaps due to a powerful new laxative or an ill-fated trip to a nude beach, Matt and his friends never fail to bring the laughs. Although slightly crude, like films of the Jude Apatow ilk, Swim the Fly still packs a lot of heart. The rest of the novel is rounded out with great moments by his family, including a grandfather sweet on a widowed neighbor. Not just a boy book, it’s a great summer read and one that’ll be packed in my beach bag this summer!

Copy for review provided by the publisher.

Title: Swim the Fly
Date: April 14, 2009
Publisher: Candlewick
Pages: 352
Format: Hardback

Visit the author’s website for a chapter excerpt, the book trailer, and more.