Friday, June 10, 2016
Review: Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema
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. ~ Goodreads
Source: ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Goldfish was a really sweet YA, that was more focused on friendships and family than romance, which is always a refreshing find in the genre.
After Lou does horrible at her latest swimming trials and doesn’t make it into a prestigious training camp with her best friend Hannah – her world is turned upside down.
Swimming and Hannah are the only things Lou lives for and to have them both suddenly ripped away leaves Lou questioning a lot of things. She’s never worried about fitting in before but now she realizes that she doesn’t have any friends other than Hannah.
Her swimmers body and frizzy hair were just part of the cost of swimming. Now they make her feel awkward, especially in comparison to her beautiful and popular sister.
Then an unlikely opportunity to coach a group of boys in synchronized swimming, for an upcoming talent show, helps Lou realize there’s more to life.
Lou is a fantastic protagonist. She's just a normal teen that feels jealous and awkward but is still supportive of her bff's success even if it means she's left behind. She still puts herself out there to make new friends and try something new.
One of the things Goldfish does really well is explore all of the things on a 15 year girls mind – without being preachy and with a lighthearted touch. Sometimes life can can be weird and confusing but not necessarily dark or brooding. Luurtsema touches on body image, awkward flirtations, jealousies and changing friendships, sisterhood and learning to adjust your goals when things don’t work out as planned.
I also loved that Lou is an athletic girl showing the boys how it’s done – whoop! and boys taking on an unconventional talent. Showing boy/girl friendships in a respectful and non romantic setting is important for both sexes to see and read about.
I think the story got a little too mad-cap-ish at times but I would recommend this to young teens who are looking for something relatable yet lighter.