Posts Tagged David-Matthew Barnes

Swimming to Chicago: book review

Swimming to Chicago , by David-Matthew Barnes. Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (October, 2011). YA fiction. Hardcover, 192 pgs.

I don’t read that much YA fiction. I’ve read a few novels by Joyce Carol Oates and Neil Gaiman. So I don’t have a frame of reference for Swimming to Chicago. Not sure if that’s positive or negative. I enjoyed the previous novel from author David-Matthew Barnes. It’s summer and teenager Alex Bainbridge falls hard for new-to-town Tommy. Alex’s mother recently committed suicide and Alex doesn’t quite know how to handle his emotions. Before moving to the South, he lived in Chicago and felt more comfortable in his Armenian-American skin there. Like many teenagers, Alex just wants to belong and to be truly liked.

Tommy’s sweet, quiet and non-judgmental. Alex also juggles his friendship with Jillian. Once school starts in the fall, Jillian embarks on an affair with her teacher who happens to be Tommy’s stepfather. The ensuing drama affects all three teenagers. They stick together. While a bit over the top at times, Swimming to Chicago provides twists, shock and escape. I didn’t like the ending. I’m not fond of novels or films where teenagers think they’re adults too soon. They’re just too young. Am I being unrealistic? Maybe. I read the news. I know about some of the things going on out there but I still feel that you’re not ready to live on your own at 17 or 18.

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