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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Swim The Fly
Format: Paperback|Change

on 10 November 2013
I read this book over a few days on holiday and found a few bits that were particularly funny, almost cringing for the main character as things happened. By about half way through the book though, I could see how it was going to end, and I felt a little disappointed with that. There were a few things set up to lead to bigger stories, and I felt the author changed his mind about them.

Worth a read if it is going cheap again (I paid 99p), and I have bought one of the follow-ups to read, as I'm intrigued to see how it progresses. Very American Pie style of capers. Very lovable characters, especially the grandpa! Very good writing as a first book by an author though.
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on 30 March 2013
A hilarious insight into the minds of teenage boys. Definitely and extremely realistic in a light humour way. Love it!
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on 3 May 2015
My 12 year old son loved this book. best book he's read in s long time, and he's bought the next ones in the series.
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on 27 January 2013
I'm only half way through this book, but it's given me more laughs in a week than in the whole of last year! It's brilliant! It's teenage sillyness at it best!
One thing I would like to say is; I wish I could have an English (UK) version.
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on 26 August 2011
My fourteen year old son read this book on holiday. Absolutely loved it and couldn't put it down.
Compelling story. Highly recommended for any teenage boy.
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on 18 March 2014
Review by Alex - Year 9

I really enjoyed this book. I felt like it perfectly fitted the teenage genre and not a single supernatural being in sight! It had an interesting plot, that had me guessing time and time again what funny incident was going to happen next. I was beaten every time. Something would happen, and I could never, not a single time, predict what it was. Quite, simply; no crudity, just nudity instead. :)

Matthew Gratton, approaching his sweet sixteenth, narrates the story in the first person. His two best buddies from the swim team, Sean and Coop(er) accompany him on their one summertime goal: To see a real-live naked girl. Their summertime goal is their tradition, it’s their bread and butter of enjoying the summer. They’ve been doing it since forever and haven’t failed yet, and don’t intend to start. So be prepared for cross-dresses and big messes. But Matt has another goal in mind as well, to win over “smokin’ hot” Kelly Brookes by swimming the 100-yard Butterfly, the hardest stroke ever. Ever. As Matt strives to go from zero to hero on the swim team, his efforts are torn as he must also manage to see a girl fully naked, when he hasn’t even had a girlfriend. Too much work for Matt? Not when Kelly’s the top prize.

As stated above, this book made me laugh a lot. Any scene that doesn't have comedy in it is merely building up to one. Each funny scene only urged me to see to turn the next page again and again. The characters, I thought, were well developed throughout the story. Each one felt like I knew someone like them. My favourite character in this book had to be Coop. His daring plans kept the plot interesting; often not going as intended. The witty comments kept the humour new and varied. There must be one comedian in these types of books, and Coop fitted that description perfectly; He completed the gang of teenage boys topped up on testosterone. For me, I think a lot of the “disaster” scenes were well written, with each calamity flowing into the next.

Personally, I found it quite difficult to care about Kelly, despite her importance to the main character, Matt. I just didn’t find her character that interesting and I didn’t feel like she had enough to do with the main plot; most of the plot is dominated by achieving the summertime goal. All in all though, this is my only complaint.

In summary, I would definitely recommend this book to any teenage boy, unless you’re particularly faint of heart or would prefer to avoid some “vulgar” scenes. as Publisher’s Weekly said; “...will spread like Athlete’s foot in a locker room” And I couldn’t agree more. 4/5 for me and this boisterously-good book is a great read for any teenage boy. It’s just completely set apart from the rest.
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VINE VOICEon 25 May 2011
I am very much a girly girl and that is definitely reflected in what I enjoy reading. My favourite genres have to be contemporary young adult fiction and chick-lit and so when Swim the Fly was pitched to me as "dude-lit" the male equivalent to the kind of books I love I HAD to read this book.

Swim the Fly will make even the most reluctant teenage reader compelled to read more. Don Calame spins a tale that is effortlessly funny and surprisingly heart warming. Laugh out loud hilarious I could not put this book down because I just had to know what crazy scheme Matt, Coop and Sean would come up with next on their summer quest to see a real live naked girl. The fantastic characters were definitely the biggest highlight of this book for me. Each character is so hilarious and hugely likeable right from main character Matt to secondary characters like the lovable Grandpa Arlo. I really became attached to the characters and even developed a teeny tiny book boy crush on sweet, dorky, Matt. Matt is a fantastic main character at the beginning of the book he's so naive and young but as the book goes on he really grows. Matt's definitely a character you can get behind and cheer on through embarrassing and at times impossible situations.

Despite Swim the Fly being a debut novel Don Calame already has a boisterous, mischievous, effortlessly funny writing style that will speak to teenage boys. Swim the Fly is a strong addition to the dude-lit genre that's good enough to make king of dude-lit John Green's toes curl with envy.

If you're looking for a mood boosting, feel good read Swim the Fly is the book for you. I absolutely flew through this book because it was so effortlessly readable and most importantly enjoyable. This book cheered me up and took my mind off things and brought some sunshine to a gloomy day. This is the kind of book that I could happily read forever and I was so sad as I got closer to the end and even made a conscious effort to slow my reading down savouring every last page. I'm ecstatic that Don is carrying on the boy's story in a second book Beat the Band told from my personal favourite character Coop's point of view. I hope the boys have many more exciting adventures to come because I for one can't get enough and spring 2012 seems oh so very far away.

Overall Swim the Fly is a very much needed breath of fresh air in Young Adult fiction. Perfect for the nerdy teen, fans of The Inbetweeners, Napoleon Dynamite, Adrian Mole and anybody who can remember those socially awkward, hormone ridden, acne filled years will love this book. If you're looking for a book with warts and all characters, laugh out loud humour and not a supernatural creature in sight this is the book for you and comes with the highest of recommendations from me.
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Review: Each Summer, Matt, Coop and Sean have had a goal. This year, see a naked girl. Then there's Matt with his own goal-impress Kelly, the girl he wants to date. Method-win at the championships for the 100m butterfly.
About 0.2% of my real life interactions involve teenage boys. It really makes a change reading something from a boy's point of view, where there isn't crazy, fantastical things going on.
Matt and Coop and Sam are kind of crazy, in the good way. Their quest leads them to do things that...really aren't normal (and from me, that's saying a lot) but are great entertainment. Despite some of them being really really disgusting. I think that teenage boys, or people with stereotypically teenage boys' humour, would really enjoy this.
I liked the characters. They're full of, well. Character, and it's a good friendship. Matt comes along a bit. Valerie was really sweet. Swim teacher Ulf was my favourite because as wlell as providing hilarity in his treatment of Matt, he also gives him good life lessons with sticking with things and providing space for Matt to develop.
The writing is first person, chatty and honest. I really liked the chapter titles for some reason.

Overall: Strength 3 tea to a book that wasn't my thing, but still enjoyable. I'll read the sequel, Beat the Band, because it seems a little more my thing.
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on 29 October 2011
I love reading YA. I wouldn't review it if I didn't. But I have to admit that I prefer YA written for boys than YA written for girls. They're just so funny! So when Swim the Fly came through my letterbox, I started reading straight away. And it's brilliant!

I can't count the times I actually laughed out loud while reading this book, or how many of those times I actually sat there laughing for a good while before being able to continue reading. There are so many incidents in this book - whether it be the three mates desperate attempts to see a naked girl, or Matt's Grandad trying to woo a recent windower - that are just so silly and ridiculous, you can't help but laugh. Though I have to say there were moments when I felt a little disturbed at some of the things that happened, but I guess boys will be boys, and it was all fairly believable despite that.

Swim the Fly was light on the serious issues. It touched on a thing or two every now and then, but for the main part, it's a comedy. This isn't a bad thing though, as there was never much of a downer on the story, and I was kept smiling.

This review is pretty short, but I don't know what else I can say without spoiling it, as so much happens. The characters are awesome, they get themselves into so many scrapes, and come out with really funny phrases. It's just a brilliant book, and would make a good summer read. I highly recommend it, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, Beat the Band. An awesome book!
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on 3 June 2011
Funny and heart-warming, Don Calame's Swim the Fly is a book that will make you laugh until you cry. Although I have been reading a lot of contemporary YA fiction lately, I've realised that I had yet to read one that centered around a male protagonist, and so, when Swim the Fly was pitched to me, I knew I had to give it a try. I just never imagined that my first foray into dude-lit would be such an enjoyable one. This book is laugh out loud hilarious and is definitely the funniest book I have read all year.

Friends Matt, Coop and Sean have a long standing tradition. Every summer they set themselves a mission, and this summer they've set themselves their toughest goal yet - to see a real live naked girl! You will not believe the hilarity that ensues as the trio endeavour to complete their mission. From laxatives to nudist beaches to cross-dressing, Matt, Sean and Coop know no bounds in their quest to see a hottie in the buff!

Summer is not all about trying to see naked girls, though. Well, it mostly is, but Matt, Coop and Sean are also members of their local swim team, and when Matt develops a crush on the Kelly West, the hot new girl in town, he decides to try and impress her by volunteering to swim the one-hundred yard butterfly - only the hardest stroke known to man! Further hilarity ensues as it soon emerges that Matt is no star athlete, and while he is dedicated to his cause, he spends just about as much time trying to weasel his way out of swimming the fly as he does training for it.

Every scene in this book is a gem, and Calame's writing style is vivid, entertaining and fast-paced. Matt, Coop and Sean are a great trio, while secondary characters such as the ever-funny Grandpa Arlo, for example, will leave you in fits of giggles. Feel good and funny with themes of family, friendship and loyalty at its heart, Swim the Fly will appeal to teenage boys who will be impressed by just how far Matt, Coop and Sean will go to achieve their goal, while teenage girls will delight in getting a sneak peek into how the mysterious mind of the teenage boy works!

In Swim the Fly, Don Calame has written a great coming of age tale that will brighten your day whatever your mood, and as I turned the final pages of this book (still laughing), I was delighted to see that the series is set to continue with Coop (one of my favourite characters) taking center stage next time. Beat the Band is set to release in spring 2012. I can't wait to read more!
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