Caterpillars Can’t Swim by Liane Shaw

Caterpillars Can’t Swim by Liane Shaw
Release date: 6th March 2018
Copy from Net Galley- available until 27th October
Pre-order it here


Description: For sixteen-year-old Ryan, the water is where he finds his freedom. Ever since childhood, when he realized that he would never walk like other people, he has loved the water where gravity is no longer his enemy. But he never imagined he would become his small town’s hero by saving a schoolmate from drowning.

Jack is also attracted to the water, but for him it’s the promise of permanent escape. Disappearing altogether seems better than living through one more day of high-school where he is dogged by rumours about his sexuality. He’s terrified that coming out will alienate him from everyone in town—and crush his adoring mother.

Ryan saves Jack’s life, but he also keeps his secret. Their bond leads to a grudging friendship, and an unexpected road-trip to Comic Con with Ryan’s best friend Cody, the captain of the swim team. They make an unlikely trio, but each of them will have the chance to show whether he is brave enough to go against the stereotypes the world wants to define him by.

I loved this book; from start to finish. I got to the half way mark so unbelievably quickly; I fired a quick message to my beautiful friend Zoe

Ryan is the most level headed and beautiful character I’ve ever had the delight to read. While he has a physical disability that does indeed cause him some frustration, I like that he is able to move past it and, as a character, show us that the chair is part of who he is.
Jack is a little bit of a mystery; owing to it being a first person narrative. At times I wish I could have had a few chapters from his perspective, just because I was itching to hear his voice. However, it’s not long before Ryan has broken down the barriers and Jack opens up. It’s worth the wait.

All in all, I was so very happy to have two strong male leads in a wonderfully refreshing novel.

The plot is much more complex that it appeared on the surface. It obviously has to deal with the immediate aftermath of the incident involving Ryan and Jack, but it evolves into a bittersweet road trip of self-discovery and growth.
I was about to grumble about the lack of a female presence outside of the two mothers, but then Clare and her friend turn up and I’m much happier
The final act is a sucker punch and brave twist to Jack’s journey that will have you reaching for the tissues.

Well, it had me hooked, and it’s the first book I’ve read in one sitting in a long while. I didn’t even put it down to eat or make a cuppa.
I was so invested in the characters that I NEEDED to know what happened. The chapters were a perfect length and there was no lulls that interrupted the flow.
Utterly perfect, from start to finish.

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