I think the best word to describe Night Swimming by Steph Bowe is ADORABLE
Just honestly a beautiful and light read. Sometimes you just want a lovely contemporary YA and this is the book you should be picking up.
But first the blurb to entice you in….
Imagine being the only two seventeen-year-olds in a small town. That’s life for Kirby Arrow—named after the most dissenting judge in Australia’s history—and her best friend Clancy Lee, would-be musical star.
Clancy wants nothing more than to leave town and head for the big smoke, but Kirby is worried: her family has a history of leaving. She hasn’t heard from her father since he left when she was a baby. Shouldn’t she stay to help her mother with the goat’s-milk soap-making business, look after her grandfather who suffers from dementia, be an apprentice carpenter to old Mr Pool? And how could she leave her pet goat, Stanley, her dog Maude, and her cat Marianne?
But two things happen that change everything for Kirby. She finds an article in the newspaper about her father, and Iris arrives in town. Iris is beautiful, wears crazy clothes, plays the mandolin, and seems perfect, really, thinks Kirby. Clancy has his heart set on winning over Iris. Trouble is Kirby is also falling in love with Iris…
Growing up in a small town (while not as small as theirs) I love reading stories set in rural Australia to see the similarities and differences to my own. Bowe captured small town life perfectly. The tug people feel towards staying and going when you finish high school was very similar to the feelings and questions my friends and family went through and myself. I appreciated that Bowe showed that staying in your small town can still mean a satisfied and fulfilling life, while choosing to leave and pursue other dreams is also a valid choice. I loved all the characters in their town and how they all knew each other’s business and town gossip was the bible – trust me its all true – everyone knows everyone in small towns.
We need to take a moment to appreciate the characters. I loved Kirbys voice. She was a delight to read from. I think my favourite part of Bowes writing is how real and authentic her characters are. Kirby is smart and witty and little bit awkward, which made me love her more. Clancy was hilarious! Definitely one of my favourite characters, he certainly made me laugh out loud throughout the book and I loved his friendship with Kirby. Iris was beautiful and mysterious and I loved the romance between her and Kirby, it was adorable (really there is no other word) to read. I also appreciated all the side characters, the other people in the town. While they may not has have had a lot of dialogue every time they were in the story they felt fully developed and not just placed there to fill a gap.
Overall the best part of this story has to be the wonderful diversity. What I appreciated most about it was how seamless it was, there was no great fan fare, there was just diverse characters everywhere, how there are in real life.
If you are looking for a new YA contemporary to read, definitely pick this one up, its quirky, funny and utterly adorable – there’s that word again!
This book is OUT NOW and published by Text Publishing (what champions!) go find it!
I gave it 4/5 Avocados, definitely worth a read over a smashed avo brunch.
Also can I have a pet goat now please????? – Read the story and you will understand!
Until next time book lovers,