In this sweetly funny story, 15-year-old Louise, a British Olympic swimming hopeful, finds unlikely friends and a new focus after spectacularly failing to qualify to attend a prestigious training camp. She feels rudderless until an unlikely group of popular boys hire her to coach them to be synchronized underwater swimmers. Unsurprisingly, their main competition is the swim team of nasty girls that Lou used to train with. Lou soon finds herself in a series of hilarious situations, including getting caught sneaking into an aquarium so the boys can practice their routine in a fish tank. Lou is wryly funny and appealing, if a bit immature (why all the poo references?), and constantly uses texting acronyms and British slang. She has a supportive sis and divorced parents who still live together, and the serious side of this good-natured story addresses the physical and mental stressors serious athletes face. Readers will root for Lou as she realizes that failure isn't the end of the world. Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews
After coming in last at an Olympic qualifying swim meet, British teen Louise resigns herself to a dull year. Then three boys desperate to win a TV talent competition recruit her to train them in synchronized swimming. Things come humorously to a head at a local aquarium. Lou's voice is irreverent and self-deprecating, and the way Luurtsema explores body image is refreshing. Copyright 2016 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews
er best friend Hannah takes what Lou thought would be her spot at a prestigious swim training institute, and Lou dejectedly goes back to school, where her teammates won't speak to her and her coach tells her she's done. Lou resigns herself to a dull year, and then three boys desperate to win a TV talent competition recruit her to train them in synchronized swimming. Lou scrambles to learn about the sport, and things come humorously to a head when the group decides to rehearse in the fish- and marine mammal–filled tanks at a local aquarium. Rarely, if ever, in YA do you see a friendship among three boys and a girl where there is no romantic melodrama (a crush does develop, at a slow burn, between Lou and one of the boys). Lou's voice is irreverent and self-deprecating, and the way Luurtsema explores body image -- with Lou grappling with her perceptions about her athletic, decidedly-not-hourglass shape and trying to decide if she even cares whether boys look at her a certain way or not -- is refreshing. That, and the fact that Lou is biracial and suffers no identity crisis about it, sets her apart. If the premise of this British import feels somewhat unrealistic, and Lou's swim coach seems unnecessarily, impossibly cruel, Goldfish makes up for it with a protagonist who really acts and sounds her age. sarah hannah gómez
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Filled with slapstick antics, this lighthearted story of 15-year-old Louise Brown, a down-on-her-luck swimmer, deserves to make a splash with readers. Gangly and unpopular, Louise lives in Essex, England, with her divorced parents and older sister. After she loses her chance at Olympic stardom, she has to start a new school year without her best friend Hannah (who did qualify for Olympic training) and deal with her former coach, who treats her like a pariah. When three A-list guys from school recruit Louise to coach them in synchronized swimming in an attempt to get on Britain's Hidden Talent, things go laughably wrong. Louise's snarky sense of humor makes for highly entertaining reading ("I don't know what they're trying to do, I don't know if it's even got a name or if it's just Drowning to Music"). Though the plot is straightforward, Luurtsema, in her first book for teens, provides plenty of humiliating moments and awkward gaffes to keep readers laughing. A touch of romance and a tested friendship round out a broadly enjoyable read. Ages 12–up. Agent: Hellie Ogden, Janklow & Nesbit. (June)[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews
Gr 7 Up—Fifteen-year-old Louise has been a competitive swimmer for most of her life, and she's good at it—so good that she is up for a spot in a high-performance training camp that may just pave her way to the Olympics. Imagine Lou's mortification when not only does she come in dead last at the tryouts but the spot goes to her best friend, Hannah. Lou heads back to school after the summer break, shunned by her ex-teammates, sans friends, and without the focus that swimming gave her. When she is approached by three guys from her school who want her to choreograph and coach an underwater dance routine for their Britain's Hidden Talent audition, Lou doesn't know if she should accept or run away screaming. Accepting the offer turns out to be just the beginning of a new adventure and perhaps a different kind of fame. Luurtsema excels at creating multidimensional characters whom readers will care about. Lou is a swimmer first and foremost, but readers get to know her as a sister, friend, daughter, and student. Lou's sister, her dad, and the swim boys are equally developed, giving this story a true-to-life feel. Only the mean girl, Cammie, and Lou's mom are not as fleshed out. VERDICT A fun story with well-rounded characters whom readers will root for; purchase where YA sports fiction is needed.—Heather Webb, Worthington Libraries, OH[Page 157]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.