Wednesday 10 September 2014

Swim That Rock

Swim That Rock by John Rocco and Jay Primiano (Walker Books)
HC RRP 24.95
ISBN 9780763669058
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis
Jake at fourteen years old has experienced a growth spurt of eight inches from one summer to the next. Self-conscious of his height and uncoordinated, he is seen as a freak. His dad disappeared months ago while qhahogging and is presumed drowned. Because his body was never found, Jake believes he will come home. While his mother struggles with depression, their mortgaged family diner is under threat of repossession by the local loan sharks if the repayment in not made on time.

Jake learnt a lot from his dad and is determined to use that knowledge to keep what is left of his father’s life, dreams and memories alive. This determination leads Jake to accept work salvaging and qhahogging at night from a man known only as the Captain, and who knows everything about illegal fishing and avoiding capture. The money pours in, but can Jake make enough in time to save the business?

This is an enjoyable, uplifting and humour-filled story about family, hope, friendship, community, and quahog fishing. The story is set in Narragansett Bay, New England and propelled by fantastic characters, such as Gene, and Jake and his best mate Trashman Tommy, the king of recycling. Its strong prose is illuminated by the unique sub-stories woven through the main storyline like delicate lace.

I learnt a lot about quahogs of which I knew nothing, and the illustrations positioned on the inside of the covers and on the end pages, gave complete clarity to the fishing references.

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