Written by Nat Luurtsema
Contemporary, Coming Of Age
Expected Publication August 1st 2016
Thanks to Walker Books Australia
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Lou Brown's life is going down the pan. Best friend Hannah sailed through the Olympic time trials and is off to her fancy pants new swim training school, while Lou's own failure to qualify leaves her without a hobby, or a friend. As Lou tries to navigate her post swim world, a chance encounter with three boys with stars in their eyes takes her life in a surprising new direction. One that leads to a crazy world of underwater somersaults, talent show auditions, bitchy girls and one great big load of awkward boy chat.
Swimming has been all fifteen year old Lou Brown has ever known since the tender age of four years old, but her olympic aspirations have just been dealt a severe blow. While her best friend Hannah is about to depart for the Performance Training Camp, Lou is left behind to contemplate what may have been, coming last in her heat. Lou and Hannah have always had one another, so now Lou is determined to make new friends. But when she's recruited to train a new swim team, she may have gotten more than she bargained for.
Pete, Roman and his younger brother Gabriel devise a plan to enter Britain's Hidden Talent, recruiting Lou to choreograph their underwater routine. While Lou begins to learn to live without competitive swimming, she realises that she's uniquely Lou and it's time to sink or swim.
Girl Out Of Water was an absolute delight. Following the storyline of Lou, awkward, lumbering and clumsy. As she treads water, Lou is a vision of grace but after coming in last to qualify for the Performance Training Camp, she now faces the prospect of life beyond the water. Lou is by far one of my favourite fictional characters, she's intelligent, hilarious and incredibly entertaining. Her inner monologue often refers to how awkward she feels as a young woman with an athletic body, she's not particularly self conscious, but aware that she's towering and muscular. But Lou also uses humour in awkward situations, which only endeared me to her character further.
It's fine. If I ever get a boyfriend, I can carry him around when he's tired.
She wobbles away on her monstrous shoes. She looks like a baby gazelle. I can't imagine how dumb I look when I clump along behind her. Gazelle and the mammoth, off on their adventures.
With older sister Laverne, the Brown household is an usual family situation. After losing his job, her father has moved back into the family home, while her mother is experimenting with dating often with disastrous results. In what is an unusual role reversal for young adult novels, it's their father who is the homemaker, while her mother's specialty dish is food poisoning. Lou's parents are incredibly supportive, they understand her devastation but encourage the fifteen year old to spread her wings and concentrate on her studies. The only problem Lou faces now is a life without swimming and discovering who she is without best friend Hannah, a girl who Lou has always been content to stand in her shadow.
Pete, Roman and Gabe have been practicing as an amateur dance troupe, but having already filled their quota, are refused entry into the Britain's Hidden Talent competition and need to find a niche to enter with a new routine and employ Lou's assistance.
It was incredibly charming, not to mention laugh out loud funny. It also touched on series issues such as realistic body image and the pressure teens face often from parental influences. While Lou's family is incredibly supportive, her best friend Hannah is the daughter of two parents who push the young teen to her limits. She's spent, suffering from low self esteem and yet her voice isn't heard until another adult speaks for her. Between both Lou and Hannah's characters, teens will find a relatable medium they can champion.
I absolutely loved it. Never a dull moment, Lou's character hooked me from he very first page and reduced me to big, honking, incredibly unattractive laughing. A brilliantly entertaining read and a feel great experience!