Caterpillars Can't Swim by Liane Shaw
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'd like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!
This is a review of an ARC!
Wow wow wow. I honestly don't know where to start with this one. As you can tell by my rating, I loved it. I genuinely could not put it down, and managed to read it all in 2 sittings. (Damn you, work, for making me put this one down for a bit!) The best word I can think of to describe this one is fresh. A weird word choice for describing a novel but finally a YA contemporary book that made me feel like I wasn't reading a plot I've already read.
Our narrator and main character, Ryan, is on the swim team, has an insensitive but well-meaning best friend named Cody, and is wheelchair bound. When Ryan witnesses a schoolmate, Jack, struggling in the river he jumps in to save him. From there a hesitant (on Jack's part) friendship is born. This book is angsty as hell, but somehow doesn't come off as being overwhelmingly depressing. Ryan has a decent sense of humour, but knows when to be serious.
I love how the author managed to address political correctness when it comes to marginalised groups, as well as taking a glimpse into discrimination that people face everyday without making it the sole focus of the story. It's there, and addressed, but it's not the entire plot. There was even a fair amount of character growth in every character, without completely changing their personalities. While it wasn't a life-changing book for me by any means, I'm really loving the fact that more and more authors are writing main characters with disabilities!
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