I was so so excited when I heard Steph Bowe had a new book!
I’m totally a hipster fan of Steph Bowe, okay? I’m just going to put it out there. Back in 2012 I was totally in adoration of Girl Saves Boy. (Steph was only 16 when it was published! Which was 500% #GOALS for me at the time.) And I also loved All This Could End which is about a family of pretty chill bank robbers back in 2013. SO I WAS PRETTY MUCH DESPERATE FOR MORE OF HER BOOKS.
And Night Swimming didn’t disappoint at all! It was an entire puddle of adorkable cuteness, filled with dry humour and excellent goat puns and a super cute romance.
“Could you say he raised the baa for goat’s milk soap?” asks Iris.
I laugh. “You could.”
First we need to talk about the glory that is Kirby.
She has the best voice. She’s dryly witty + intensely awkward + too anxious to tell her crush about her feelings + a very avid food enthusiast which is so relatable + scared of change + A HUGE BOOKWORM + a complete and utter dork. AND she confessed to having a “book buying problem” which obviously means she had no problem at all. SHE’S ONE OF US.
YOUR PEOPLE ARE HERE, KIRBY. WE UNDERSTAND.
Kirby and her BFF, Clancy, are the ONLY teens in their town, so they’re BFF by default. I love reading books with girl/boy platonic relationships! The two meshed so well and the witty banter was on point. Clancy was basically a glitter explosion and drama queen, while Kirby was a slow-steady tortoise. I adored them!!
He knows I’m here, but he doesn’t look up till I sit down across the table from him. He grins. “Had to finish the chapter.” He tucks a bookmark in. I have a tendency to fold back the corner to mark my page, so he thinks I’m a heathen. I like my spines cracked and my books well loved. Clancy likes his possessions being neat and nice and in like-new condition.
#I #AM #CLANCY
There is a love triangle, however. Which I admit is my least favourite romance trope. But it’s not one of those dystopian triangles where all is destinyyyyyy and confessions of luuuuuve all over the place. It’s more a matter of Iris comes into town and Clancy and Kirby both fall in love with her. But they become friends first! And it becomes quite obvious it’s Kirby/Iris, since all Clancy does is talk about marrying Iris and then does nothing else because #dork. Iris isn’t leading anyone on and honestly the angsty isn’t even too highkey! I’m okay with this triangle! And I really love that it focused on friendship-to-romance…which makes Iris and Kirby so much more shippable. <3 BLESS THEIR LITTLE HEARTS.
- beautiful but horrible puns which are life
- the small country town vibe where everyone knows everyone
- Kirby was fat and while she fretted over it occasionally she was ok with her body and comfortable being herself
- the romantic encounters were ADORKABLE with Kirby spending 5 hours sending a text that says “sure”
- bookworm appreciation
- a pet goat named Stanley who will eat your shoes and soul
- goat soap
- crop circles
- Aussie slang which is my favourite
- grandpa representation
- so much diversity with LGBTQI+ and POC characters and also a goat that wants to be human
My only small quibble is that I think Iris’ character wasn’t complex enough. She has a Secret Reason She Moved To This Town™ and it was barely mentioned and brushed over at the end. And I still don’t get why she did most of the things she did?? I also hesitantly say that Kirby’s Estranged Father subplot was a bit cliche. I have read that 398 times and it played out how they usually do. But ya know. These are just small things in an altogether marvellous book!
“You’re more of a Belle, anyway. Since you’re a reader. Clancy should’ve put on Beauty and the Beast, that’s one hell of a musical. I could’ve been a teapot.”
“You’d be a great teapot.”
“No one’s ever said anything so nice to me.” She grins.
I fully loved reading this. I laughed out loud! I ate it faster than a goat with a tasty stolen slipper! The writing style/banter is honestly what I live for and Clancy and Kirby’s friendship was so golden. Plus cute romance, delicious food, so much awesome awkward, and all the coming-of-age fears and questions teens face which is just #relatable.
THANK YOU TO TEXT PUBLISHING FOR THE REVIEW-COPY. Night Swimming by Steph Bowe was published 3rd April, 2017.
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…