Title: Swim the Fly
Author: Don Calame
ISBN: 9780763641573
Pages: 345 pages
Publisher/Date: Candlewick Press, c2009.

“Movies don’t count,” Cooper says. “The Internet doesn’t count. Magazines don’t count. A real, live, naked girl. That’s the deal. That’s our goal for this summer.”
“Been there, done that,” Sean says.
“Taking baths with your sister doesn’t count, either, Sean.” Cooper snorts. […]
Every summer there is a goal. It’s tradition. I don’t remember when it started or why. But as long as I can remember, we’ve always come up with something we had to accomplish before the start of the new school year. When we were ten, it was riding our bikes fifteen miles away to Perry Lake and skinny-dipping. When we were twelve, it was going to the Fern Creek Golf Course every day until we collected a thousand golf balls. Over the past few years, the goals have become more centered around girls and sex. Two years ago, each of us had to get our hands on a Playboy and show it to the others. Last year the ante was upped to finding an illegal password for a porn site. And now, Cooper’s challenge for this summer. Which I can’t see ever happening. (1-3)

Fifteen-year-old friends Cooper, Sean, and Matt make a goal every summer to accomplish something before the school year starts the following August, and this year it’s to see a girl naked. Matt has his sites set on Kelly, a new girl on their swim team. In order to impress Kelly, he volunteers to swim the 100-yard butterfly, a stroke he can’t do for more than 30 seconds without coughing up a lung and half drowning. Both tasks are harder than they sound, and they both sound impossible to Matt. Can they really accomplish these things before the end of their summer?

If you do not like crude humor, swearing, bodily functions, under-age drinking, and lots of talk of sex and the three b’s (booty, boobs, and boners), then this book is not for you. For everyone else, it’s hillarious! Come on people, it’s a book about three teenage boys who want to see a naked girl; the book delivers what it promises on the jacket. First time author Don Calame nailed it.

The boys get into one unfortunate scrape after another with just as unfortunate results. Hiding out in a closet results in the closet door falling open and being caught, the boys learn that what goes in must come out when it comes to food, and people can tell a non-alcoholic beer from an alcoholic beer when that’s the price for admission to a party. There’s the obligatory evolution at the end, at least for two of the three boys, where they realize that maybe there’s more to girls then how they look, but it is not pounded over your head. Matt especially has some real heart and evolution by the end of the story, and none of the boys end up with the supposedly “girl of his dreams”. Readers will definitely remember the end result of their challenge, which I really don’t want to spoil but suits the story just right.

For readers who like this book, I would recommend Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork, Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford, and Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson, all of which treat the subject of male maturity and evolution in exactly the same irreverant but humerous manner. Once it’s available as a book on Cd, I plan on giving this to my boyfriend, who does not read but enjoyed Twisted as an audiobook. The water theme would also go well with the Summer Reading teen theme for this summer, if you can get away with recommending it (I know some parents might object to the plot).

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