Thursday, 12 March 2015


Fish Out of Water
by Natalie Whipple
Published: March 2015
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genre: YA, contemporary 
"Mika Arlington was supposed to spend the summer after her junior year shadowing her marine biologist parents at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but when her estranged grandmother randomly shows up on the doorstep one day, those plans are derailed. Because Grandma Betty isn't here to play nice—she is cranky, intolerant of Mika's mixed-race-couple parents, and oh yeah she has Alzheimer's and is out of money.  While Mika's family would rather not deal with Grandma Betty, they don't have much choice. And despite Mika's protests, she is roped into caring for a person that seems impossible to have compassion for. And if that wasn't hard enough, Mika must train the new guy at her pet shop job who wants to be anywhere else, and help a friend through her own family crisis. Something's gotta a give, but whichever ball Mika drops means losing someone she loves. Not exactly a recipe for Best Summer Ever—or is it?"

So typically these types of books annoy the hell out of me (you know the ones where the female protagonist drops everything to be with the boy who is oh so dreamy?) but this was totally different. There seemed to be much more substance to it than just girl meets boy, girl falls head over heels in love with boy, some problem happens that tears them away, boy apologises and they live happily ever after. That did happen, but it was the other stuff that went on that really set this one apart from other contemporary books I've read.

The first thing I liked was that these characters all talk and act like real teenagers, which is what so many contemporary books do wrong by making the teenagers seem far too mature and pretentious, you could really imagine these scenarios happening. It is important for me to feel as though I can connect or at least recognise these characters rather than reading about some dreamboat guy who speaks poetry as if its his first language. The level of love-talk and actual real life conversations were balanced really well in this book.

The second thing I liked was how the author explored Alzheimer's. I have a personal experiences with this disease in the family and to see it portrayed so real was refreshing and equally important. It was amazing to see how raw it was, I think its obvious that the author either also has personal relationships with this disease or has done a lot of research about it because everything she wrote was just so accurate. It really encapsulated how scary it is to not know where you stand with someone you love (or have grown to love), one day they are your best friend and the next they are screaming and shouting at you. I think it was really brave to talk about it so truthfully.

The third thing I liked was how race and prejudice was shown. It was interesting to read from the perspective of someone who is often at the butt of others jokes or inconsiderate comments. There needs to be more books like this, it was a welcome change to read something from a 'diverse' character that isn't totally thrown in your face every five minutes that they are different. You were just reading from a character that had really harsh things said about her and you subconsciously thought "oh well thats not right", it was all just done very well. 

And finally, I can't really do a review without talking about Dylan. He is one of the best love interests I've read from in a YA contemporary. His character progression was amazing and I must say the romance was cute (although occasionally I did roll my eyes at the severity of it all, I guess I'm just not that romantic) and the characters are totally what made this book so fun to read. I am a fan of flawed characters, and this certainly had its fair share of flawed characters. Mika, the main protagonist loses her temper, is quick to judge and sometimes thinks before she speaks, but she is also strong, loyal and funny. Her friends, family and Clark her boss all have minor parts but the author makes it clear how much they impact Mika, again really encapsulating real life scenarios of how people around you affect you.

4.5/ 5 STARS
*thanks to the publisher for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review*

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