DiscoverYoung Adult

Fish Out of Water

By

Loved it! 😍

This story brought the true meaning of friendship to play, and taught a girl what it means to deal with grief in a way that was needed.

Synopsis

Be who you were born to be …

Marina Andersen’s structured life is ruled by the Three S’s: Swim. Study. Succeed. But all this routine and order leaves little time for what she really wants to do: SING. Try telling that to her overbearing father, a former rock legend whose personal demons keep Marina’s extraordinary musical talents behind closed doors.

After a chance performance at school drops a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—and a gorgeous young rocker—at Marina’s feet, she’ll have to decide what lengths she’s willing to go to in pursuit of the one thing that reminds her heart to beat.

While navigating the rough seas of managing her father’s expectations and finding her own voice, will Marina summon the courage to show her dad who she really is inside before their family is dashed like a galleon in a storm?

Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Reedsy Discovery, and Young Actors Project for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.


This is the first novel that I picked to review after getting accepted to be a reviewer for Reedsy Discovery. I would say it reminds me of BookSirens – which reminds me I still have to catch up on some books there, I know – and there are so many other books that I’ve never heard of from there that I get to read. Seeing that this was pitched as a little mermaid story somehow really made me want to read it because of the mermaid aspect, but I may have been a little off. Despite not having actual mermaids in this novel, I still really enjoyed this novel.


First of all, I was really sad at what happened with Marina’s mom, and how much grief the dad was in because of it. It sucked because I don’t really think that the dad’s grieving process was all that healthy, and the way that it affected Marina in the aftermath was even worse. Marina’s dad was a freaking rock star, and growing up surrounded by music and performers and all that jazz, it’s honestly no wonder that Marina loves to sing and is freaking great at it. So when her dad basically forbids her from singing – like she can’t even sing at school????? – she feels like she’s missing a part of herself. Which I totally freaking get because that’s something that she’s actually passionate about, you know?


The fact that she legit has to hide the fact that her friends want to take her to see a live freaking band one night is ridiculous. She can’t even go listen to a BAND play. She’s not the one singing in the band. She’s just in the audience. That’s how strict her dad is, and to make matters worse her keeps drilling this whole swimming career into her mind and it’s stressing her the heck out. I just feel terrible for Marina when I think about her having to deal with her dad and that kind of stuff that he puts her through.


I was reading another review when I made the decision to read and review this one, and someone mentioned that Marina’s friends were part of a book from this series that came out before? But this is supposed to be the first novel in this series? So I was confused about that, but either way I really liked the friendship they had with Marina, and even though they did get her to disobey her father sometimes, I still think that they were really there for her when she needed that friendship and just some time to decompress. Sometimes a little rebellion is needed in order to grow up, and I feel like it worked out in Marina’s favor a little bit here.

Reviewed by

My favorite genres are Fantasy, Dystopian, Historical Fiction, Sci-Fi, & Contemporary. I mainly read Young Adult. I identify as an #OwnVoices Reviewer for Japanese, Chamorro, Chinese, Spanish, Cherokee, Korean, Black, Fat Rep, Mental Illness, Bisexual, and Disability Representation.

Synopsis

Be who you were born to be …

Marina Andersen’s structured life is ruled by the Three S’s: Swim. Study. Succeed. But all this routine and order leaves little time for what she really wants to do: SING. Try telling that to her overbearing father, a former rock legend whose personal demons keep Marina’s extraordinary musical talents behind closed doors.

After a chance performance at school drops a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—and a gorgeous young rocker—at Marina’s feet, she’ll have to decide what lengths she’s willing to go to in pursuit of the one thing that reminds her heart to beat.

While navigating the rough seas of managing her father’s expectations and finding her own voice, will Marina summon the courage to show her dad who she really is inside before their family is dashed like a galleon in a storm?

Just an Illusion

Sometimes I swear I see her sitting in the bleachers.

When my goggles are fogged or when the seal against my face has broken and water has seeped in and the chlorine stings my eyes. You’d think I’d have a resistance to that sting after all these years. I don’t. 

It’s those moments when I think I see her sitting there, cheering me on, that steal my breath.

The eighth anniversary has just passed. Seeing her—or thinking I see her—happens more often around this time of year, when the leaves change and the air has a bite to it, reminding you to take a heavier coat and not just a cute sweatshirt or cardigan, or you’ll shiver through all your classes. 

But then I blink my stinging eyes a few times, readjust my goggles against my face, look back to the bleachers, and it’s not my mom sitting there but someone else’s. It’s those moments I feel most alone in the world. My father is usually there, but instead of cheering, he’s hunched over his silver clipboard, a stopwatch in his hand. I can tell what the rest of the day will be like with a single glance at the shape of his mouth. 

Parents sit in groups, high-fiving and hollering. She used to high-five and holler too. The stakes were a lot lower then. A meet, good or bad, meant a trip to the ice cream shop after. Nowadays, a bad performance in the pool means hours more in the pool. 

I blink again. The mirage fades. Again, someone else’s mom.

The squeeze of grief, like a hand wrapped around my heart—it never goes away. Well-meaning folks say it gets better with time, and maybe with a hundred more years, it will.

Then the start beep goes off, and I hit the water, racing against the dolphin-like bodies on either side of me, and she floats out of my mind as quickly as she floated in.

About the author

Jennifer Sommersby writes YA and middle grade fiction. When not buried in a project of her own, she works as a freelance copy editor. A recipient of a 2019 British Columbia Arts Council Creative Writers grant, Jenn is working on her next YA project. (She also writes romcoms as Eliza Gordon.) view profile

Published on December 20, 2019

Published by Young Actors Project

70000 words

Genre: Young Adult

Reviewed by

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