Three adolescent boys with a single goal: see a real naked girl. The result? Razor-sharp. Rapid-fire. Raunchy, of course. And beyond hilarious.
Fifteen-year-old Matt Gratton and his two best friends, Coop and Sean, always set themselves a summertime goal. This year’s? To see a real live naked girl for the first time’quite a challenge, given that none of the guys has the nerve to even ask for a date. But catching a girl in the buff starts to look easy compared to Matt’s other summertime aspiration: to swim the 100-yard butterfly (the hardest stroke known to God or man) as a way to impress Kelly West, the sizzling new star of the swim team. Complicating matters? Kelly’s beefy butterfly-champ ex-boyfriend, Tony ‘The Gorilla’ Grillo; a merciless life-saving instructor named Ulf; and a blackmail threat involving one very potent laxative. In the spirit of Hollywood’s blockbuster comedies, screenwriter-turned-YA novelist Don Calame unleashes a true ode to the adolescent male: characters who are side-splittingly funny, sometimes crude, yet always full of heart.
Ms. Luntz blows her whistle. The white whistle she wears on a black string around her neck like a talisman. The squeal of it screams in your ears. It’s higher pitched than most whistles. It’s more grating. More piercing. There are rumors she had it specially made by Hungarian gypsies, whittled out of a human femur. And it’s been said that each screech of her whistle is like a curse. I don’t know who started the rumor, but I believe it.
Awards & Nominations
- OLA Forest of Reading White Pine Award, 2011, Nominee
- Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up! Honor Book
- New Westminster Hyack Teen Readers Award, Nominee
- Nevada Young Readers Award, 2011, Nominee
- ALA Best Book for Young Adults Nominee
- Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA) Book Award, Nominee
New York Times Book Review
August 13, 2009
‘Swim the Fly’ is a raucous PG-13 comedy. Don Calame, a screenwriter, serves up jokes and gross-outs in the style of filmmakers like Judd Apatow… In the war between the sexes on the young adult bookshelves, ‘Swim the Fly’ occupies the low ground of offensive, knuckleheaded fun. Which is to say, boys will probably love it. This one did.
April 20, 2009, Starred Review
Screenwriter Calame debuts as a novelist by perfectly channeling the adolescent male mindset…. The boys’ pursuits make for a hilarious, if raunchy, what-I-did-last-summer narrative, supported by a cast of memorable adults, including a take-no-prisoners swim coach and Matt’s grandfather, who is on a parallel romantic journey. This one will spread like athlete’s foot in a locker room.
March 1, 2009
‘This viscerally funny story of one boy’s attempt to impress his ladylove by finishing four laps of the dreaded butterfly stroke in a swim competition by summer’s end is sure to please fans of Pete Hautman’s Rash (2006) and Randy Powell’s Three Clams and an Oyster (2002)... Fully realized secondary characters, realistically raunchy dialogue and the scatological subject matter assure that this boisterous and unexpectedly sweet read will be a word-of-mouth hit.’ (Fiction. 14 & up)
March 15, 2009
“Calame has a screenwriting background, and it shows’his hilarious debut resembles nothing so much as the crude-yet-insightful comedies of producer Judd Apatow.”
Los Angeles Times
June 28, 2009
Suffice to say that, of all the hilariously raucous scenes that stuff its pages, the most outrageous involves a bet (or is it blackmail?), cross-dressing and laxatives’an audacity in the humor and a sweetness in the conclusion that set it apart.
Quill & Quire
May 2009, Starred Review
“Reading like a cross between Fast Times at Ridgemont High and The Karate Kid… Calame delivers a fast-paced, well structured story that is laced with hilarity, sweetness and wisdom… Swim the Fly is, in fact, the sort of book that could tweak many boys to the fun of reading… Indeed, Calame, previously an elementary teacher and a screenwriter, shows tremendous sensitivity to the awkwardness, insecurity, and frustration of being a 15-year-old boy, and nails the exhilaration of young love.”
February 1, 2009
“A fast and fun read, I would recommend SWIM THE FLY to boys and girls alike - boys will repeatedly relate to Matt and his friends, and girls will be interested to see a bit into the mind of a typical teenage male. This book constantly delivered laughs…”