Book Review of Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke

Posted February 28, 2013 by Kara in Kara / 26 Comments

Publisher: Touchstone
Release Date: March 12th, 2013
Pages: 384
Genre: Adult-Contemporary
Source: Edelweiss

Description from GoodreadsPeople go traveling for two reasons: because they are searching for something, or they are running from something. Katie’s world is shattered by the news that her headstrong and bohemian younger sister, Mia, has been found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Bali. The authorities say that Mia jumped—that her death was a suicide.

Although they’d hardly spoken to each other since Mia suddenly left on an around-the-world trip six months earlier, Katie refuses to accept that her sister would have taken her own life. Distraught that they never made peace, Katie leaves her orderly, sheltered life in London behind and embarks on a journey to find out the truth. With only the entries in Mia’s travel journal as her guide, Katie retraces the last few months of her sister’s life and—page by page, country by country—begins to uncover the mystery surrounding her death.

Weaving together the exotic settings and suspenseful twists of Alex Garland’s The Beach with a powerful tale of familial love in the spirit of Rosamund Lupton’s Sister, Swimming at Night is a fast-paced, accomplished, and gripping debut novel of secrets, loss, and forgiveness.

Every now and then a book comes along that just makes you feel all the feels and really lose yourself in the narrative. It’s very difficult for me to find books like this as I am so damn picky these days. But this book. THIS BOOK. Could not have made me happier. It made me laugh, cry, want to travel to these places, want to have a sister, etc. Basically, I did a little dance the entire time I was reading. 
 photo gif1-5.gif
I wanted to give myself a few days to get over the pure emotion I felt after I turned the last page. I wanted to review it immediately, but I find over time that these types of reviews tend to be full of emotional overreactions and I’d prefer that not to happen, so I waited. Because if I had reviewed this immediately upon finishing my head would have exploded it was so full of thoughts. It ended up not mattering though because I still loved this book just as much. 

The writing was fantastic. Nothing particularly special about the prose itself, but the way the author captured the imagery of the places the protagonist visited were brilliant. Western Australia was dusty, barren, but full of wonderfully friendly people and epic surfing waves. Indonesia was crowded, humid, frangipani scented, and full of beautiful beaches. 

 photo GIF1-1.gif
Shocked. Just stunned by this entire novel. In awe. Overwhelmed. In love with the characters. All of them. They are full of depth. Flawed but likable. People you can relate to because of the things they have been through in life. Personalities that jump off the page because the way they relate to each other feels so utterly real and heartbreaking. I’ve never had a sister but this book made me want one so I could experience all the things that sisters go through (good and bad). The whole time you are reading this you know how it is going to end but not how it happens. And you know it’s going to end sadly. And yet when I got there, it was just devastating regardless. 

 photo gif1-8.gif
I might cry a lot when I read books, but never has a book stuck with me quite like this one has. I’m not only calling this a favorite, but an all time favorite. Some books hit you in just the right spot. Some books make you rethink life and the way you live it. Some books gut-punch you with their awesomeness. For me personally, this book was flawless. Books like this are the reason I do what I do. I’d like to think somewhere that these people are real. That Katie is healing somewhere. That Noah is moving on with his life and becoming a better person. That Finn has finally found the love he has been looking for all his life. I hope that for all these characters. 

I wish I could read this book for the first time all over again. But I can’t. So all I can do is tell YOU to read it so I can live through your experiences. And I don’t want to spoil it with too many plot points or technical talk. There is no need for that here. This book is a page turner and it is all about the emotional experience. I hope you choose to take the ride. 

5/5 Dragons

26 responses to “Book Review of Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke

  1. Amy

    I had not heard of this book before, but now I really want to read it!! It sounds very emotional and great!! I love a book that can make me feel that way and care about the characters. Fabulous review!!

  2. Oh my goodness! I HAVE To go and get this book today. What an awesome freaking review, I think I would love this. I have a sister and I am so happy I do for all the good and bad things that come with it just like you said. wow. great review. just. wow.

  3. Wow, well you have my attention. I’d not heard of this, but it’s on my to-read list now. I haven’t seen you this excited about a book in a while. There’s nothing better than those books that give you all the FEELS, and those feels stick with you for a long time. Plus, I love that you lost yourself in it. In the best books, I completely forget that I’m reading and am just hanging out with the characters. There’s nothing better than that!

  4. I totally know what you mean about books that are so good that the reviews feel like an emotional rant instead of an honest critique. I felt the same way when I read Divergent last week and I still can’t figure out to express exactly why I loved it so much. Well the book soundsawesome and though its not something I’d normally read, I think I’ll put it on my TBR list.

  5. I must have seen you comment somewhere because this is already on my Goodreads to-read list and I have put you down as the one who rec’d it to me!

    I just noticed it’s being pub’d under another name in the UK which probably means I will need to look out for that version when it gets here.

    And I like that you mentioned the bad that goes along with the good when you have a sister – it’s so true! I cannot wait to read this, Kara – wonderful review.

    • LOL I have been pushing this all over Goodreads. That was probably where.

      It is being published under another name in the UK. I like both titles AND covers, strangely.

      Sometimes I wish I had a sister. This book made me want that.

  6. Kara, this sounds FANTASTIC! You don’t give 5 Stars lightly and such a strong emotional attachment speaks wonders! I can’t wait to read this myself, now! 🙂 Thanks for putting it on my radar! 😀

  7. Oh my gosh, I need to get this book asap. I totally know what you mean about giving yourself a buffer after an amazing book to let your emotions calm down. Most of the time, my enthusiasm comes down to appropriate levels after a bit of waiting, but sometimes there’s a rare book that sticks in my head and heart even after the buffer period. The fact that you still loved it as much days later is a really good sign. Thanks for sharing, and glad you had such a wonderful reading experience with this!

  8. Oh I just got over the emotion of my last book, and now I want to read this one – my heart may be in serious danger of falling apart! Travel books are awesome, and I shall now stalk this book mercilessly.

    Great review 😀

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge