Title: Fish Out of Water
Author: Natalie Whipple
Format / Length: Paperback / 322 Pages
Publisher / Date Published: Hot Key Books / February 5th 2015
Category / Genre: Young Adult / Contemporary
| FISH OUT OF WATER on Goodreads |
Description: 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?
I love puns. Everyone loves puns. In fact, on my wall, above my bed, I have ten pages of puns stuck to my wall. (I kid you not.) But do you know what I love even more? FISH PUNS. Most of them are so bad they’re hilarious. So, I thought, what if I wrote an entire review to see how many puns I could incorporate in a semi-serious manner? Here’s what I came up with . . .
Fish out of Water hooked me from the first couple of chapters, and from then on in, I was completely submerged. I’d been herring about Natalie Whipple for awhile now — and was eager to read her Transparent series, though I hadn’t get managed to reel in of copy of it yet — so was looking forward to this when I won a copy from the fintastic Cait @ Paper Fury.
You all know that contemporary fluffy reads aren’t my favourite, and often I find myself trawling through them to find one I like, so I was a little koi when it came to this one. But I loved the concept of the story, the fishy theme, the fact that our main character is Japanese, and the brill-iant writing.
Call me cray, but I wasn’t completely on-board with Mika and Dylan’s romance. Don’t get me wrong! It was sweet and cute . . . but maybe a little too fluffy, and I wasn’t Eel-y in-tuna with them. I also found myself floundering with the idea of actually liking Betty — and I must say I was honestly quite surprised when there was a turning point in Betty and Mika’s relationship where Mika asked Betty if it would be okay if she called her “grandmother”. Despite her illness, I’d still not be okay with the crappie way she treated Mika. (Still, that moment between them was nice.)
I recommend Fish out of Water to salmon who enjoys:
- A light, fun, easy read (for the most part)
- A diverse main character
- A realistic, sad look at racism and living with someone with Alzheimer’s.
- Fish (although a distinct lack of fishy puns, which was disappointing)
At first glance, Fish out of Water seems to be a light, fun read, but when you scale it back, it deals with real issues — mainly racism, and the perception of marriage between two cultures. It tackles the sort of issues that YA contemporary dolphinately should be, and is the finnacle of how real, hard-to-swallow issues can be dealt with for teenagers.
So, moral of this review, buoys and gils?