Swim that Rock by John Rocco & Jay Primiano

Swim that Rock by John Rocco & Jay Primiano
Candlewick Press
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Date Read: December 15, 2014

In the interest of full disclosure, I received an advance reader edition of this book from Candlewick Press and Net Galley for the purpose of an honest review.

4 Stars

I enjoyed this book and felt that it would be a perfect book for young teens. It may have a stronger appeal for boys with the strong male protagonist. I would rate this book a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Jake Cole lives with his mother in an apartment above their diner. His father is presumed dead but Jake still holds out hope that his father may someday return. Jake live in a fishing town and the diner caters to the fishermen who work the waters. Jake works with his father’s friend, Gene, clamming or quahogging. He finds out that the diner owes $10,000 to loan sharks. This debt has to be paid by the end of the month or they will lose the diner. Jake is determined to come up with the money to save the diner. Gene offers to use all the money they can make to pay back the loan. Unfortunately, Gene is injured and unable to work shortly after the agreement is made. Jake spends time working with “captain” earning money in questionable ways.

An area is being opened for clamming, that has been long closed and all of the local fishermen cannot wait. Since Gene is injured, Jake decides to take his boat and go out by himself. On this fishing trip, Jake learns who his true friends are and how tough he can be when needed. He also proves that he is willing to help others even when there is nothing in it for him. His friends and family work together on an event at the diner to help raise money. In the end, Jake’s good deed saves the diner.

This story was very well written. The characters were all very likeable. I found myself hoping that Jake could find a way to save the diner. The supporting characters were wonderful: Tommy and Darcy were both flawed but genuine. This is a great coming of age story where we see a boy struggling to come to terms with his father’s loss who refuses to give up on his home and livelihood. We see a true friendship with Tommy and Jake and with Darcy and Jake. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a realistic coming of age story.


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