Book Review: The Twilight Swimmer by A.C. Kavich


This book intrigued me because it is another one of my favorite type of mashups:  romance, young adult and sci-fi with an added twist of adrenaline at the end.

I was a little skeptical at first, come on, fish people?  But it is so well written and sounds entirely plausible.

Here is the synopsis:

One year after her beloved sister drowned while swimming in cold New England waters, sixteen-year-old Brandi Vine is still struggling to understand what happened. As she mourns on the rocky beach where her sister’s lifeless body washed ashore, she is unaware that a pair of haunting gray eyes is watching her from beneath rolling ocean waves.

When Brandi attends a party that goes horribly awry, the mysterious owner of the gray eyes emerges from the ocean depths and comes to her rescue. She only sees him for a few brief moments, but that’s all it takes to turn Brandi’s world upside down. What were the strange markings on his neck that seemed to flutter with every breath? How did he possess such inhuman strength and grace? And why did he look at Brandi with such longing?

Brandi’s fascination with the Swimmer grows. She makes it her mission to find him again and learn who – and what – he is. Meanwhile, the Swimmer’s fascination with Brandi compels him to leave the safety of the ocean behind, to be with her at all costs. They are from two different worlds, but neither of the star-crossed romantics can resist the pull of the other.

Ultimately, as her feelings for the Swimmer swell beyond her control, Brandi comes to realize that the strange young man from the sea can unlock the secret of her sister’s final swim.

This isn’t typical sci-fi fare.  The way the author describes the Swimmer, his abilities, his experiences is extremely scientifically based and entirely believable.  But I still can’t figure out what he eats.

Brandi’s adolescent experience is entirely authentic.  As is her family dynamics that were more than disrupted with the death of her sister.

The author also paints a vivid picture of a shrinking costal small town.  I have never been to that region of the country.  But throughout the book, I felt like I was actually there.  I can actually picture these places, the sights, the smells.  Amazing.

I loved the entire sequence with Brandi trying to teach the Swimmer about her world.  I kept on singing songs from “The Little Mermaid” in my head while I was reading.  Very light, comical, but not too campy.

I definitely did not expect the dramatic twist events during the last part of the book.  That is where it turned from an interesting sci-fi romance to a page turner.  Fantastic.

The ending is very satisfying and complete.  I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I was very grateful for the shot of reality injected at the end.

Overall, this book is extremely fascinating, very well written, with very good plotlines and themes.  I can see most young adult romance lovers liking this even if they usually avoid anything sci-fi.  Well done.

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