Sometimes winning is everything.
Champion swimmer Aerin Keane is ready to give up her dreams of college swimming and a shot at the Olympics. As she starts senior year in her third high school, Aerin's determined to leave her family troubles behind and be like all the other girls at Two Rivers. She doesn’t want to win anymore. She's swimming for fun, no longer the freak who wins every race, every title, only to find herself alone.
But when her desire to be just one of the girls collides with her desire to be the best Two Rivers has ever seen, will Aerin sacrifice her new friendships to break a longstanding school record that comes with a $50,000 scholarship?
Swim Season by Marianne Sciucco is a gripping novel that will find a comfortable home with sports fans and readers looking for well-rounded characters. Champion swimmer Aerin Keane has grown up in a family where they expect her to meet excellence at all cost and she's done so. Yes, she is an excellent swimmer. But besides the accolades she gets for being a hard-core swimmer, she feels disconnected. She wants to feel more connected with her friends and people around her. That is what happens when she reaches the final year of her third high school in Two Rivers. A suitable candidate for the Olympics, Aerin Keane has to choose between swimming to win for the wrong reasons and doing it with a purpose. Is it enough to just swim for fun, recreate her image, and get connected with her circle of friends, or should she stand out and be the best her school has ever had?
Sciucco's book is character-driven and it will be much loved by young adult readers. In the heart of the story is the existential question: What does it really take to live a fulfilling life? The protagonist lives through powerful emotions and readers will undoubtedly connect with her at the point where she is pressured to achieve success. The themes of sports, success, friendship, and family are masterfully explored. The narrative voice is strong and it comes across as unique and natural. Readers will enjoy the realistic sounding dialogues and the excellent prose. Swim Season is a novel that is well-paced with a lot of exciting things taking place. I did enjoy it. - Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Aerin Keane is a champion swimmer and a possible Olympic contender. However, just when everything is going well with her swimming career, everything at home falls apart. After her father remarries and her mother's addiction to pain pills lands her in prison, Aerin determines that it's time to just be one of the girls and swim for fun; yet, Two Rivers High is currently embroiled in a competition to break a longtime school record with a $50,000 scholarship for the winner. With her desire to fit in colliding with her deep-set desire to win, Aerin finds herself torn as to what will really bring her happiness and what she's willing to sacrifice to do it.
A realistic contemporary YA novel, Swim Season focuses on Aerin from a first person point of view covering the time from the beginning of her senior year to graduation. The plot covers a lot of teenage drama, and Aerin's family conflicts, all which influence her toward or away from competitive swimming. The addition of a diverse cast of characters provides some different plot threads to keep the story moving; including a boy who brings a light element of romance. Although the story is long, with a very slow pace at times (that could be sped up by eliminating some of the repetitive parts), lovers of contemporary YA will find plenty of clean drama as Aerin undergoes a journey of self-discovery. Overall, an athletic story with a relatable lead. - Sarah E. Bradley for InD'Tale Magazine
Although Aerin has always excelled in the pool, swimming to surpass records and win races, life at home hasn't been easy. Her pool time was her escape time, from her parents' broken marriage to her mom's stressful experience serving in Afghanistan. Although being the best in the water didn't leave her much chance for friends or fun. Not to mention, she wonders if she could have helped her parents had she spent less hours at the pool? So in her senior year, at a new high school where no one knows her, Aerin decides to swim differently. She doesn't want to stand out as a champion anymore but wants to enjoy the feeling of fitting in! At first, her plan works. She forms quick bonds with new girlfriends and there is even a cute boy that likes her! Swimming slower seems to serve her swimmingly. If only it would stay so simple! Soon, keeping her slower pace becomes more and more difficult for Aerin. And as her new friends, coaches and competitors become suspicious of Aerin's swimming, she is forced to ask herself who she really is. The result is a story about facing your fears, finding true friendships and forging your own inner strength. As a former swimmer and a swim mom myself, I believe this rich, well written story with authentic characters participating in a demanding sport, accurately supports real life issues for teens. It will no doubt hold the interest of both swimmers and non-swimmers alike. It is a book that will inspire you to look deep inside yourself when managing complex times, to trust others to help you if you let them, and above all, to trust yourself. - Kathryn Harrison, author of Weeds in Nana's Garden
During swim season you can find Marianne Sciucco, a dedicated Swim Mom for ten years, at one of many Skyline Conference swim meets cheering for her daughter and her team, the Mount Saint Mary College Knights.
Marianne is not a nurse who writes but a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, she dreamed of becoming an author when she grew up but became a nurse to avoid poverty. She later brought her two passions together and writes about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues.
Her debut novel "Blue Hydrangeas," an Alzheimer’s love story, is a Kindle bestseller, IndieReader Approved, a BookWorks featured book, and a Library Journal Self-e Selection. She also has two short stories available on Kindle, "Ino's Love" and "Collection.”
A native Bostonian, Marianne lives in New York’s Hudson Valley, and when not writing works as a campus nurse at a community college.
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