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Swim the Fly [Kindle Edition]

Don Calame
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Fifteen-year-old Matt Gratton and his two best friends always set themselves a summertime goal. This year's? To see a real-live naked girl for the first time—quite a challenge, given that none of the guys has the nerve to even ask a girl on a date. But that goal starts to look easy compared to Matt's other aspiration: swimming the 100-yard butterfly (the hardest stroke known to God or man) to impress the sizzling new star of the swim team. In the spirit of Hollywood’s blockbuster comedies, screenwriter Don Calame unleashes a true ode to the adolescent male: side-splittingly funny, sometimes crude, yet always full of heart.


Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Calame has a screenwriting background, and it shows—his hilarious debut resembles nothing so much as the crude-yet-insightful comedies of producer Judd Apatow. See if this rings a bell: three 15-year-old buddies make a pact to see a naked girl before the summer is over and in the process mire themselves in increasing trouble and constant humiliation. All three are on the summer swim team, and, in a desperate attempt to impress the superhot new girl, Matt agrees to swim the dreaded butterfly at championships, despite the fact that he can barely tread water. At the same time, he’s dealing with his horny grandpa, a sadistic swim instructor, and his pals’ wacky schemes to catch a glimpse of bare skin, which includes dressing up like girls and entering a women’s locker room. That would’ve worked if it weren’t for the accidental dose of laxative . . . well, you get the idea. Although Calame underuses his moments of poignancy, teen readers will have a blast puzzling out the creative vulgarisms. “Pants hamster” is just the beginning. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus

About the Author

Don Calame is an accomplished screen-writer who has worked with Marvel Studios and the Disney Channel, among others. About Swim the Fly, he says, “This novel began as a short piece I wrote several years ago about an incident that happened to me when I was a teenager on the swim team. (Yes, I have the collection of green fifth-place ribbons to prove it.) I tucked the story away and promptly forgot about it until my wife gently nudged me — thirty-six times — to expand it into a book. I’m grateful she was so persistent, because I’ve never had so much fun writing something in my life.” Don Calame was born in New York and now lives in British Columbia with his wife, his stepson, and their two dogs

Product Details

  • File Size: 674 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 076364157X
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (August 10, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003YJEXNE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,167 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Side-splitting May 6, 2009
By Bri
Format:Hardcover
I was eager to get Swim the Fly by Don Calame. Because it is, in a word, hilarious. But being an English major, I can not be concise and therefore must use words to describe this novel: uproarious, rollicking, fun, and side-splitting come to mind.

Matt's about to spend the summer the way he and his friends, Coop and Sean, always do: competing against each other to be the first to reach a goal. This summer's goal? To be the first to see a real live naked girl. Soon Matt's got another goal to reach: swimming the 100 yard butterfly on his swim team to impress his crush Kelly and the new girl on the swim team. To accomplish this, Matt seeks the help of a eccentric and nearly-sadistic swim instructor, Ulf, who tortures Matt with his unorthodox training methods. Meanwhile, the race to reach the guys' goal continues with hilarious results.

Calame's background as a screenwriter (Employee of the Month and the Disney Channel original movie Hounded) shines throughout the novel, as each page is perfectly paced, beat by beat. Here the laughs really are a mile a minute. As each plan fails - some the fodder of popular teen shows, such as nude beaches, hiding in the locker room - they get more wild and ridiculous, but always hilarious. Whether it's the mishaps due to a powerful new laxative or an ill-fated trip to a nude beach, Matt and his friends never fail to bring the laughs. Although slightly crude, like films of the Jude Apatow ilk, Swim the Fly still packs a lot of heart. The rest of the novel is rounded out with great moments by his family, including a grandfather sweet on a widowed neighbor. Not just a boy book, it's a great summer read and one that'll be packed in my beach bag this summer!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious... with a heart. June 30, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Like all great comedies, Swim the Fly transcends "funniness."

In addition to the almost incontinence-causing hilarity, this book is true to life, capturing the awkward, sometimes mortifying experience of being an adolescent, while entertaining with brilliant characters, snappy dialogue and a gripping, redemptive story.

The novel is full of witticisms that stick in my memory, but are probably unprintable here (I haven't read Amazon's review policy). Calame has that rare gift of fiction writers -- a fresh, unique and memorable voice.

He has hit the ball out of the park here.

p.s. I had the same feeling of hearing an original voice that I did when watching Juno. I hope this, too, is made into a movie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read That Doesn't Talk Down to Teens November 15, 2009
Format:Hardcover
I spotted this for my 13 year old swimmer son and read large parts myself after he fell asleep. Reminded me of Carl Hiaason (his adult fiction, Skinny Dip), fast very well written and creative. My 15 year old picked it up and said, "I won't like this, I'm not on a swim team." I think he later read it twice. Laugh out loud funny and yes, the consensus in our household is that it would make a great movie. Buy this for your teen and enjoy it yourself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Best friends Matt Gratton, Coop and Sean always set a goal for themselves each summer. This year Coop has come up with the best one so far: to see a "real, live naked girl" for the first time. Matt doesn't think they will find a way to achieve it, but the trio creates several elaborate plans to make their dream come true. Most of them fail, but one "fool proof" idea actually succeeds; sort of.

If that weren't enough, the teens are also on the Rockville swim team. Their coach needs someone to "swim the fly" (the 100-yard butterfly), which is generally considered the toughest stroke. Matt volunteers, even though he can barely do the butterfly, much less swim it competitively for such a long distance. He wants to impress the newest member of the team, Kelly West, who has turned from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. So what if Kelly is going out with the best swimmer on one of the opposing teams, a buff guy whose best stroke is the butterfly?
When Matt tries to train his body to meet the rigors of the race, he runs into all kinds of trouble, like trying to sneak into a private pool so he won't have to practice in front of his friends and accidentally trashing his brother's room when he's using his brother's weights to build his muscles.

While reading SWIM THE FLY, it's easy to identify with Matt's fears and insecurities. He's skinny and geeky, and not the type of guy beautiful Kelly would be impressed with. It's hard to imagine him ever being tough enough to "swim the fly" for 100 yards, either. Yet you find yourself rooting for him to succeed, despite all the obstacles.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it and I'm Over the Hill :-) April 20, 2009
By aljamie
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A sweet, funny and heartwarming book that entertains from page one. Chapter nine, Disguises, had me laughing out loud. Would make a great movie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Calame nails what it is like to be a teenage boy buzzing with excitement and loaded with insecurities. The secret summer quest of three friends shines a light on those wonderfully embarrassing moments we all had growing up. This is a really funny, really warm book. I couldn't put it down.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
enjoyable reading
Published 3 months ago by L. E. Wessinger
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book
Published 3 months ago by Mike Harrington
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
I was looking for a book for my 14 yr old son. He's very smart but hates fiction because he says is normally sad or unrealistic. This book solved that. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Prudence Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Teenagers will read this!
I bought this for a group of students who weren't big readers and quite frankly reluctant to read anything. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Brandy Jo
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Pretty raunchy. Not sure of the literary value.
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars I was told enjoyed the book a lot and was heard laughing aloud ...
My Grandson, I was told enjoyed the book a lot and was heard laughing aloud as he read it.
Published 5 months ago by Mrs. M. J. Sharp
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!!
This is a very good book!!!!!!
U think that I is a book I will recommend to other people!

#amazing!
Published 6 months ago by ethan tull
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny current coming of age story
I laughed out loud throughout this book. This felt like the next stage of maturation from "Stand By Me" or "The Sandlot."
Published 6 months ago by Mark H. Gunther
4.0 out of 5 stars grand humour
I may have a very immature sense of humour, but the gross scenes in this novel had me hooting with laughter. Enjoyed the banter between the boys - all so perfect. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Terry Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars Real life journey into the mind of a fifteen year old.
I laughed out loud several times. Character seemed true to life. Good read not only for young adults, but for Moms of fifteen year olds or soon to be fifteen.
Published 8 months ago by Sandra Cassens
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