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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Flirty Polly Martin has sworn off boys after five failed relationships in her junior year. Now she's working at the Wild Waves water park for the summer and faces distractions like her boss; a good-looking ex; and a regular customer, shirtless Xander, who makes her heart patter. Increasingly confused about how to interact with the opposite sex, she chooses heavy petting over relationships. She turns to her grandmother, newspaper-columnist Miss Swoon, for advice. But wisecracking, sexual-innuendo-spewing Polly won't get anywhere until she can learn to deal with her emotions and her parents' divorce. At the start of the narrative, Polly's bad-girl act seems a little over-the-top but the reasons for her behavior slowly emerge halfway through the book. Each chapter ends with a letter to Miss Swoon, blog posts from a rumormonger coworker, and musings from love interest Xander. All in all, this book is a light read with an emotional awakening and enough romance to keep fans of the genre interested.—Shawna Sherman, Hayward Public Library, CA
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Boy crazy in a house full of women, Polly is facing a summer nightmare of working a crummy water park job being supervised by an ex—and in a bathing suit no less! Hoping to learn from her advice-columnist grandmother, Polly swears off guys and tries to improve herself by following “Miss Swoon's” affirmations and attempting to mend a rift with her best friend, Jane. Unfortunately, skater/poet (and formerly weird neighbor kid) Xander keeps showing up at the park to babysit relatives and catches Polly's eye. Polly uses humor to deflect most real conversations, which makes her the life of the party but leaves her lacking in the serious-relationship department. What appears to be a frothy summer confection delves into some heftier emotions as the underlying issues motivating Polly's actions, as well as those of her mom and grandma, are uncovered. Each chapter ends with snippets from Miss Swoon's advice columns, Xander's poetic observations about Polly, or entries from a coworker's gossip blog. Grades 7-9. --Heather Booth

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152066497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152066499
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,748,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sydney Salter writes middle-grade and young adult fiction. She is the author of My Big Nose & Other Natural Disasters, Jungle Crossing, and Swoon At Your Own Risk. Sydney lives in Utah with her husband, two daughters, lazy cats, big hairy dogs, and a pair of quiet tortoises. When not writing, Sydney likes to read, think up adventures, experiment with new recipes, sample exotic chocolates, hike with her family and go to movies and rock concerts with her husband.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mint910 VINE VOICE on April 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I LOVE LOVE LOVED Sydney Salter's My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters so I just knew I had to give Swoon At Your Own Risk I try. Unfortunately this book didn't quite do it for me like her previous one did.

I think this is rare for me but I just didn't really like the main character Polly. She wasn't a bad person by any means but I don't know if she wasn't believable to me. I can't pinpoint it but I didn't really like her. Same goes for her mother and grandmother who were sort of absent in her life while still being around (and her father who actually was absent). I thought her little sister Grace was funny though, with her stuffed animal obsession.

And I thought the whole multiple ex-boyfriends plot would be funny but it turned out to be sort of annoying and unbelievable to me. I don't know why, but I can't believe that she had that many ex-boyfriends in that amount of time. Something was off. Same goes for all the minor characters (except for Xander). I just didn't like them. Polly's best friend Jane made me mad and all her wild co-workers at Wild Waves just didn't seem that like good of people to me.

But Xander, someone that Polly knew from childhood as the weird kid, blossoms into this handsome and confident young man. I loved this guy and how he was so sweet when Polly was hot and cold and yes and no (to quote Katy Perry). I kinda just wish he was falling for someone other than Polly. It sounds so mean when I say that but I honestly thought that while reading.

I'm not really sure how I could feel this way about Swoon when I so loved Big Nose but I do. Honestly it could just be me, be sure to check out some of the other reviews! I'll definitely be reading the author's future works though to see if maybe I can find some of that Big Nose magic again!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rachael Stein VINE VOICE on March 31, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
After a year of boy craziness and subsequent heartbreak, Polly Martin swears off boys for the summer. Of course, that's much easier said than done since the exes keep appearing everywhere. There's Sawyer, ex number three, who just happens to be her supervisor at her summer job, then Jack, ex number two, who does to the same parties as her, and then there's Xander, but he's not an ex even if he keeps breaking Polly's no-boys rule by always showing up where she works. Thank goodness Polly's grandmother, better known as Miss Swoon, the classy love advice columnist, is moving in for the summer. That should make a boy-free life for Polly easier--right? But life rarely goes as planned, and Polly's about to find out that maybe she shouldn't give up on boys--and love--just yet.

I just loved Salter's sweet and hilarious debut with My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters. Salter's second novel, Swoon at Your Own Risk is even better. This novel is so appealing in that it combines the serious and the more ridiculous sides of life into a meaningful bundle of fun. Readers will no doubt be entertained with heroine Polly's quick wit and all the silly situations she finds herself in. this is the start of a strong bond between Polly and the reader which in turn allows the reader to better understand Polly's emotional avoidance issues. Polly proves a fresh contrast to the belief that boys are the ones who can't share their feelings, making her road to overcoming that fear all the more memorable. The outcome to Polly's tale is definitely predictable but sweet nonetheless. Salter is incredibly successful at balancing humor with the more difficult parts of everyday life, creating a relevant and delectable read in Swoon at Your Own Risk.

This novel will be enjoyed by fans of Salter's debut My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters, Beauty Shop for Rent by Laura Bowers, Faking 19 by Alyson Noël, and For Keeps by Natasha Friend. I look forward to more fun reading from Salter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Book Scout on March 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
Swoon At Your Own Risk was a fun and cute read. This was my first book by Sydney Salter, but it will definitely not be my last. I went into the book headfirst, not knowing what to expect. I finished it in a couple of days and my reaction was: loved it! Swoon At Your Own Risk was witty and enjoyable, with deeper messages embedded in the pages. Polly learned a lot about herself and others throughout the novel and by the end of the book she'd changed a lot. I really liked all the characters. Polly was a fun narrator, and readers could relate to her. It was interesting hearing about all the different boyfriends she'd had throughout the year, and this was where one of the lessons played out, learning about how she'd changed her life to suit the boy she was dating. Joining student council for Hayden, Nature Club for Gareth... and how this probably wasn't the best idea. The character names were all interesting and unique as well- Polly, Jane, Sawyer, Sonnet, Kipper... These were some of the best character names I've seen in awhile :) Also, reading about Polly's work at Wild Waves was fun. Some of my favorite scenes in the novel played out at Wild Waves.

In addition, I loved reading Sonnet's blog entries, Xander's poems, and Miss Swoon's columns at the end of each chapter. Each one would bring a smile to my face. Miss Swoon was a cool character, and I liked the advice she gave, although she didn't always follow through with it herself. Also, Xander was an excellent character. He was perfect for Polly and I would have to hold myself back each time she pushed him away, scared of having her heart broken yet again.

Polly's best friend Jane didn't play a big part in the book until closer to the end. She invites Polly on a camping trip.
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