Cater­pil­lars Can’t Swim

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Young Adult Books / Fiction -

Liane Shaw, Sec­ond Story Press (MARCH) Soft­cover $13.95 (246pp), 978-1-77260-053-7

Cater­pil­lars Can’t Swim is an en­cour­ag­ing story about what’s pos­si­ble if teens choose to ac­cept the peo­ple around them.

The pre­sum­ably small think­ing within a small river­side town may have dis­as­trous con­se­quences in Liane Shaw’s Cater­pil­lars Can’t Swim, a com­ing-of-age story that en­cour­ages cel­e­brat­ing one’s dif­fer­ences.

With his flam­ing red hair and use of a wheel­chair, Ryan stands out from other teens, but his un­flap­pable at­ti­tude has al­ways kept him safe. His best friend, Cody, is a jock and a fel­low swim team mem­ber; Ryan stays un­der the radar of bul­lies and big­ots. That is, un­til he wit­nesses the near drown­ing of a class­mate. His de­ci­sion to res­cue Jack pro­pels them both into the spot­light.

Jack is cer­tain that he is the only gay teenager in town, and he’s ter­ri­fied of what might hap­pen if his se­cret gets out. Ryan prom­ises to stay silent, ini­ti­at­ing a friend­ship that leads them both in un­ex­pected di­rec­tions.

The novel grap­ples with heavy and fa­mil­iar teen is­sues, in­clud­ing prej­u­dice and self­ac­cep­tance. Ryan is an able nar­ra­tor whose seem­ingly su­per­hu­man act is mir­rored in his

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