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Swim That Rock is a brilliantly crafted page-turner and heartwarming story of friendship and family – full of storms, mystery, danger, mobsters, and even the odd pirate. Like the New England quahoggers in their novel, John Rocco and Jay Primiano know how to bring the boat in full. Humor, adventure, wonderful characters, stakes that matter, and a setting so lovingly described you can taste the salt in the air – Swim That Rock is a rare catch.
Jake and his friends are extremely likable and the teen characters are all well-developed. This is a well-written and exciting action and adventure story that will be sure to please middle school boys who are looking for an engaging read. Rocco and Primiano have written a novel that will appeal, so be sure to hand it to all your male readers.
—Library Media Connection
The rich imagery of life in a fishing town, combined with action that primarily revolves around intense quahogging expeditions, makes this a refreshingly unique read.
—School Library Journal
Landlubbers who think they won’t give a rip for a novel about clamming have another think coming. ... Like all good maritime novels, this one will have landlocked kids pining for a strong gust of salt spray.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Readers will be hooked by the exciting opening scene as a hurricane rips the shore and Captain takes Jake out on the dangerous waters to pirate motors from sinking boats. With a lushly detailed sense of place and character, the story delineates the struggle of a boy coming to terms with his situation.
—The Horn Book
[An] entertaining coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of the New England fishing industry. ... Steeped in atmosphere and rich in detail, this adventure captures the salt in the air as well as the omnipresent ticking deadline. ... Jack's struggle is easily relatable thanks to deft characterizations and an overall sense of authenticity.
[T]he distinct, clearly realized setting details distinguish this title from the vast schools of novels for young teens swimming in the publishing sea... Fills the bill for teens looking for an atypical action adventure.
Jake’s willingness to work wicked hard on both sides of the law to remain part of his Narragansett Bay community is vividly conveyed... The coauthors incorporate autobiographical elements, which lend the tale’s cast and setting a salty authenticity.
The authors, both experienced quahoggers, capture the hard labor and satisfaction of working on the water. Teen readers will get caught up in the danger, action and hint of romance in this novel vividly set in the Ocean State.
—The Providence Journal
Posted June 5, 2014
Posted May 30, 2014
Action, adventure, and young love all in one well-written story that will appeal to even the hard to reach teens. This is not your typical have-to-read! Kick back and
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Posted May 26, 2014
Posted May 12, 2014
Posted April 8, 2014
Great coming of age story!
In the interest of full disclosure, I received an advance reader edition of this book from Candlewick Press and Net Galley for the purpose of an honest review.
I enjoyed this book and felt that it would be a perfect book for young teens. It may have a stronger appeal for boys with the strong male protagonist. I would rate this book a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
Jake Cole lives with his mother in an apartment above their diner. His father is presumed dead but Jake still holds out hope that his father may someday return. Jake live in a fishing town and the diner caters to the fishermen who work the waters. Jake works with his father’s friend, Gene, clamming or quahogging. He finds out that the diner owes $10,000 to loan sharks. This debt has to be paid by the end of the month or they will lose the diner. Jake is determined to come up with the money to save the diner. Gene offers to use all the money they can make to pay back the loan. Unfortunately, Gene is injured and unable to work shortly after the agreement is made. Jake spends time working with “captain” earning money in questionable ways.
An area is being opened for clamming, that has been long closed and all of the local fishermen cannot wait. Since Gene is injured, Jake decides to take his boat and go out by himself. On this fishing trip, Jake learns who his true friends are and how tough he can be when needed. He also proves that he is willing to help others even when there is nothing in it for him. His friends and family work together on an event at the diner to help raise money. In the end, Jake’s good deed saves the diner.
This story was very well written. The characters were all very likeable. I found myself hoping that Jake could find a way to save the diner. The supporting characters were wonderful: Tommy and Darcy were both flawed but genuine. This is a great coming of age story where we see a boy struggling to come to terms with his father’s loss who refuses to give up on his home and livelihood. We see a true friendship with Tommy and Jake and with Darcy and Jake. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a realistic coming of age story.