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Swoon at Your Own Risk
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Swoon at Your Own Risk

4.7 4
by Sydney Salter

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You’d think Polly Martin would have all the answers when it comes to love—after all, her grandmother is the famous syndicated advice columnist Miss Swoon. But after a junior year full of dating disasters, Polly has sworn off boys. This summer, she’s going to focus on herself for once. So Polly is happy when she finds out Grandma is moving in—


You’d think Polly Martin would have all the answers when it comes to love—after all, her grandmother is the famous syndicated advice columnist Miss Swoon. But after a junior year full of dating disasters, Polly has sworn off boys. This summer, she’s going to focus on herself for once. So Polly is happy when she finds out Grandma is moving in—think of all the great advice she’ll get.

But Miss Swoon turns out to be a man-crazy sexagenarian! How can Polly stop herself from falling for Xander Cooper, the suddenly-hot skateboarder who keeps showing up while she’s working at Wild Waves water park, when Grandma is picking up guys at the bookstore and flirting with the dishwasher repairman?

No advice column can prepare Polly for what happens when she goes on a group camping trip with three too many ex-boyfriends and the tempting Xander. Polly is forced to face her feelings and figure out if she can be in love—and still be herself.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Seventeen-year-old Polly Martin is a brain, but she is also obsessed with boys and dating. She agreed to take a summer job at the local waterpark because her now ex-boyfriend wanted her to work there with him. Polly has a tendency to passively agree to do things others want her to do, but she generally ends up ruing her decisions to do so. She's angry with her father, who left the family for a young woman and caused her mom to take a job as a waitress at the local hamburger hangout. Worse, Grandma (a.k.a. Miss Swoon, the world renowned advice columnist) is moving in, so Polly will have to share her younger sister Grace's room. Polly is so caught up in her own self that she doesn't see the problems the rest of her family's having. She is so self-centered that I found her to be a very unsympathetic, selfish character. Polly doesn't understand when her best friend decides not to speak to her anymore, and she can't see that Xander, the kid down the street, has turned into a handsome and caring young man. Fortunately, Polly ultimately does come to understand who she is and what others need from her. There is humor in the story, and teens will relate to Polly's struggles for self-understanding. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
School Library Journal
Gr 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

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

SYDNEY SALTER is the author of My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters and Jungle Crossing. She lives in Utah. www.sydneysalter.com

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Swoon at Your Own Risk 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
You could say Polly Martin wrote the book on love--specifically on why to avoid it all costs. Despite all of the sensible advice from her grandmother's syndicated advice column Miss Swoon and the cautionary tale of her own mother's divorce, Polly's junior year was filled with dating disaster after disaster. After disaster. And a few more disasters besides. Polly has learned her lesson and is trying to focus on making her life a boyfriend free zone and making up to her best friend for spending the better part of a year focusing on guys instead of, you know, being a best friend. The only problem is that Polly's exes keep turning up in all the wrong places. A misguided job application has her working with Sawyer at the Wild Waves water park where he keeps asking her about her feelings. Running for student council to impress Hayden has landed her the unenviable position of planning the senior prom. Then there's Xander Cooper who seems determined to become Polly's next ex boyfriend. Except Polly is done with boys. For real. Polly is surrounded by people, especially ex boyfriends, who think they know her. Except Polly has spent so much time trying impress or please other people that she isn't even sure who she is herself anymore. But maybe a self-declared relationship failure really can find herself and fall in love while working at a Western-themed water park in Swoon at Your Own Risk (2010) by Sydney Salter. Swoon at Your Own Risk is a light, summery book that packs a punch and won't disappoint readers looking for a book with some depth. Salter writing effortlessly brings to mind summer and madness of a water park during summer vacation to create a setting so vivid readers would be advised to keep their inner tubes handy. Beyond that, Polly is a really astute character and one of my favorite narrators so far this year. Emotionally, Polly is a mess. She can't tell where her own interests end or where her efforts to pursue boys starts. In a lot of ways Polly does everything wrong; she does things she dislikes to attract boys and she pretends she isn't smart to avoid attention and she avoids talking about her feelings like nobody's business. But even at her lowest, Polly is endearing and so incredibly smart that readers are willing to follow her crazy journey throughout the book to see where it all ends. The amazing thing is all of Polly's crazy mixed emotions and motivations are conveyed so clearly with Salter's writing. Her narrative voice is strong and original, tossing around SAT vocabulary words and chemistry(?) references in the same breath as she explains how important it was, at the time, to be interested cars so that she could have something to talk about with a boy. As the title might suggest Swoon at Your Own Risk is part romance and part humor. But it's also a lot more. And it's really clever. Salter has has created a delightful story and introduced a complex heroine that is a breath of fresh air. Possible Pairings: The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti, Sea Change by Aimee Friedman, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
AJourneyOfBooks More than 1 year ago
Ahhh...summer romance. What joy. Wait, what am I saying? Summer romance rarely ends well, especially when you can't decide who to be romantic about! SWOON AT YOUR OWN RISK by Sydney Salter was a very cute and quite funny read. Following Polly (aka Pollywog) through her summer adventures in romance, this book gives us a cute tale that is both funny and at times a bit moving as well. Part of what makes this book such a good read is the format it's written in. From the first person point-of-view, it's very easy to follow Polly and see the sorts of shenanigans she gets herself into. From the first page, the reader gets hooked in her descriptions and inner turmoil. Whether she's staring at Sawyer, thinking about any of her other ex-boyfriends, or pondering the mysterious Xander, Polly's mind give us some vivid and colorful detail. Have you ever had that experience where you read a story and think, "You know, it would be awesome to have these characters as friends." That was how I felt about SWOON AT YOUR OWN RISK. Polly was quirky and at times could probably be a cruddy friend, but you could tell she always cared. She's a character that you want to follow; one that makes your heart pull for her. The plot of SWOON AT YOUR OWN RISK was robust and easy to follow. Polly has sworn off all boys after her latest disastrous relationship. With the unfortunate issue of having already accepted a summer job at the water park with the newest Ex as her boss, Polly's summer is looking to be pretty lame. Fortunately, being at a water park in the middle of a hot summer has its advantages. When Polly catches sight of Xander Cooper, shirtless and looking pretty stinking hot, her confusion flashes into overdrive. Wasn't this the same nerdy kid she went to elementary school with? Well, people change, and Polly is about to find out just how much. If I were headed to the beach right now and had to pick one book that I could take with me, I would take SWOON AT YOUR OWN RISK. I dub this the perfect summer read, right up there with Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. It was funny, lighthearted, at times pretty emotional, and Salter really did an amazing job developing the main characters. Over time we get to peel back the layers of Polly and figure out who she really is. It's pretty amusing that Polly learns right along with us and this makes for some cute moments. This is the first book by Sydney Salter I have read, but I can tell you that she has gained a new fan. As soon as I can sneak away with the plastic, I'll be grabbing her other books. Her writing style is clear, her characters are engaging, and overall she creates a story that sticks in the mind and has you turning back to read the book again as soon as you've finished it. What can I say? I loved it. There are very few books that I give a perfect 5 to; I don't take it lightly. I stared at these little hearts for about five minutes, going back and subtracting a heart here and there to see if that matched my opinion. In the end, all of the hearts remained up because SWOON AT YOUR OWN RISK captured mine.
peaceloveandpat More than 1 year ago
Since this is an ARC, I decided not to say anything about the plot but to just reflect on what I read :), well ok I will not divulge too much info. I absolutely love this book. The first two chapters wasn't all that and I got worried that I might give this a low rating but then grandma shows up, and then Polly she started enumerating her pathetic attempt into finding herslef in dating the wrong guys, and then another situation and then another and the next thing I know, I am reading quite profusely. It is not gag inducing sickly sweet and corny. No not at all. Do not let the title fool you. Despite Polly's poor relationship choices and flaws, I adore her. I like how she uses all the big words making all of her ex-ex-ex-ex-ex's really look dumb and insignificant. She have a lot of spirit despite the daddy issues, a barely there mom and a sexagenarian for a grandma who writes love advice. Polly reminds me of some part of me growing up, she find it hard to open up about her feelings (shoot I still do), finds it hard to say no to people and forgets the presence a best friend when a new boyfriend comes around (guilty! guilty!). Her wit and sacrasm is a very cackling combination. The secondary characters are a hoot too. Sonnet and her gossip blog about current hook ups and break ups which mostly got mentions of Polly's name. Grandma Swoon who flirts and acts like a teenager. And oh my gosh, Xander Cooper, his mysterious skater boy demeanor is just too perfect as a YA fictional boyfriend.Oh and the tension between him and Polly, too cute and innocent. Overall Swoon At Your Own Risk is a story about finding oneself, love, risk, family and friendship. Watch out for laugh out loud moments, unforgettable memories and scenes that will make you swoon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago