I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway.
I will try to keep this review as clean as possible. The implied thoughts, not as clean as the review. It would have a lot of 'hint, hint.' No Spoilers Section in this review. If you want spoilers, read the synopsis and take the hint. Or if you are really lazy, go read the summary of the book on someone else's review.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. It was good yet I felt that Swimming to Chicago was a little disturbing. First of all, this book is NOT recommend to children thirteen and under. Just don't ask why. Parents, take it from me, you don't want to know.
The writing was good. I love how fluent the book was. I like how the author knows when to not get to graphic. For example: Alex's mom's dead body suicide scene. I'm happy that the author didn't include the creepy details of her death. It would be...ugh! And gross!
The behavior of characters... I love how Mr. Barnes puts together all the behaviors and personalities and moral sense of characters. It made Swimming to Chicago a little more realistic.
A little more alive as if Swimming to Chicago has a tiny heartbeat within its pages.
Alex... Depressed. Sad. And lonely. Becoming less and less social especially when his mother died. I love how he comes back when he found something he loved. (I will not talk about that thing). Alex is a wonderful character. He has a lot of strength despite the situation he is in. I like how Alex knows his wants. He knows what he wants to do. He is solid on the outside but soft and sweet the inside. Emotional, along with soft and sweet. (Just saying it again.) Alex is a character with a lot of depth.
Jillian... Interesting character. But the truth is that I hated this character. Jillian annoyed me to no end. Annoyed. Irritated. Some of her thoughts and feelings made me want to scream at her. I wanted to go into her world and slap her face ten time for every ridiculous thought and feeling she mentioned. (Yes, she annoyed me to that end. I resorted to violence because of this endlessly annoying character). She is that little annoying voice in the back of everyone's head.
Robby... I love Robby. I love how brave and defiant he is. He stood up despite all that embarrassment. All that looks and unfairness given to him. He is a beautiful character. He is strong and true to himself. He is a rare type of character to see in books. Great job on Robby, Mr. Barnes!
In my opinion, Swimming to Chicago is not a Young Adult book. However, it did remind me of the Young Adult book, Anne Frank: Diary of A Young Girl.
This book's rating is a three out of five. NOT RECOMMENDED TO CHILDREN THIRTEEN AND UNDER!!