The Snack That Smiles Back: Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema

Lou Brown is one of the fastest swimmers in the county. She’s not boasting, she really is. So things are looking pretty rosy the day of the Olympic time-trials. With her best mate Hannah by her side, Lou lines up by the edge of the pool, snaps her goggles on and bends into her dive…

Everything rests on this race. It’s Lou’s thing.

… or it was. She comes dead last and to top it all off Hannah sails through leaving a totally broken Lou behind.

Starting again is never easy, particularly when you’re the odd-one out in a family of insanely beautiful people and a school full of social groups way too intimidating to join. Where do you go from here? Finding a new thing turns out to be the biggest challenge Lou’s ever faced and opens up a whole new world of underwater somersaults, crazy talent shows, bitchy girls and a great big load of awkward boy chat.

Lou Brown guides us through the utter humiliation of failure with honesty, sass and a keen sense of the ridiculous. This girl will not be beaten.

Source: GoodReads

I love YA British books.  I’ll admit I’m a bit of an anglophile-except for Briexit because come on-and I don’t only have a Acorn subscription but I also like to read UK set YA books.  Blame Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, and the various Pride and Prejudice movies and miniseries but if it features the UK I’ll have some interest.

So shoot me.

It’s also an Olympics year so I have been trying to pick up a few sports oriented books.

Goldfish had both.  Overall, this book sort of worked for me and sort of didn’t.  It  should’ve had dolphins if it would’ve had them then maybe it would’ve really worked for me but nope, no dolphins.

The one thing that I did like about this one was the dilemma the main character had to face.  Lou has been training for something all her life and regardless of how good she is, she’s just not going to achieve her dream.  It happens to the best of us, and I liked how the character had to find her place in the world.

The family interaction were nice too.  I liked the sibling interaction and parents were good for the most part too.  Bonus points for the author doing a Prince Andrew/Fergie relationship with the parents.  It was kind of interesting seeing how a divorced coupe could get along and be live with each other.   Although, I do have my suspicions about how broke up Lou’s parents were.

However, as well done as Lou’s inner circle was done.  I didn’t really like her friends or potential love interests as much.  They just seemed underdeveloped and flat to me.  Plus, there was a lot of random blackouts that never made sense.

I mean, someone who has been diagnosed with vasovagal syncope syndrome, I know if you pass out it’s not going to be overlooked.  It’s going to be lots of tests with more often some common cause that causes you to pass out-trust me, I had to spend a good portion of my Christmas break getting test done because I passed out at Sephora.

Not fun.

The whole friend who went to special swim school but left because of maybe they were pressing an eating disorder thing just seemed a little vague too.

That’s the problem I had with a lot of this plot.  It was vague.

I had to squint to even see the romance, I just didn’t get it.


I do think it’s better than a lot of stuff out there, even though it suffered from some severe problems and it wasn’t long enough to where I grew to hate the book.  That in itself was a huge plus.

So I ended up giving this one a B-.  I mean, it’s probably higher than what it deserved but at the time it was a decent enough read and I didn’t really regret it.


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