Feb 5, 2015

Review: Fish Out of Water by Natalie Whipple

TitleFish Out of Water
Author: Natalie Whipple
Publisher: Natalie Whipple c/o Curtis Brown LTD
Publishing Date: February 10, 2015
Pages/Format: 360, eARC
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Mika is about to fulfill her dream of working at the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium when her plans are derailed by an unexpected arrival-her estranged grandmother Betty. Betty has dementia, and is no longer able to take care of herself. Betty is in need of her family's help-and she's not going to be particularly nice about it. Mika has to give up her summer internship at the Aquarium and stick to working part-time at AnimalZone in order to take care of Betty. The manager at AnimalZone has hired his nephew Dylan to work there, and Mika thinks he's entitled and annoying. Or is he just trying to become a better person? Mika is trying to be as patient as possible with her grandma-but Betty doesn't make that easy. And neither does Dylan. 

Book in One Word: ADORABLE.

Fish Out of Water was the first book I read by Natalie Whipple, and it most certainly will not be my last. I absolutely adored this book and loved reading it. I went into it expecting a story about a girl and a boy who work at a pet store and fall for each other, and instead got a story that deals with racism, Alzheimer's, and has a stinking cute romance. This book? You want it.

Mika works at AnimalZone--where's she a pro at all things fish-related--and is planning to spend her summer doing an awesome internship of her dreams where her parents work at Monterey Bay Aquarium...until some lady shows up at her door, and apparently, she's good ol' grandma Betty. For the most part, Mika's dad has been estranged from his mother, who had a complete and utter freak out when her son decided to marry a Japanese woman. But now Grandma is heading down the road of Alzheimer's and has nowhere else to go, so Mika's giving up her internship and getting to know her grandmother.

Of course, there are a lot of issues with having Grandma in town. Her and Mika's mom don't get along too well, and she makes comments toward Mika, who's part Japanese. Add in the dementia she gets from Alzheimer's and a bunch of outbursts, and life with Grandma isn't too easy. Fortunately, Mika finds comfort and release (I was so tempted to make a fish pun and say "catch and release," just so you know) with all her fish, and a few humans: her best friends Shreya and Olivia, and her boss's son and newest coworker Dylan. Olivia's on vacation for the majority of the novel, but Shreya's more prominent. Mika and Shreya hang out while eating curry from Shreya's family's Indian restaurant, and spend their Saturdays making intricate and SUPER COOL sand sculpture's on the beach. And then there's Dylan, aka the counterpart to the stinking cute romance, who's a rich kid cut off from Mommy and Daddy's money and is living with his uncle.

Really, nothing in Fish Out of Water is perfect. This is a tale of all kinds of relationships: between families, friends, and those of the romantic variety. Throughout the book, these relationships have all sorts of issues, and some are resolved while others are not. But seriously, this book was really, really good. Reading it wasn't boring or uninteresting; it's one of those books you read and don't really want to put down. Was it perfect? No. I had a few issues with it, and there were some things that happened that I was kind of iffy on, but at the core, this was a good book. Natalie Whipple's writing was great, and like I said before, I will so totally be reading more (aka all) of her books after this.

Now, I know this review makes this book seem like a little guppy instead of a big, beautiful goldfish. That's because this review is an inaccurate display of how I feel about this book, and I was a bad blogger who read this book a couple months ago and am only writing my review now. (Oopsie oops, bad Rachel, bad.) So let me tell you why you should read Fish Out of Water.

For starters, there's a strong protagonist who's POV isn't obnoxious. And we get to see her character develop in numerous ways, which is a bonus. There is a SHIP, which is fitting for a fishy, watery novel. Dylan is not just any love interest, but a flawed one who makes mistakes and is far from perfect (not that Mika is Miss Perfect herself, either). Aside from the romance, there are other strong ships, which are found in Mika's friends and family. There are fun little fishy facts and references. And, yeah, there are a few mentions of The Princess Bride if you like that sort of thing. (I hate that movie, so.) And then there's Betty, who is a strong character I don't see a lot of in books: she's older, she's sweet and sour, and she's losing her memory and, well, falling apart.

Please, swim on over to your bookstore or web browser and buy this book. Fish Out of Water is a wave-making, super adorable, excellent little contemporary that deals with some tough subjects and has its seriousness but is, at the whole of sea, a read that's pure enjoyment. Read it. Enjoy it. Love it. Then maybe get a pet goldfish because you're going to really want one.

Did I like it? Really, really liked it!
Did I love it? Just about!
Would I reread it? This is a possibility.
Would I purchase it? YESSS.
Who would I recommend it to? Really, everyone and anyone. If you like fun contemporaries with some seriousness, then this may be right up your alley. Also, if you like books that are just a good read, plain and simple, then this is for you.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, and that in no way sways my opinion of the book.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't even heard of this one, but it does sound really cute. I love the setting and like when a cute romance is juxtaposed with more serious issues. I haven't read anything by this author, although I feel like I may own one of her books. (And, girl, how can you hate The Princess Bride?! Lol) Great review! I'll look for this one.


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