Parents' Guide to

Swim the Fly

By Abby Aldrich, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Stereotypical boys, objectified girls, no redeeming message.

Swim the Fly Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 12+

great book

this book has a lot of sex talk in it and it is kinda inappropriate but if you have already informed your kids of what sex is this book is really great. I recommend you reading this book yourself first before you let your child read it just to decide if you would like to let your child read it.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 14+


While this book has some mature content, it is a great way to grab reluctant readers in junior high or high school. While the goal that is the tag line of the book is certainly controversial, the actual content of the book is quite innocent, as the bulk of the story is made up of the attempts of the boys to see a naked girl, all of which fail miserably and hilariously. As an educator, I encourage my students to read books with meaningful ideas, however I think it is equally important to have books that are enjoyable for no other reason than they are fun to read. Not every book has to have a deep meaning to be worthwhile.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (7 ):

This could've been a good coming-of-age story if the focus had shifted from the challenge of seeing a naked girl to Matt's challenge of swimming the butterfly much sooner in the story. As it stands, it seems that Matt's focus changes because he suddenly finds himself with a girlfriend (a nice girl that he hung out with but never even thought of in that way until she finally gave him the "I like you like you" talk and kissed him). Some kids might find the main characters' antics and failures funny; however, there is no realization on the part of the boys that girls are actually people with feelings and not just bodies to look at or things to make out with.

Book Details

  • Author: Don Calame
  • Genre: Coming of Age
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: April 14, 2009
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
  • Number of pages: 345
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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