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Review: Night Swimming

Hi Virtually readers! I read so many books on holiday (well, 14) and this was one of them. It was rather excellent.

nightswimming-stephboweTitle: Night Swimming

Author: Steph Bowe

Genre: Australian YA contemporary

Themes: Family, friendship, falling in love, figuring out what you want to do with your life, putting on a musical starring a goat dressed as a plant

My blurb: Kirby has lived her whole life in a boring small town. She has a best friend and a goat—what else could she need? Then comes a stranger, Iris. Kirby is forced to deal with her feeling for Iris and what that could mean for her friendship with Clancy.

This was like a cuter, quirkier Remind Me How This Ends. There’s the small-town Australia vibe, swimming in a river, characters who aren’t attending university. I really liked it. It wasn’t exactly just a romance? It was more about the specific characters.

The main character was Kirby, who I really liked. I like how she enjoyed reading, how she chose not to finish school (that’s a lot rarer in YA than it is in real life, if you ask me says the girl who finished school), how he had a pet goat (I had pet goats once), and was generally pretty cool. She also happened to like girls, and I think it was good that this fact wasn’t a complete big deal. This definitely wasn’t a coming-out story. Also yay to not having the fall-in-love-with-a-best-friend trope.


Let’s talk about Iris. I loved her so much. I really liked the way her character developed in Kirby’s eyes from stranger to friend. Also, she was a biracial Australian whose mother was from NZ and father was from India. Just like me (except I’m not Australian). I really liked her fashion sense and personality and genral quirkiness. I will admit, though, that compared to Kirby and Clancy I didn’t feel like she underwent much character development? She was slightly flat as a character. As other people have said, this book represents a lot of divers perspectives—characters from different ethnicities, LGBTQ+ identities, mental illness and single parent families (does this classify as diverse?)

I also really liked Night Swimming’s focus on family. Kirby is really devoted to her grandfather, who has dementia, and she has to deal with the existence of her father and understanding that her mother loves her, even if she shows love in a way Kirby can’t always understand.

Last of all, this book was absurdly quirky. Stanley is a hilarious goat (what goat isn’t) (side note: I have a stuffed sheep called Stanley Shunpike Sheep); Kirby, Iris and Clancy put on a musical for a rather unenthused audience, there are crop circles with a mysterious creator, rain storms, Indian and Chinese food, cats, goat soap (I wish there was more about it. Like, what actually is it and how is it made?), a house like the Burrow, a lot of love for mixed-lolly packs, and (of course) night swimming.

Overall, this was a glorious and adorable book that I thouroughly enjoyed.

Plot: 4/5

Setting: 5/5

Characters: 4/5

Writing: 4/5

Total: 4/5


9 thoughts on “Review: Night Swimming

  1. This sounds so cute! I’m glad you liked it, and it sounds just odd enough that I might have to check this one out for myself. Thanks for recommending it!


    1. I don’t know if this is published outside of Australia? I got it through my New Zealand e-library (in this case New Zealand and Australia are basically the same thing). However, I guess it would be available on Kindle?


  2. Yesss I totally agree! I LOVED this and it was funny and quirky and fantastic. 😀 But I do wish Iris had been a bit deeper *nods* Clancy was like the glittering light of life and tbh I could handle a spin-off about him. :’) AND STANELY WAS THE STAR. Precious Stanley.

    Although it was like super creepy when I read this though, because the day after I finished my town got massively flooded out…like the biggest flood since the ’70s and we lost basically all of our downtown. PROPHETIC BOOK IS PROPHETIC. 😱😱


    1. WOAH. Did you know the flood was coming beforehand and read this to prepare? Did you get stuck on any roofs with wriggly goats.
      A spinoff about Clancy would be great. You know what I’d like? A spinoff about Stanley. His goat-ly adventures, what he does with friends and (most importantly) what motivates him and his strange behaviour XD


  3. Ohhh that book sounds !so good, I need to add it to my TBR right away…I mean, diversity, focus on family, A GOAT? This book sounds adorable. ❤


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