Swimming Alone by Nina Mansfield

Swimming Alone
Swimming Alone by Nina Mansfield
Publisher: Fire and Ice Young Adult Books
Genre: Young Adult, Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (155 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

The Sea Side Strangler is on the loose in Beach Point, where fifteen-year-old Cathy Banks is spending the summer with her aunt (who happens to be mystery writer Roberta McCabe.) Although thrilled to be away from her psychotic, divorcing parents, with no cell phone or internet access, Cathy is positive that her summer is going to be wretched. Just when she begins to make friends, and even finds a crush to drool over, her new friend Lauren vanishes. When a body surfaces in Beach Point Bay, Cathy is forced to face the question: has the Sea Side Strangler struck again?

Spending a summer far away from home is one thing. Doing it without your cell phone or home Internet access, though, makes everything ten times harder.

Cathy was a well developed character. Her snarky sense of humor made me laugh out loud, but what really made me like her was seeing how caring she was. She had a lot of empathy for strangers as well as for people she knew. This combination isn’t something that I’ve seen in many other books. It worked beautifully with the rest of her personality, though!

There were pacing issues. So much of the storyline was spent on introducing the characters and setting that there wasn’t enough time to explore what was going on with all of the murders that were happening in Beach Point. I was expecting this mystery to be the main focus of the plot, so it was confusing to need to keep track of so many other subplots. The subplots also slowed down how often Cathy was able to get more clues about the identity and motive of the murderer.

Beach Point sounded like such an interesting little community. I liked how much time the author spent describing all of its shops and landmarks in such great detail. It made me feel like I was walking around town with Cathy and seeing everything through her unique point of view. While I didn’t always agree with this character’s opinions about the various places she visited there, having such a clear image of what she was talking about was nice.

I’d recommend Swimming Alone to anyone who is in the mood for a fun beach read.

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