Publisher: Penguin Group
Pub Date: June 14th , 2012
Author: Silvia Avallone
Received From: NetGalley
A sensually charged debut novel about two girls growing up fast in a failing industrial town on the coast of Italy.
Anna and Francesca are on the brink of everything: high school, adulthood, and the edge of ambition in their provincial town. It's summer in Piombiono, Italy, and in their skimpy bathing suits, flaunting their newly acquired curves, the girls suddenly have everyone in their thrall. This power opens their imagination to a destiny beyond Piombino; the resort town of Elba is just a ferry ride away and yet they've never dared to go. Maybe the future is waiting for them there, or somewhere beyond.
When their friendship suffers a blow, the girls set off on their own only to discover that their budding sexuality takes them further than they expect, though not as far as their dreams. As their choices take them to a painful crossroads, the girls must reconnect if they have any hope of escaping their small town destinies.
Swimming to Elba starts off with a lot of character points of view and a lot of fun and coming of age moments. Set in Italy in a housing development owned by the government. Poverty is a common theme along with the steel mill where many of the characters work. The real theme is summer and friendship! Anna and Francesca are young girls 13-14 and have bodies they are just learning about. In a world where sex and drugs rule the summer you can imagine how they use them. But when Anna enters a relationship with her brother Alessio's good friend Mattia the friendship between the two girls ends.
The story shows their lives separate but wanting to be together through some trails and tragedies. The one tragedy I never saw coming is what eventually helps the girls see the light. While I enjoyed some of this story I could not get over this last tragedy, I don't understand what happened to some of the key characters involved after it occurred and was left feeling like I was watching a movie and my TIVO cut off the end. Not a feeling I like for sure!