Review – Backstrokes – Dylan Madrid

04 Oct

Author: Dylan Madrid
Rating: ☆ ☆ 1/2

Review Copy Provided by Author

After almost being expelled from a prestigious Chicago music conservatory for a prank gone wrong, twenty-two-year-old pianist Crawford Paul returns home to Northern California for what he predicts will be another boring summer. Concerned his scholarship is now at risk, Crawford accepts the only job he can find: accompanying a glamorous seven-year-old named Isabella to a community swimming pool for lessons. There, Crawford is befriended by a nanny named Nina, an aspiring fashion designer who finds it difficult to hide her disdain for children.

When Crawford meets Armando Leon, a lifeguard and Isabella’s swimming instructor, he accepts Armando’s offer to help him overcome his fear of water by way of private swimming lessons. As friendship turns into a summer affair, their lust for one another turns to love. When Crawford receives a chance of a lifetime audition, he is torn between returning to Chicago or staying in California to start a new life with Armando. As the end of the summer inches closer, Crawford and Armando fear they will be separated forever.

You know when you see a dessert that you really want, but after you do, you realize that wasn’t really what you wanted? That is how Backstrokes felt for me. From reading the description, it is a book that should have fit right into my likes/dislikes -I mean, guy learning to swim, falling in love with his teacher and them finding love. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work for me.

I think the biggest let down for me was that it wasn’t so much a romance as more a finding yourself type story. Maybe that would have influenced my perception going in, but I honestly thought that I was going to be getting more of a romance, which is where my disappointment ultimately lay. Don’t get me wrong, it was a strongly written story and I can’t fault the author for that, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

Aside from the non-romance romance that I was expecting, there were a few other issues I had with the book, personally, I never really felt like Crawford was sorry for what he did – I think/felt that he was more sorry that he got caught – since he did what he did to try and become popular, which most people know never really works the way we would hope that it works. My other issue was how the tragedy was handled in the book – I don’t know, I just felt like that part of the storyline was just not developed to the extent that it could have been. I didn’t feel any connection to the characters, it just felt like it was in there for an emotional storyline, but it just didn’t work for me – I never felt for the characters which to me, is something needed for me to be emotionally involved with a book.

I was really conflicted by the time I finished reading Backstrokes. Normally I can tell by the end of a book whether I want to try another book by the same author, but with Backstrokes, I just wasn’t sure – I didn’t mind the authors writing style, it was just the story that didn’t work for me. So we’ll have to see. Overall, I gave backstrokes 2.5 stars

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Posted by on October 4, 2014 in Book Review


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