Books·Canadian

Synchro Boy

This novel tells the story of a teenage boy on his journey to self discovery through new friendships and a sport he grows to love.

Shannon McFerran

Sixteen-year-old Bart Lively desperately wants to feel comfortable in his own skin. Being a jock doesn't mean he isn't the target of gay jokes, and the macho culture of his swim team is wearing him down. When he gives in to his curiosity and tries synchronized swimming, he discovers he has a natural talent — not to mention a spark with one of the girls. So when Erika Tenaka asks him to swim the mixed duet with her, he commits to taking them all the way to the Olympics.

But judges' scores and Erika's sudden decision to quit the duet threaten to derail Bart's dream and kill what made the sport so liberating and alluring in the first place. And it doesn't help that as he falls in love with Erika, he's falling in lust with her frenemy ... not to mention a cute boy in the diving club.

Ultimately, Bart will have to give in to his intuition as it leads him to realize there are many ways to be a boy. If he doesn't, he'll lose not only his friendship with Erika but also his new Olympic dream — and the joy he feels as he dances in the deep. (From Arsenal Pulp Press)

From the book

Today I catch the eye of the synchro girl with dark hair and good dimples, just before I dive off the starting block. It's the last race of the meet—if I swim my triple-A time now, I've got a shot at the National team.

That is, if Geoff doesn't kill me first.

The girl with the good dimples smiles at me. I smile back. I've been watching the synchro girls for ages, so it's fun that they're all lined up along the wall of the dive tank now, watching me. When I watch them, they don't even notice me looking. Well, if they do, they don't show it—and I get it. They're performers. I danced for seven years, so I remember what it was like to be behind the fourth wall.

But they're the dancers now. I'm just a fish. I crouch on the starting block, ready to propel myself into the water.

I wonder if she thinks I belong here. Because some days, I don't even feel like I fit in with the guys on the Rosa Waves team. I don't think like them, or joke like them—and I may be great at long course, when we swim fifty-metre laps, but I don't look the part. I'm the only guy on the blocks with long, lean limbs, the only one with slender shoulders. I don't have a swimmer's hunch. I spent too many years in front of a mirror with my shoulders back, working my core, before I found my way to the pool.

Yeah, I'm the pretty one. That's probably what all the synchro girls are thinking.


From Synchro Boy by Shannon McFerran ©2018. Published by Arsenal Pulp Press

 

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