Swimming to Chicago

by Harmoni
I chose this book because it has to do with family problems and sometimes I have family related problems as well. Alex’s mother wanted to go back to Chicago but his father wouldn’t let them move because he doesn’t want to move to a big city; he likes being in a rural area. As a result, his mother commits suicide. I don’t have this situation in my family, however, I have family that is separated. When I say separated I mean in another state, just like Alex’s family is in Chicago.
In order to get away from school, drama, and sometimes his dad, Alex swims to an island and thinks about how he’s going about his life without his mom. I go to my room and think about how I made it as far as I did without my sister. My sister moved to my mom’s house, which is in another state, which makes it really hard for me to see her. Before she moved we had a strong bond, just like Alex had that strong bond with his mother. When he talks about her, he gets really sad and cries.
This book deals with heavy issues, which makes me recommend the book for someone at least fourteen and up, or who can handle the extreme emotions. Issues include the mother’s suicide, older/younger dating (the teacher Harley LaMont and Alex’s friend Jillian), teen pregnancy, and attempted murder and even more suicide. There’s also the issue of Alex being gay, and he’s afraid to come out at school.
Alex and Robby have an honest but shy relationship. Robby wants to take things slow, and Alex is willing to do the same, which you don’t see in a lot of books for young adults. Some books feel like the relationship is rushed, but this author does not do that. Alex and Robby have true love which is what you do see in books a lot, but at the end they’re not afraid to show that they’re gay. Alex is able to overcome his fear, and Robby was always put down for his sexuality, but they give each other strength. When Robby talks to his mom, he says no one else can protect me but Alex. They have a lot of trust for each other.
When I finished the book, I cried for awhile. I don’t want to give spoilers, but the ending is sad but happy at the same time. It also shows how much Alex cares about his friends and what he’d do for them. It made me think that I’d do anything for my best friend, too.

I would like to see a sequel for New Adults with Alex and Robby and their further life together.

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