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The Big Swim

Written by Cary Fagan

  • 128 Pages
  • 9780888999702
  • 7.5" x 5"
  • Reading age from 9 to 12
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Social Situations / New Experience
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Social Situations / Peer Pressure


Publication Date April 01, 2010

When Ethan arrives at summer camp for the first time, he has just three modest goals. First, to survive. Second, not to be hated. Third, not to be the worst at anything. But these goals turn out to be relatively easy to achieve. Instead, his real challenge comes in the form of a new cabin mate. Zachary arrives at camp late, surrounded by a cloud of rumors, and Ethan finds himself intrigued and somehow envious of the new arrival. Zach doesn’t seem to care what anybody thinks of him. He doesn’t even seem upset when he is forced to miss the Big Swim, the legendary camp event where a select few try to swim across the lake and back.

Then Zach attracts the attention of Amber Levine -- the girl with an easy smile and a freckle on one knee -- at the same time that Amber attracts the attention of Ethan. And life gets even more complicated when Zach decides to try the Big Swim on his own, and he manages to convince Amber and Ethan to help him. Original and smartly observed, this story will strike a chord with anyone who has ever been to summer camp.

Selected for the Resource Links' Year's Best 2010

Selected for the CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens, Starred Selection 2011


Cary Fagan
Cary Fagan is an award-winning author of books for children and adults. He has twice been a Toronto Book Award finalist, and he has won the Jewish Book Award and the World Storytelling Award. He has been a finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award, the Norma Fleck Award, the Rocky Mountain Book Award, the Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award, the Blue Spruce Award and the Silver Birch Express Award. Cary lives with his family in Toronto.


"The setting is rich and the characters are interesting and fresh." School Library Journal