In this teen romance, seventeen-year-old Mika has her summer plans disrupted by the arrival of two strangers into her life: Betty and Dylan. Betty is Mika’s estranged granny, whom she has never met. Dylan is her boss’s nephew, who comes to work in the pet store, and is moody and mysterious.
Fish Out of Water introduces some pretty big themes; young love, prejudice and racial discrimination, as well as the impact of Alzheimer’s on Mika’s family. Unfortunately, the only theme it explores in any depth is Mika’s on-off romance with co-worker Dylan. Mika is sassy, fun, and self-absorbed, as only a teenager can be. I liked her. Betty is entertaining, and whilst not likeable, she is credible; firmly in the grip of her disease, her decline is touching. And the relationship that develops between Betty and Mika is heart-warming.
The rest of the cast are quite stereotypical: Dylan, the misunderstood black sheep of the family; London, the spoiled little rich kid; Shreya, the Asian girl who works in a restaurant and runs away from home to avoid an arranged marriage, and Olivia, the promiscuous man-eater.
Although Fish Out of Water is marketed by the publisher at age 10+, parents should note that there is much talk of ‘making out’, and ‘going all the way’. I was surprised by a brief sex scene, although it implies more than it describes. I would therefore recommend this book for Young Adult readers.