Fish Boy by Chloe Daykin
Billy is a lonely boy. He’s obsessed with swimming in the sea, which is where he goes to wash his problems far, far away. Thanks to his mum’s mystery illness, his dad has been forced to work extra hours to make ends meet, so Billy locks himself away with David Attenborough films, and ponders the magic of nature.
Meanwhile at school, bullies mercilessly seize on Billy’s ‘otherness’ and make his life as miserable as possible – but then new boy Patrick Green, with “fingers like steel, strength of a bear”, joins Billy’s class. And when a mackerel swims up to Billy’s face, blows bubbles into his Vista Clear Mask goggles and says: Fish Boy – Billy’s whole world changes.
Thoughts before you started reading Fish Boy?
CHRISSI: I was intrigued. I had heard great things about the book already and was curious to see if it would live up to my expectations!
LUNA: This sounds magical/lovely, can’t wait to read it.
What did you think of Billy?
CHRISSI: Billy stole my heart. I loved that he was different and wanted him to find happiness, no matter what obstacles were in his way.
LUNA: I liked Billy but I didn’t connect to him the way I hoped. He’s nice and I sympathised with the feelings he went through, the bullying at school and his concerns and anger about his mother.
CHRISSI: I really enjoyed how weird this book was. That might sound strange, but I honestly did. I liked that this book was a little odd and not like your average middle grade read. I also thought it was a unique way to write about the subject matter. (Don’t want to spoil!)
LUNA: The concept of the book. I agree with Chrissi in I enjoyed how weird this book was and I liked the flowing writing of the swimming sections, it was like reading movement.
CHRISSI: I don’t think it has a worst bit as such. I personally didn’t keep turning the pages, so it didn’t grip me as much as I had anticipated. That’s a minor quibble though!
LUNA: As much as I enjoyed how different Fish Boy was I did not connect emotionally to the book. I don’t know why this was. It has the ingredients but because of that lack of connection I wasn’t invested in Billy, Patrick or Billy’s parents.
CHRISSI: Billy’s relationship with his parents warmed my heart. Billy had a good relationship with both of his parents and even though his Mum had a lot going on in her life, you could tell she still really cared for him!
LUNA: The Merz wall. The whole concept of the Merz wall and the scene in the book, I just loved it. It’s like the random pin boards I make of memories and ideas. If I had a garden I would want a Merz wall.
Was Fish Boy what you expected?
CHRISSI: It wasn’t what I expected but in a good way. It was weird and wonderful.
LUNA: For the writing yes and I knew it would be different. Personally though, I hoped for a stronger connection to the characters and sadly that didn’t happen.
Would you recommend it?
LUNA: I don’t know.