My friend pointed this book out to me in the library, and I soon found and bought the entire series on Amazon. This book is the first in the trilogy, and introduces the main characters, Coll and Art. They meet at their local swimming pool, and their relationship soon develops. The second book - In the Deep End - is quite a lot more dramatic, and the third - Sink or - Swim - continues in the same way.
I'm sure most teenage girls can relate to the story, as this is Coll's first real relationship and feels insecure with the far more experienced and confident Art.
She has trouble juggling her relationships with her friends, her mother and Art, as well as her studies for A-levels. The story represents all the pressures on adolescent girls well, although some situations do manage to go a little over the top, from Coll's mother's ferocious feminist attitude, to Coll's over-reactions to Art's assumptions that she is ready to 'take their relationship further'.
But overall the story is quite convincing and a good rad for any girl in her teens.
Every Thursday, Collette goes swimming. She loves the water, the exercise, the way it makes her feel. But most of all she loves watching a boy, whom she calls Achilles, because he has the body of a Greek god. She's too nervous to speak to him - until one week she literally runs into him in the changing rooms. Next time they get talking, and it turns out his real name is Art, short for Arthur, and he likes Coll.
They start going out on dates, and Coll is swept up into Art's world. She can't spend enough time with him. He's got looks, money and confidence, but horrible friends and a messed up family. Coll's friends don't like Art much, and neither does her proudly feminist mother. Coll manages to ignore all the negatives until Art starts to expect too much too fast. Coll has never had sex before and wants to feel completely ready for it, whereas Art has had dozens of meaningless sexual relationships...
I enjoyed reading "Diving In". The characterisation is strong, especially when it comes to the main characters' family backgrounds. Coll and Art have very different families and the way their upbringing impacts on their relationship is realistic. Coll's feelings develop at just the right pace, and there are also some funny moments to lighten the tone when it starts to get issue heavy.
The central issues of this novel are teenage relationships and sex. If you don't want your teenager reading about these things, you won't want to give them this novel. However, this book is not graphic, or sordid. This book has the potential to help teenage readers in relationships to know when they are ready, and to recognise when they are being pressured into going further than they want to go.
I would recommend "Diving In" to teenagers. I am an adult and I enjoyed it, but I didn't get as much out of it as teenagers could. I did find myself getting a little tired in places as the plot revolves around Coll's relationship with Art. "Diving In" is the first book in a print trilogy, the first in a quartet if you include the online-only "Art History", which is partly a retelling of the books from Art's point of view as well as the conclusion to their story - available to read free on Kate Cann's website, http://www.katecann.com/. "Diving In" doesn't really stand on its own, to get the full story you have to read - and should want to- the trilogy of books. I wouldn't say the online follow-up is necessary, but it is interesting.