15790880Reviewed by Krystal Larson

Jadranka has disappeared and this might be normal. This type of thinking might not be what the reader expects (who wouldn’t panic when someone suddenly goes missing?), but this type of thinking is the logic that Magdalena uses when her sister, Jadranka, disappears. Jadranka has always been a free spirit, unhindered by time or people. Her sudden disappearances are unquestioned until it appears that she might not return. Her disappearance leads Magdalena to delve into causes that take her on a journey that she never could have imagined. Magdalena discovers that their family history might hold a few keys…and skeletons.

The First Rule of Swimming contains many flashbacks to Magdalena’s grandparents, who raised her and her sister. The book contains three generations of family history that the reader will want to read through carefully. There is a heavy focus on the bond between sisters. Even though Magdalena and Jadranka are not currently talking (no means of communication), Magdalena still feels connected to her sister. The island setting created a bit of a slow pace in the plot, but the slow pace is oddly appropriate to the quiet, little island.

Life is slower at the island than it is in a big city and the author represents this quality well. I loved the descriptions and careful character-building that is evident in the story. There are a few points where the plot experiences a slight climax before settling back down again. These points in the story are a nice break-up between the gentle slopes that the plot typically takes. I loved how the story reminded me a little of Sarah Addison Allen novels; I recommend this book to adult readers.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Krystal is a young college student who loves meeting new authors and finding great books! Her favorite place to read is the Botanic Gardens.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Little, Brown and Company. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.