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Learning to Swim (Troy Chance #1)

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  6,328 Ratings  ·  1,187 Reviews
“If I’d blinked, I would have missed it. But I didn’t, and I saw something fall from the rear deck of the opposite ferry: a small, wide-eyed human face, in one tiny frozen moment, as it plummeted toward the water.”
When she witnesses a small child tumbling from a ferry into Lake Champlain, Troy Chance dives in without thinking. Harrowing moments later, she bobs to the surfa
Paperback, Uncorrected Proof , 289 pages
Published February 2011 by Crown Publishers (first published 2011)
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Richard Derus
Mar 10, 2013 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: “If I’d blinked, I would have missed it. But I didn’t, and I saw something fall from the rear deck of the opposite ferry: a small, wide-eyed human face, in one tiny frozen moment, as it plummeted toward the water.”

When she sees what looks like a child tumbling from a ferry into frigid Lake Champlain, Troy Chance dives in without thinking. When she gets the child to shore she discovers that his name is Paul, he speaks only French—and no one seems to be looki
Aug 19, 2012 Becky rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was so disappointed by this book. I really thought I would love it. I like mysteries enough that even the bad ones generally entertain me, and this one had Amazon reviewers gushing things like "best debut novel I've ever read." But, as I read it, I just couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. Here's why:

First, as a mystery, this book lets you down all over the place. Here's the premise: a woman jumps off a ferry to save a little boy she sees falling from another ferry—she doesn't know
Jan 21, 2011 Karalee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"If I'd blinked, I would have missed it." The opening sentence of the book in some ways summarizes one of the central themes of this book perfectly -- how, in the blink of an eye, your life can completely change. In this debut novel from Sara Henry, Troy Chance is a free spirit living unencumbered in Lake Placid, New York. On the ferry on her way to Burlington, VT she sees what looks like a child falling from the ferry crossing in the opposite direction. Acting on instinct, she dives into the wa ...more
Jennifer Lane
Jan 19, 2012 Jennifer Lane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, mystery
My dad, a voracious reader, recommended this book to me. He happened to come across Learning to Swim at the library, and the title intrigued him because I was a competitive swimmer for many years and he was always a supportive Swim Dad. The novel actually has very little to do with competitive swimming, but I'm glad Ms. Henry titled it what she did because I probably would've missed this gem otherwise.

What would you do if you were on a ferry crossing cold Lake Champlain and thought you saw a you
Jan 25, 2012 Andrea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Where to begin with this book? I picked it up because I've been looking for a good literary suspense, and I thought this might be good. It seemed to deal as much with the human side of the story as the mystery side.

This is the story of a woman named Troy Chance who, in the first pages of the book, is riding a ferry and sees something being thrown from another ferry, passing in the opposite direction. She thinks it was a child that was thrown, and even though she considers the possibility that i
Oct 18, 2012 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, debut
In the acknowledgments for Learning to Swim, Sara J. Henry thanks Michael Robotham for encouraging her to change the title and SFC for the titling. Though I don't know the original title the advice to change it seems sound. Throughout this debut, the images and life lessons that "learning to swim" evoke, fit well.

The premise of Learning to Swim is a grabber. Picture yourself on the ferry on Lake Champlain, I've been there. You are the only person on the open air deck. As the ferry going in the
EJ Knapp
Jan 23, 2011 EJ Knapp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are those thrillers that keep you turning the pages by strapping you down in the front seat of the roller-coaster from hell and running you through every tire-screeching twist of a car chase, every fusillade turn of gunfire, propelling you skyward on the mushroom cloud of violent explosions and driving you down in a vortex of betrayal, lies and death.

And then there are those thrillers like Sara J. Henry’s Learning to Swim. There are no car chases in Learning To Swim, no hail of bullets, no
Eric Kibler
It's common with series fiction that the initial entries are not the strongest. But being a fan of series fiction, I'm willing to look beyond the aspects that don't work for me to the elements that do. So to start, I'll just say the plotting of this novel seemed a little thin for a mystery. Now I'll move on to what I liked.

I found the protagonist, Troy Chance, to be an extremely likable, complex, and well drawn character. She's affable and makes friends easily, but keeps a distance from people
Mar 25, 2012 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, 2012-reads
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. That said, I whizzed through it in a couple of days, so something must have kept my attention and it wasn't a total bomb. Sometimes it's great to read a book about where you're from, you see all the familiar places on the page. But in this case, some of the things in this book I don't think could plausibly happen.

*Warning ahead. Read at your own risk, I don't think I give too much away, but if you are thinking of reading this, some info may be
Oct 09, 2012 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
LEARNING TO SWIM won both the Anthony and Agatha awards for first novel, and I can certainly see why after finishing the book myself. It’s a well-written novel, executed flawlessly, and the writing sings louder than Nickelback in the middle of Central Park. But could I say I really liked it? If I’m to be perfectly honest with myself, I’d say no. I liked it, sure enough, and I could check that box just as easily as I could fill in Cs all the way down the columns of a multiple choice math test.

I l
Feb 21, 2011 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Troy Chance was on the late ferry on Lake Champlain to Vermont. There were very few people on the ferry and most of them were indoors. Out of the corner of Troy’s vision, she sees a movement. Someone fell into the water from the other ferry. Without a second thought, Troy jumps into the lake after the item. For all she could know, the item could end up to be someone’s trash that they did not want to recycle.

Troy swims to the last location where she saw the item being thrown in. To her surprise,
Aug 27, 2011 Barbara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, first-novel
This book was well reviewed by a woman's magazine, so I decided to pick it up at the library. It's a debut novel from Sara Henry, who's crafted a somewhat decent thriller but has written it for the MTV generation. Troy Chance, a freelance writer and editor, watches a small boy plunge from the deck of a ferry and she dives in to save him. He speaks little to no English and she takes him home and cares for him while searching for his parents. Troy does things that a sane, intelligent person wouldn ...more
When I won this book through FirstReads, I thought it could be good or it could be cheesy. It's a bit of both. For a smart woman, Troy Chance makes some really stupid choices. While it was really brave of her to jump off a ferry to save a child she sees fall into Lake Champlain from another ferry, it was really stupid of her to take the child home rather than calling 911. From there, the story gets more and more implausible. Yet...I couldn't put it down. I've been in kind of a reading slump late ...more
Apr 16, 2013 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Richard Derus
Shelves: fiction
To be fair, I think that I do not like the genre. The story itself was a good one but the amount of unnecessary details drove me crazy. Did we need to know about Troy fixing her bike? Her computer skills? Shopping the discount racks? The small talk she made with the basement apartment managers? I also got the feeling that the author was writing about herself. I dislike that.

Edit :: 04/24/13

I have rounded up to 3 stars after an original 2 star rating because I realized I had forgotten about this
Sep 03, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have not had the luxury of reading a book from morning to night in many years, but that is what I did yesterday! Learning to Swim captured me on the first page and did not let me go until the last. Troy Chance sees a child thrown into Lake Champlain as she is crossing on the ferry and from there, Sara J. Henry takes us on a ride of emotions as well as suspense. Who is this boy and where did he come from? Troy not only searches for answers to these questions, but answers questions in her own li ...more
Was hooked on the first page, and could not put this book down till it was finished.
Jan 15, 2013 Ronna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommendations
What would you do if you saw someone dropping a child off of a passing ferry boat? Jump off into the freezing waters of Lake Champlain from your passing ferry boat, of course! This is exactly what our heroine, Troy Chance did in this first mystery by Sara Henry. Then what would you do if no one reported the child missing? Take him home because you just know his safety is in your hands---maybe not---but Troy did because of a "feeling".

The theme of this story was very different from what one woul
Amiee Freeman
This is the free book I received from Good Reads giveaway. Perhaps because of that I had a preconceived notion that the book would be amateurish. And in a way it was, but it was also a somewhat compelling mystery. The opening of the story seems largely implausible. The narrator (who, by the way, I didn't know if Troy was a man or woman until several pages into the book) dives into Lake Champlain to rescue a small child and then swims with the child back to shore. I have never been to Upstate New ...more
Aug 22, 2011 Bethany rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, mystery
An adult book! Such a shock, I know.

For some reason, I always think that I don't like mysteries. And I would say that in a sense, it's true. I'm not a mystery reader. I don't seek out reviews of mysteries, I don't follow the genre. But I do like mysteries, and actually, I like them quite a lot. It's not my favorite genre, and I never really acquired them for myself, but my mother reads a lot of mysteries, and I remember taking her books and zipping through them when I was younger. And I do seem
Kim Hooper
Feb 26, 2015 Kim Hooper rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have no idea why this book has so many good reviews. It thoroughly annoyed me. I will say that I "read" it as an audio book, so maybe part of my annoyance is with the narrator (who sounds way too stuffy and grandmotherly than the character is). But, beyond that, the writing itself was like nails on a chalkboard to me. Just atrocious. There are so many inane digressions. You should play a drinking game of taking a shot every time she detours to describe the food she's eating. Seriously, you wil ...more
I'm not quite sure how many stars to give this novel. The story opens with Troy Chance on a ferry to Burlington, VT passing the ferry from VT going to NY. As she stares out at the water, she sees something fall from the deck of the NY bound ferry. In the time it takes for her to register what she sees, she's on the railing, diving in the cold waters of Lake Champlain - to rescue a little boy thrown from the ferry. It's a thrilling opening. The book continues along as a mystery - what happened to ...more
Barbara Escher
Mar 24, 2015 Barbara Escher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sara Henry did a workshop in Nashville on Saturday, and she read the opening to this book. I thought it was completely ridiculous - who would believe anyone would jump off a ferry without a life jacket or any type of support to rescue what might be a child - or might be a bag of garbage? But I bought the book because the workshop convinced me that Sara knew a whole lot more about writing a novel than I did.

48 hours later, I had finished the book and didn't care if I had to believe six impossibl
May 28, 2011 Viccy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
The only reason this book did not get a 4-star rating is because of the ending. I like a book with a more defined and happier ending. Other than that, I thought this was a smart, roller-coaster ride of a book. Troy Chance is on the ferry boat crossing Lake Champlain and sees the small white face of a child falling off the ferry going in the opposite direction. Without thinking, she dives into the frigid waters, rescues the child and takes him home with her. She doesn't want to notify the police ...more
May 18, 2012 Jean rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A young woman named Troy is on a ferry heading on Lake Champlain and she sees someone? something? fall into the water. She thinks it's a child so she jumps in and saves him. The old saying about saving someone means you are responsible for that person compels her to try to find out who dumped 6 year old Paul into that lake. She finds his father and falls in love with Paul. Lots of danger and amateur sleuthing in this novel.
I read the whole thing but skimmed like crazy because it just wasn't tha
Dec 23, 2012 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This book well-deserved the Best First Novel Agatha Award it won!
Sep 16, 2014 Charlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good book
Oct 16, 2013 Pupottina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giallo, narrativa
È un romanzo che mi ha spiazzata, perché l’ho immaginato diverso. Normalmente, guardando la copertina e leggendo la trama, si creano le prime aspettative riguardo al romanzo che si ha davanti. Di solito, si simpatizza con un personaggio e si prova empatia verso di lui, quando agisce nel modo in cui ci aspettiamo che agisca, cioè nel modo più razionale. Ma cosa avviene quando ci sorprende? Siamo pronti ad accettarlo e a fidarci delle sue scelte?
Mi è accaduto qualcosa di simile quando ho iniziato
I think my expectations for this book were a little too high. It won like three awards this year so I was expecting this mind-blowing mystery. But really, the mystery solving was something of an after-thought, it felt like. Or rather, like the solution seemed a little too serendipitous to be believed.

Troy is a freelance journalist who rescues this little boy from drowning and then gets rather wrapped up in his life. It takes her just a couple of days to find his father and determine that he's no
Nov 18, 2012 Bree rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2011
For me, this book was just OK. I went into it hoping for a lot more than it actually delivered. I was expecting a book full of suspense, a thriller - I mean, a little boy is thrown off a ferry, the synopsis hints at a great story, but it completely missed the mark. There wasn't suspense, and what the synopsis hints at never comes about. I kept anxiously waiting for the big reveal only to be left disappointed. That's not to say that it wasn't a good book - it was well-written and the plot was OK, ...more
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You can read the first chapters of my novel LEARNING TO SWIM here. You can read chapters of the sequel here. (Don't have to read them in order.)
More about Sara J. Henry...

Other Books in the Series

Troy Chance (2 books)
  • A Cold and Lonely Place (Troy Chance, #2)

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