Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Night Swimming” as Want to Read:
Night Swimming
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Night Swimming

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  314 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Imagine being the only two seventeen-year-olds in a small town. That’s life for Kirby Arrow—named after the most dissenting judge in Australia’s history—and her best friend Clancy Lee, would-be musical star.

Clancy wants nothing more than to leave town and head for the big smoke, but Kirby is worried: her family has a history of leaving. She hasn’t heard from her father sin
Paperback, 311 pages
Published April 3rd 2017 by Text Publishing
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Night Swimming, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Night Swimming

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  314 ratings  ·  91 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Night Swimming
C.G. Drews
This was a piece of adorkable cuteness for sure. And I'm so happy!! I've loved all of Steph Bowe's books (Girl Saves Boy will always be my ultimate favourite though. <3) and I'm so glad we've got a new one!! It's quirky and filled with dry humour and terribly excellent goat puns and features a super cute f/f romance. AND it's Australia. Let me just take a moment to flail, okay? OKAY.

So first we need to talk about the glory that is Kirby. She has the BEST voice. She's kind of dryly witty but also
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: text, bookgasm, loveozya
Seventeen year old Kirby Arrow is one of two adolescents in the small country town of Alberton and has no inclination of departing. In their small ramshackle house, Kirby cares for her grandfather while her mother runs a small business from home. Kirby is a kind and compassionate young woman and devoted to caring for her grandfather who has been diagnosed with dementia, portrayed wonderfully with tenderness. Her mother is a stern woman who is insistent that Kirby experience the world beyond Albe ...more
Text Publishing
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australian, fiction, ya
‘A fun, quirky read with oodles of romance and capers.’

‘She has an ease of style that makes you feel you are eavesdropping on a real conversation, not reading cleverly crafted lines of dialogue.’
ABC Radio Central West

‘A funny, diverse, authentic story of family, love, musicals, crop-circles and goats.’
Lili Wilkinson

‘Night Swimming is at once sweet and serious; a love-letter to outsiders, the kooky and complex—it’s an ode to first times and best friends…but above all else, it’s a reminde
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
3.5 stars

What a cute and adorable coming of age read! With a pet goat called Stanley, lots of Indian take out and a best friend with big dreams, there’s a lot of random elements in Night Swimming, but it comes together beautifully. An adorable, quirky diverse read featuring a lesbian main character in a small Australian town. I really enjoyed this one and I loved how the relationship was approached.

Full review including an Author Q&A.
Kirby's narrative voice is hilarious and snarky. I loved everything about this gentle romance and satisfying family story.
Lizzy (Bent Bookworm)
~*Full review here on The Bent Bookworm!*~

Feels : Just...awwwww. Lots and lots of awwww moments. Between the besties Kirby and Clancy to the awkward anxiety of a new crush, there was just so many times I got a case of the warm fuzzies. Also, Kirby's grandfather. My heart hurt for him, and for Kirby and her family. I remember my great-grandmother as dementia set in for her, and it was absolutely heart breaking. It's difficult sometimes as a teenager or young adult to see our loved ones growing
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“In real life, there’s no such thing as happily ever after, there’s just life passing day by day. After you ride off into the sunset, then you’re just in the middle of nowhere on a horse at night, aren’t you?”

Night Swimming is the third YA novel by Australian author, Steph Bowe. Everybody leaves Alberton. Seventeen-year-old Kirby Arrow can understand why kids leave: they have to go further afield for Years 11 and 12, and never seem to come back; her Grandma left (but returns intermittently); her
Sprinkled Pages
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
what an amazing read!

this was my very first steph bowe novel and it was such an enjoyable ride! the setting of this book was so cool! i mean, rural australia? yes please!

other than the amazing setting, the characters AHA the characters. Kirby was such an enjoyable protagonist to read from the point of view of! she loved to read, was kind, cared about her family and clancy and was just such a sweet adorable person. on that note, clancy is such an adorable cinnammon roll too! he was so sweet and
Nadia King
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A pet goat called Stanley, crop circles, and life in a small outback town. Night Swimming is a salute to living real, following your dreams and coming to terms with being a quirky teenager embarking upon adulthood.

Night Swimming is an example of all that is best of YA Fiction. It celebrates diversity in an authentic way, and explores complex issues such as sexuality, mental health, family dynamics, friendship, and rural life.

Seventeen-year-old, Kirby Arrow lives in the small outback town of Albe
rachel ☾
3.5 stars

Night Swimming was adorable. I absolutely and utterly adored our protagonist, Kirby. She had such a clear and distinctive voice, and her personality was so infectious. She was the perfect blend of genuine, awkward, sweet and funny. In fact, the humour in this story was all kinds of perfect. It was ridiculously Australian and just… being able to read a book without having to Google American words and brands was so nice. It made me feel so at home. Kirby and Clancy’s banter in particular
Trigger warnings: grandparent with dementia, flood.

4.5 stars.

Oh, gosh. This was utterly delightful from start to finish. Let's start with the fact that there aren't enough books set in small Australian towns, then add in the fact that there aren't enough books with pet goats. And then finish up with the fact that there aren't enough F/F romances in #LoveOzYA.

All of the characters here are utterly delightful (with the exception of Kirby's father), and I loved the three main characters a lot. L
Anne Little
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
ADORABLE! Proper review to come :)
I love the writing style, the characters, the town, Kirby's narrative voice...

This book is filled with compassion for the wonderful, fully human characters and their hopes and fears.
Emily Mead
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, lgbtqia
From reading a lot of small-town Australian books, you'd get the idea that Aussie authors are incapable of including diversity in their books. Steph Bowe, thankfully, proves that this is not the case.

There's a really cute f/f romance - Iris's dad is Indian and her mum is from New Zealand (she's the love interest btw).

Kirby's best friend Clancy is Chinese-Australian.

There's also representation of depression that was only brief but really well done, and rep of dementia as well.

Ten reasons why you should read Night Swimming:

1. Steph Bowe’s wonderful writing.

2. Unique, non-stereotypical characters.

3. The awesome friendship between Kirby and Clancy.

4. The small town setting – it was actually refreshing to have a character that doesn’t want to leave their small town.

5. Stanley, the coolest pet goat ever.

6. Restaurant rivalry.

7. A story of first love.

8. A story of being true to yourself.

9. Crop circles.

10. The whole thing.

Night swimming was a light, fun read but still had
Cass -  Words on Paper

Lovely. ♡ It's a bit late so I'll write up a review tomorrow after work.

Goats. Clancy. Small town life. Dreams. F/F love. Night swimming. Crop circles. Family. Grandfather with dementia. Chinese restaurant. Beautifully written but I'm not even really sure that much happened? Like of course things happen, but it's not a plot - driven book I the slightest. I liked the main character Kirby (she's also a bookworm!) And the family sitch is pretty neat-o too. :) Def lots to love. A little bit quirk
Suraya (thesuraya)
Apr 09, 2017 rated it liked it
its not bad but idk i wasnt feeling it
Clare Snow
"In real life, there's no such thing as happily ever after, there's just life passing day by day."

The good: I fell in love with Iris.

The bad: I'm so boooooooored. The only reason I didn't DNF was this would have been my second DNF for the Aus YA Bloggers Reading Challenge and I couldn't be bothered finding something to replace it.

I'm glad I finished, but I don't see much point to the story. Kirby spends the whole time loving her dead end town and never wanting to leave. Then for no apparent reas
Jase Cordova
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Apr 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Very cool premise, but I found the writing wasn't great, and there was far too much exposition, especially in the first 50 pages.
What an absolutely lovely book. Funny and tender and light enough without being silly, serious enough without being too upsetting, and very very conscious of how to do race representation right. I did think Iris came across a bit too much like the cliche of a manic pixie dream girl what with her dresses and her quirks. But I found myself forgiving that. The father-daughter relationship was perhaps the most surprising aspect, and I found myself really very touched by Kirby's deepening relationshi ...more
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book from Goodreads.I loved it. All about friendship, family, growing up and the complexities of being a confused teenager. Imaginative and quirky and the dialogue very real. Kirby confused by her sexuality and bound by a lifelong friendship with Clancy, wanting to find her father and a fear of the future.
Steph Cuthbert
Night Swimming is so adorable and heartwarming and funny. I'm a sucker for girl meets girl but Steph Bowe delivered so much more than that. The town, the people, the goats... all wonderfully vivid and alive
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporaries, ya
I was very excited to read this and I'm glad I did even if it's a bit of a dispointment.
I wanted to read this book because it seemed quirky, fun and it had a... lgbtq+ love triangle? And it has all of that. Kirby is weird but attaching, she has a pet goat and contrary to most protagonist she does not want to live her small town behind. She's best friend with the only other teen in town : Clancy who's of chinese decent and love musical theater. Iris is the new girl in town and they both fall f
"Life is a strange, funny, constantly unfurling thing, Kirby. You have no idea the marvels that await us."

Night Swimming is a great example of 'home is where the heart is.' As Kirby struggles with deciding to stay in her small town or seeing what else the world has to offer, she discovers that the people she loves are what's important. Family's an important theme in this book. We meet Kirby's mother and grandpa who both have significant roles to play in Kirby's growth. The story arc with the fa
Michael Earp
Cute and sweet, light romance in small Australian town. Perfect beach/holiday reading.
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
It was nice. Had a happy ending and I liked Stanley xD now I get to pick it to pieces for an essay. Joy
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, because I'm always on board for a queer girl romance (especially one that actually acknowledges that bisexuals exist). But it was just so... bland. The whole story felt like it was telling rather than showing, most of the characters felt pretty two dimensional, the main love interest is kind of a manic pixie dream girl, and the whole thing just didn't feel real or engaging. At least there was a happy ending, which there isn't always in queer stories, but it did ...more
Ann Elise Monte
Dec 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Rating more like 3.5 stars, I guess. I don't know. Ratings are hard.

There isn't a lot of queer Aussie YA out there and, though I've been burned quite often, it's worth giving another one a chance. I do want to support our local authors.

Details at a glance:

Genre: YA Contemporary

First published: 2017

Format: Paperback

Pairings: F/F

Sexual content: None

Rep: Lesbian MC, unlabelled queer biracial Indian-Australian LI with depression, Chinese-Australian supporting character, dyslexic supporting character
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
that #relatable feel when an aussie book has a character say “yeah, nah.”
a delightful tale of crop circles, goats, carpentry, mixed lollies, op-shopping, a harry potter wallet, the mandolin, musicals, milo, wigs, lamingtons, chalk, and yes.. night swimming.
... i can’t believe she called it cask wine and not goon.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Amelia Westlake
  • The Good Daughter
  • Deep Water
  • I Am Out with Lanterns
  • The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling
  • Beauty
  • Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal
  • The Art of Taxidermy
  • The Road to Winter (Winter, #1)
  • This is How We Change the Ending
  • The Year the Maps Changed
  • Everywhere, Everything, Everyone
  • Sick Bay
  • The Good Turn (Cormac Reilly, #3)
  • Taking Down Evelyn Tait
  • Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology
  • It Sounded Better in My Head
  • Rogue (Hive #2)
See similar books…

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
30 likes · 16 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“A parent you know nothing about has a lot of imaginative potential.” 1 likes
“I'm a bit terrified, to be honest, of a lot of things.” 1 likes
More quotes…