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Swimming for Sunlight

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4.41  ·  Rating details ·  92 ratings  ·  63 reviews
When recently divorced Katie Ellis and her rescue dog Bark move back in with Katie’s grandmother in Florida, she becomes swept up in a reunion of her grandmother’s troupe of underwater performers—finding hope and renewal in unexpected places, in this sweet novel perfect for fans of Kristan Higgins and Claire Cook.

Aspiring costume designer Katie gave up everything in her di
...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 23rd 2019 by Atria Books
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4.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  92 ratings  ·  63 reviews


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Kendall
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What first got my attention to this book was of course the cover! That sweet little pup on the cover stole my interest :).

I cannot say enough good things about this sweet sweet novel! This was the perfect book to come into my life right now!

If you're thinking this is going to be a romance novel.. you're completely wrong. Allie Larkin explores love, friendship, overcoming your fears, anxiety, and happiness in this beautiful novel.

Between the fury rescue pup Bark, the mermaid team of hip grandmas
...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ahh, Swimming for Sunlight is so sweet and refreshing! Just what I needed! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Katie is an aspiring costume designer, and I knew she was my kind of gal when I read she gave up everything in her divorce settlement- everything- in order to keep her rescue dog. At a loss on what her next steps should be, Katie moves home to Florida to live with her grandmother. Her former underwater performer grandmother.

Nan was a mermaid performer in a roadside show, and she had a group of close friends who
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Esil
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3.5 stars

Decent, light, feel sad then feel good type of read. This worked well as a quick vacation read. Katie is in her late 20s and just divorced, when she moves back in with her grandmother with her dog Bark in tow. Katie has a lot of baggage stemming from her father's death and her mother's subsequent abandonment. Katie's grandmother and her group of friends were her anchor as a child and serve the same purpose after Katie's divorce. The story is a quite predictable and Katie is a bit melodr
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Kerry
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I adore everything about Allie Larkin’s latest book, the characters, the locale (atmospheric!), the mermaids. (You’ll have to read the book to find out who and what they are.) I fell in love with Luca and I want to adopt Bark. (Don’t worry Sunny, you’re still my top dog.) I especially love Katie and the internal battles she waged and overcame. SWIMMING FOR SUNLIGHT is a poignant and authentic exploration of one woman learning to cope with her anxiety and finding her happy place in life. It’s my ...more
Mackey
Swimming for Sunlight is an uplifting story full of love, friendship, growth and multi-generational comradery that will fill your heart with joy from beginning to end.

Katie Ellis suffered a double loss as a child; her father died of a heart attack as they were playing in the water and her mother abandoned her shortly thereafter. As a result, despite an abundance of love from her grandmother, Nan, and the caring of all of Nan’s friends, Katie suffers from debilitating anxiety disorder which now h
...more
Obsidian
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

So "Swimming for Sunlight." I went back and forth on this one. The main character is Katie Ellis who divorces her husband and takes her rescue dog Bark back to Florida to stay with her maternal grandmother, Nan. Katie gives up everything that she is entitled to so her husband doesn't get joint custody of the dog. So she arrives with paper bags filled with clothes and I kid you not when your grandmother q
...more
Selena
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a free advanced e-copy of Swimming for Sunlight by Allie Larkin from NetGalley for my honest review.

Oh my, where to start. Such a beautiful, moving, emotional and memorable book. Katie and her dog, Bark go to Florida after her divorce. Katie, is young, depressed and is struggling with anxiety and fears as well. She is also still mourning the loss of her father. She ends up moving in with her Grandmother (Nan).

Katie learns that Nan was a mermaid performer back in the day. Katie decide
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Linda
Rich in details and brimming with emotions, this book pulled me in and captivated my attention each time I picked it up to read. It pulls at your heartstrings as protagonist, Katie, and her dog, Bark, help each other with anxiety issues, and as Katie helps Nan reunite with her friends from the past to become a beautiful group of senior mermaids. A wonderful, light, and poignant read.

I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and Atria. Thank you.
Julie
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. Trust me. Just read it. Warm and delightful and bursting with empathy.
BookGypsy
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-author
When Katie gets divorced all she wants out the marriage is her rescue dog Bark. Katies moves back home to Florida with her grandmother and her quirky group of friends. Katie learns all these things about the past and her grandmother. Nan was an underwater mermaid performer. While Katie helps her grandmother find her lost friends and bring back the troupe of mermaids,Katie discovers how much her tragic past and her fears and anxiety are holding her back. Holding Bark back as well. I loved this st ...more
Susan
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
SWIMMING FOR SUNLIGHT by Allie Larkin is such a perfect way to spend the day. Be prepared to ignore everything else until you are done. All I wanted to do when I finished reading was to reach out and give Katie and her grandmother Nan a big hug. Katie is recently divorced and basically, takes her rescue dog, Bark, a few bags of clothes, and runs to Nan’s. To say that Nan has an interesting bunch of friends, would be a huge under statement. When Nan and her friends were younger, they were underwa ...more
Amy
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3.5/5

I love a good book about starting over and this one caught my eye with the mention of a close relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter. I was incredibly close to my own grandma and valued our relationship so very much and I figured I would really enjoy reading about Katie and Nan’s special bond. I was mostly right, this was a light and sweet read that will make for good summer reading.

At the surface level there is plenty about Katie to like and I did admire her resolve when
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Sarah
Thank you to Netgalley and Atria books for this ARC - it was a surprisingly delightful book and I am proud to be able to review it.
I started this book with an apprehensive spirit to be honest - I was worried it was going to be a run of the mill romance novel. Thankfully I was wrong, it is a romance but it is also a bit of family drama, BFF reinforcement and an awareness raiser. I was happily proven wrong.
The fact that Katie starts off her story in the divorce court with the ‘new’ woman sat outsi
...more
Jamie
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
The words that ran through my head as I read Swimming for Sunlight were endearing, delightful and extraordinarily heartfelt. Allie Larkin has written a story about starting over when the odds have beaten you down time and time again and she has done so in a way that makes you want to reach out and hug our protagonist, Kay and of course, Kay's delightful rescue dog, Bark. More than that, Larkin has created a dream of a character in Kay's grandmother, Nan. Nan raised Kay for most of her life and e ...more
Caroline Angell
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved loved LOVED this book! In “Swimming for Sunlight,” Allie Larkin has written an absorbing, insightful tale of all the people and places in which we find strength. She's created a world I’d love to live in, full of vividly rendered characters who are as complex and resilient as they are big-hearted and funny. There is nothing like a great story, well-told; this is Larkin’s specific expertise.
Sarah
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Netgalley and Atria books for ARC - it was a surprisingly delightful book and I am proud to be able to review it.
I started this book with an apprehensive spirit to be honest - I was worried it was going to be a run of the mill romance novel. Thankfully I was wrong, it is a romance but it is also a bit of family drama, BFF reinforcement and an awareness raiser. I was happily proven wrong.
The fact that Katie starts off her story in the divorce court with the ‘new’ woman sat outside wa
...more
Susan Peterson
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness...this book....so good! Allie Larkin’s storytelling swept me away with its beautiful words; its colorful, lovable, and complex characters; a story swirling with emotions that had me laughing and crying, often at the same time. When Katie heads to her grandmother’s house after her divorce, she brings along her somewhat neurotic dog, Barkimedes, along with deep-rooted anxiety, fears, and years of hurt. What unfolds after she arrives in Florida is a poignant, thought-provoking, and e ...more
Kim Territo
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Allie Larkin is one of my favorite authors, so I was really happy to hear she was coming out with another book. Unfortunately, it wasn't coming out until April of 2019, so a little disappointed I was going to have to wait SOOOOOOO long. Then I was delighted when my daughter, a very informed librarian, let me know it was available on NetGalley now. I immediately downloaded it to my Kindle Fire and began reading. As with both her other books, there is an awesome story line with amazing characters. ...more
Heidi
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Four and a half stars: A beautiful book about conquering your fears, overcoming the past and finding a bright new future.

Katie chatters all the way to Florida to her beloved dark, Barkimedies. Katie is heading home after her divorce to live with her Grandma Nan. Katie has no idea what she will do, but she and Bark hope to do it together. Once she arrives home, Katie and Bark are still crippled with fear and anxiety, but they slowly begin to overcome their fears. Katie heals by sewing costumes f
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Ramsey Hootman
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Swimming for Sunlight is the literary equivalent of a chocolate chip cookie just out of the oven, warm and soft in the center. I loved the setup - Katie trying to salvage her emotional well-being by just giving up everything in her divorce except her dog definitely felt like something I might do in similar circumstances. She goes home to a group of elderly women who offer unconditional love and gently shepherd her as she learns to face (and finally deal with) her anxiety.

I liked how nobody here
...more
Christine Moore
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could give this book 100 stars! I loved it!!! Katie and her husband are getting divorced. All she wants from her marriage is her dog Bark. Katie and Bark move to Florida with Nan-Katie's grandmother who raised her. Here Katie has a full family of all of Nan's friends. I LOVED the characters in this book! I felt the love they feel for each other, everyone in their own way helping Katie get back on her feet again, and all the love and caring for Katie as she deals with her anxiety. Betwee ...more
Ellen
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I did not expect to get so absorbed in Katie’s story, but I identified with Katie as she fights her way through anxiety, catastrophizing everything as a result of losing her Dad early in life. With her dog Bark, she moves in with her grandmother, Nan, after her divorce. Nan and her friends are quite quirky, as their history as performing mermaids is revealed. Katie’s battle with anxiety stifles her attempts at happiness,until her project with an old boyfriend, Luca, helps her to move forward. Hi ...more
Annarella
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book that makes you root for the characters and it's full of emotion.
I was moved and rooted for the characters.
I loved the style of writing, the cast of characters, both human and canine, and the plot was engaging.
I will surely look for other books by this writer.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to Atria Books and Netgalley for this ARC
Cynthia
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great light but meaningful reading. Allie Larkin did a great job of taking the reader into the world of a seniors' community in Florida, as a newly divorced young woman moves in with her grandma. We see Kate renew childhood friendships with her grandma's friends and with her own high school BFF. This book's a nice picture of the lives of active seniors and the sense of community and lifelong friendships they enjoy and offer to a needy younger woman - all set against a project to re-unite a group ...more
Heather
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC!

The hardest reviews are the ones where I'm middle of the road on a book for an author I really enjoy. I LOVE Allie Larkin so was so excited to read this. I loved the interaction between Kay and Mo and I wish there was more of it in the book. Most of the time I was left feeling frustrated with Kay's decisions but at times I understood her difficulties. I personally didn't relate as much to her relationship with Nan's friends - often times I found
...more
Ann Mah
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A thoughtful, tender story about losing everything and starting all over again, Swimming for Sunlight reminds us of the joy that comes when we open our hearts to unexpected friendships. I fell in love with Allie Larkin's quirky and endearing characters and found myself thinking about them long after I turned the last page.
Julie
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Swimming for Sunlight was my first time reading Allie Larkin’s work. It is a lovely story about love, friendship and second chances.

I adored all the characters. Grandmother Nan and her friends are fabulous! I fell for the anxiety-ridden heroine who struggles to cope daily; I wanted to hug her, hold her hand, and also give her a little shake for projecting her fears onto her dog. Katie’s backstory is tragic, and it is probably a little bit more so than needed. However, it does set up the reason
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Kibkabe
Mar 24, 2019 rated it liked it
*Received from publisher via Netgalley*

"Swimming for Sunlight" by Allie Larkin is about a young divorcee trying to overcome trauma as she returns home to live with her grandmother. She begins helping her grandmother and friends become the entertainment mermaids they used to be decades before. It's heartwarming yet slow without the pizzazz in telling everyday situations and depicting everyday characters.

Katie returns home to Florida after a tumultuous divorce that ended with her ex-husband shack
...more
Michelle
Dec 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Katie goes back to live with her grandmother when her own divorce is finalized. She brings her best friend, her dog, Bark.

Katie has major anxiety issues. She owns up to some responsibility in her divorce because she pushed her husband away when things got hard.

The only ones she’s always trusted are her grandmother, her dog, her best friend Mo and her grandmother’s circle of friends.
So when she’s hurting, she goes home for comfort.

She isn’t expecting to see her grandmother super skinny and on a h
...more
Janet
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019ng, kindle


I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it.


When recently divorced Katie Ellis and her rescue dog Bark move back in with Katie’s grandmother in Florida, she becomes swept up in a reunion of her grandmother’s troupe of underwater performers—finding hope and renewal in unexpected places, in this sweet novel perfect for fans of Kristan H
...more
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Allie Larkin is the internationally bestselling author of the novel Stay, and Why Can’t I Be You (2013). She has never ordered a dog off the internet or assumed a new identity to attend a high school reunion. When Allie writes, she wears an oversized circa 1980’s acrylic sweater that is a crime against fashion and good taste in general. She loves Boston. The band, not the city. But the city is gre ...more