Infinite Blue by Darren Groth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A very different short novel about a professional teenage athlete, her loving boyfriend, devoted coach and crazy, obsessed with winning, mother; and finally a real odd outcome. Infinite Blue is the perfect read for any teenage athlete that needs to gain some perspective or has injured themselves. It deals with a girl who is a world-class swimmer and her artist boyfriend.
Darren Groth has really given us a story about life changing moments and how we cannot anticipate them; nor can we be prepared for how we might respond afterwards. Infinite Blue addresses the highest and lowest of those moments. Both from athletics and teen love perspectives. One of my favourite things about this book is that it shows why teenage love rarely survives. When jobs, money and life goals are on the line you gotta go for them... and not for random awkward boy. Whether we like it or not this is the reality of how opportunities tend to fall out at that age. Choosing a boy or girl over a once in a lifetime opportunity is rarely the right choice when you are 16. That may seem sad but it's reality. Groth does a good job of showing this and handles it well by finding alternate ways our characters cope and make decisions in order to come to the end of his story.
We've all had this person in our life at some point (or will if you haven't yet). The person, be it family, friend or lover, that pushes you to be more than you might otherwise strive to be. This can go one of two ways of course, it can be the push you need to truly succeed and you'll appreciate that person forever because of it. Or it can be too much and you'll collapse under the pressure of that person's expectations. In Infinite Blue it's our athlete's Mother that is the pusher. And like so many parents she is living vicariously through her daughter's success. These are dangerous parents and Groth does an excellent job of showing why parents (in particular) need to be aware of when they've pushed too hard and how they may actually be contributing to the poor mental health of their child. Infinite Blue does a good job of showing that we all need to be aware of how our expectations are affecting others and be prepared to pull back when needed and ensure we keep communication on-going with the person we are mentoring or trying to help. They are still their own person and ultimately need to feel like they have the control and power to direct their lives in the way they wish to.
Infinite Blue has some really great messages and meanings. However it didn't rank higher than 3 stars for me because it felt a little too set-up. There wasn't enough of the struggle in-between the big moments for me. It focused a bit too much on the large moments in life (kind of like a Hollywood movie) and not enough on the feelings, emotions and struggles that come between those times. Perhaps it's because it's fairly a shorter novel. Or maybe it's just that I wanted more from our characters. I especially felt like our lead character (the tortured artist boyfriend) was just there to tell the female athlete's story and not really to tell his story. I'd have liked a lot more of his emotions, dreams and feelings to round out the overall story and feel like he was as important of a character as our engaging female.
To read this and more of my reviews visit my blog at Epic Reading
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
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