Fish out of water by Natalie Whipple

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Hot Key Books, 2015. ISBN 9781471404306
(Age: 16+) "People like to think fish don't have feelings - it's easier that way - but as I watch the last guppy squirm in his bag, his eyes seem to plead with me. I get the sense that it knows just as well as I do that bad things are on the horizon."
Mika loves fish but her plans for the summer holidays come awry when her estranged grandmother arrives unannounced. This sets the scene for a difficult family reunion as old grievances resurface and conflict ensues. The characters are lightly drawn, yet the reader can relate to the complications life presents them.
The characters in this novel are all fish out of water. Alzheimers, cultural differences, socioeconomic differences, and educational differences are all explored in this novel. While it lacks complexity, and can be predictable at times, this novel does show the power of forgiveness in resolving difficulties in relationships.
While there is, of course, a love interest in this book, the most nuanced relationship is that between Mika and her grandmother. It is these segments that bring the book to life and allow the reader to experience the complexities of Alzheimers.
Linda Guthrie