Caterpillars Can’t Swim
Second Story Press
Two boys look to the water for escape, but for very different reasons. For sixteen-year-old Ryan, the water is where he finds his freedom. Ever since childhood, when he realized that he would never walk like other people, he has loved the water where gravity is no longer his enemy. But he never imagined he would become his small town's hero by saving a schoolmate from drowning. Jack is also attracted to the water, but for him it's the promise of permanent escape. Disappearing altogether seems better than living through one more day of high school where he is dogged by rumors about his sexuality. He's terrified that coming out will alienate him from everyone in town - and crush his adoring mother. Ryan saves Jack's life, but he also keeps his secret. Their bond leads to a grudging friendship, and an unexpected road-trip to Comic Con with Ryan's best friend Cody, the captain of the swim team. The unlikely trio ends up subverting preconceptions and prejudices of their own and of those around them.
LGBTQ (Gender and Sexuality); Disability and Health; Gay/Lesbian; Physical disabililty; Developmental disability; Mental illness; gay; gay teenager; wheelchair user; cerebral palsy; suicide attempt
mother and father
Cybils Awards, 2018, Nominee, Young Adult Fiction
Rainbow List, 2019 Young Adult Fiction
Comic Con; small town; homophobia; bullying; drowning; obligation; acceptance
Shaw, Liane, "Caterpillars Can’t Swim" (2018). Diverse Families. 1900.