Night Swimming, by Robin Schwarz

Reviewed by Jess, age 24, Massachusetts
Sweet Designs Staff Intern

Charlotte Clapp, an overweight, plain bank worker, had lost the desire to care about her appearance or impress anyone. She had let life slip through her fingers and lost touch with herself. Living in the tiny town in Gorham, New Hampshire, where everyone knows everyone and their business, Charlotte found her life a predictable, boring, invisible existence.

Charlotte lives her life through regret. The man she once loved and lived for left her for her best friend. Betrayed by the two people closest to her, she has lost trust in those around her, as well as the desire to gain joy out of living. All of this changes when Charlotte receives a life altering phone call. What she'd thought to be a seemingly routine physical turns out to reveal some heartbreaking news. She is told she has one year left to live.

Charlotte is suddenly hit square in the face with reality and has to make a quick decision about what to do. Realizing her life is about to end, and not having truly lived it, she has to make the decision either to let life take her over, or to take over life. Predictable Charlotte breaks out of character and robs the bank she works at of two million dollars and takes off for California, the land she always wanted to live in. Charlotte has the epiphany that life is short and you need to suck it all in, the best you can. She is on a mission to experience everything she missed out on all those years of her life. No matter what, she will find love and she will find happiness.

Night Swimming is an excellent read. The book gets its title from the "night swimming" Charlotte does in the pool at her California condo. A girl who once wouldn't share an inch of skin due to her self-consciousness lets go in the water, where she feels free and finds her body and soul changing before her eyes. The story takes a turn upside down during Charlotte's mission to find life. The reader is thrown a curve ball when Charlotte finds out even more shocking news near the end of the book.

The author's style is very personal, real, and humorous. The story makes you laugh, cry, and empathize with the character. You run with Charlotte, and you cheer for her the whole way through. Her story is inspiring and makes you realize life should never be taken for granted, and you should never drift through life wishing to get back the years you lost. Charlotte makes her dreams come true and believes in herself for the first time in a long while. She embraces every new experience and doesn't take anything too seriously. She does what makes her happy and doesn't look back. She pushes herself farther than she ever did and takes chances she never took. After all, what has she got to lose?

The book is definitely fresh and never stale. It's an eye opening book that makes you look at your own life and self.

I give this book 4 stars (of a possible 5).

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

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