How to Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel (My Life Is a Zoo)

How to Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel (My Life Is a Zoo)
By: Jess Keating 

Release date: January 6, 2015 
Ages: 8 and up 
Pages: 304 

Please note 

How to Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel is the 2nd book in the My Life is a Zoo series. Even though this novel does stand well on its own, also be sure to read the first one: 

The Story 

Ana's grandfather is a world famous TV animal personality and he is opening a new exhibit at the zoo-with sharks. Ana is assigned to help put get the exhibit together with her arch enemy Ashley. As she works with Ashley though, they slowly become friends.

Something mysterious begins to happen though.  The sea horses are overfed and  someone didn't lock the hermit crab cage. Ana immediately thinks it is Ashley trying to sabotage her. Until this summer, she was her arch enemy after all. Ana tries to get back at Ashley for trying to sabotag the new exhibit, but is Ashley really behind it? Ana learns about acceptance, friendship, and how to adapt to middle school.


*This book is refreshingly positive. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Ana is trying to find a swimming suit. She is really self conscious about her changing body, and has trouble finding clothes. So the character Ashley goes with her and helps her find a swimming suit, and she says one of my favorite lines in the book: 

"Just remember, if something doesn't fit, that's the clothes' fault. Not yours. Keep trying things on until your find something that looks like it was made for you. Everything in your closet should make you feel good." 

Can all my tween girls read this, please? Or better yet, lets just post this in all dressing rooms! :) 

*It has animal facts at the beginning of every chapter. This will appeal to many of my middle grade kids, and it makes it easy to pair with non-fiction animal books. Tweens tend to be really interested in animals in general. So this is a huge plus for appeal!

* One of the characters bakes cookies in the book, and the author includes the recipe at the end of the book. This is perfect book club food. Plus I had to make them immediately after finishing this book. No Bake Cookies, anyone?

Image result for no bake cookies recipe

Weaknesses for Reader's Advisory 

*This book would primarily only appeal to only tween girls. I do like this though, because there aren't many positive tween girl books like this one that would appeal to a wide range of tween girls.

*The character Ana does accuse the character Ashley of making her life a living hell. This was only used once, but this may make some reader's uncomfortable. I would be careful to mention this to parents if this is something they want to avoid in their child's reading.

*The ending was predictable and a little cheesy, but I am still excited to read the next book:

Release date: October 2, 2015


I am a sucker for animal books, but I really enjoyed this one. I put in a request for my library to buy  this series & I already recommended this series to one of my tween girls this evening. I am thankful that Cybils has opened my eyes to this book. I wouldn't have normally read it. I tend to get stuck in my history genre. So I am really appreciative.

 Please make sure your favorites are on the list. Your nominations count!

Visit this link for more information:
Cybils Nominations

For more books like this one, check these out!  

For the animal facts

For the zoo & animal adventure: 

For the family animal connections & the animals: 

For more fun, check out this live camera from the Baltimore Aquarium. This is a similar exhibit as the one in the book.


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