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Breathing Underwater
Cover of Breathing Underwater
Breathing Underwater
A Junior Library Guild Selection"In Breathing Underwater, Sarah Allen has created characters so alive and compelling that readers will root for them every mile of this moving, heartfelt journey."...
A Junior Library Guild Selection"In Breathing Underwater, Sarah Allen has created characters so alive and compelling that readers will root for them every mile of this moving, heartfelt journey."...
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  • A Junior Library Guild Selection
    "In Breathing Underwater, Sarah Allen has created characters so alive and compelling that readers will root for them every mile of this moving, heartfelt journey." —Dan Gemeinhart, author of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
    A sparkly, moving middle grade novel from Sarah Allen, and a big-hearted exploration of sisterhood, dreams, and what it means to be there for someone you love.
    Olivia is on the road trip of her dreams, with her trusty camera and her big sister Ruth by her side. Three years ago, before their family moved from California to Tennessee, Olivia and Ruth buried a time capsule on their favorite beach. Now, they're taking an RV back across the country to uncover the memories they left behind. But Ruth's depression has been getting worse, so Olivia has created a plan to help her remember how life used to be: a makeshift scavenger hunt across the country, like pirates hunting for treasure, taking pictures and making memories along the way.
    All she wants is to take the picture that makes her sister smile. But what if things can never go back to how they used to be? What if they never find the treasure they're seeking? Through all the questions, loving her sister, not changing her, is all Olivia can do—and maybe it's enough.

About the Author-

  • Sarah Allen is the author of What Stars Are Made Of, and has also been published in The Evansville Review, Cicada, and on WritersDigest.com. She grew up in the mountains of Utah where she got one MFA, and because she's a little bit crazy, she's now at work on a second MFA in the tropics of Florida. Other than writing poetry and books for children, she can be found singing show tunes too loudly, watching David Attenborough documentaries or, like Olivia and Ruth, hunting for treasure. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram!

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    January 1, 2021
    On a road trip from Knoxville to their former home in San Diego, 13-year-old shutterbug Olivia follows a secret plan to help her depressed 16-year-old sister, Ruth. From the start, Olivia is an earnest narrator who effortlessly moves back and forth between the plotline and revealing and processing her emotions. She gives blow-by-blow descriptions that begin with packing for the upcoming RV trip with Eddie, her mom's cousin, and his wife, Ellie, and ends at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. There, three years ago, the sisters buried a treasure box of memories captured in photographs by Olivia and song playlists by Ruth. Early on, readers learn that the girls' professional parents will be flying to join their daughters at journey's end for a family scuba-diving excursion. Accomplished photographer Olivia has an underwater camera while Ruth is devoted to her old-school iPod. The narration skillfully weaves into the story Olivia's passion for photography, conversations and confrontations running a gamut of emotions, facts about depression, vivid descriptions of each tourist attraction they visit, and pop songs that complement the story (even connecting with the book's title). Ellie and Eddie are highly supportive, encouraging both sisters in their personal and artistic growth. Olivia's hypersensitivity may grate at times, but this is an honest portrayal of a child gradually internalizing what she knows intellectually about her fragile sister. Tween readers--especially girls with older sisters--will appreciate the depth of feeling on display. A heartfelt, multifaceted treasure hunt. (Fiction. 9-13)

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from March 1, 2021

    Gr 5 Up-Thirteen-year-old Olivia is beyond excited to be on a road trip to San Diego with her big sister, Ruth, and her aunt and uncle. Three years ago, before her family moved from California to Tennessee, Olivia and Ruth buried a box of special mementos on their favorite beach. The mementos were created while the girls were searching for treasures on a treasure hunt. Olivia hopes that taking the road trip will help Ruth with her worsening depression. Things are different now: Ruth isn't the bubbly, helpful older sister that she was three years ago when they traveled the same route. Olivia is afraid that Ruth is falling down into "the Pit" again. She wants to look out for her big sister, but understanding the feelings that Ruth is experiencing is proving to be very difficult for Olivia. This is an important story that captures not just the struggles many teens have with mental illness but also the complex and meaningful relationship between two sisters who care deeply for each other, even if they show it in different ways. VERDICT Beautifully written, this tender novel should be read by anyone who understands how challenging navigating mental illness can be. A first purchase for all shelves; buy more than one copy.-Amy Caldera, Dripping Springs M.S., TX

    Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Dan Gemeinhart, author of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

    "In Breathing Underwater, Sarah Allen has created characters so alive and compelling that readers will root for them every mile of this moving, heartfelt journey."

  • Gary Schmidt, Newbery Honor–winning author of The Wednesday Wars

    "Breathing Underwater takes you by surprise again and again: You think it's a road trip story, then a search for treasure story, then that it's a story about the darkness of depression, then that it's a story about sisters. Finally, you realize it's all of these--and more. It's really, in the end, a love story, filled with joy and hurt and hope--and all the complexity that love brings with it."

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    Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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