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Breathing Underwater



by
Sarah Allen

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Macmillan
Imprint
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
ISBN
9780374313258
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Mild Language , Language: Infrequent Use
$20.16   $16.80
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JLG Category

Advanced Readers

A heartwarming, relevant middle grade novel about a twelve-year-old girl who wants to be a photographer going on a road trip with her older sister recovering from depression, and learning that loving someone doesn't come with its own map.

Olivia is on the cross-country road trip of her dreams, complete with her favorite aunt and uncle, National Geographic magazines, and her big sister, Ruth. Once they reach San Diego, they have a plan to uncover a time capsule they buried when they moved away three years ago. Olivia can't wait to take pictures of the sights, adventures, and memories—but what she wants most is to make her sister happy again. Ruth has depression, and it seems to Olivia, who knows Ruth's signs, things are getting worse. But as the road winds on and they get closer to their old home, she'll realize that love, not fixing, is all she can give. Breathing Underwater is the second novel from Sarah Allen, and a big-hearted exploration of sisterhood, dreams, and what it means to be there for someone you love.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Mild Language , Language: Infrequent Use

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

224

Trim Size

8 3/10" x 5 2/5"

Dewey

F

AR

5.1: points 6

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Jun 2021

Book Genres

Realistic Fiction

Topics

Sisters. Photography. Mental depression. Treasure hunt (game). Automobile travel. Family life. Conduct of life.

Standard MARC Records

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

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

Horn Book

Thirteen-year-old Olivia has a plan for the cross-country RV trip she and her older sister, Ruth, are taking with their mother’s cousin and his wife: re-create—in reverse—the photo scavenger hunt they’d carried out when they moved from California to Tennessee three years earlier. Olivia hopes rediscovering the moments of delight will help Ruth, who is clinically depressed, handle her condition better. Olivia, and aspiring photographer, spends the trip watching the world through her camera and keeping an eye on Ruth. Ruth’s depressive episodes often coincide with Olivia’s plans for force-cheering her sister, and she tries to balance supporting Ruth with her own enjoyment of the trip. This drives a wedge between them, until things reach a crisis point and Ruth has to be hospitalized. Allen vividly captures Olivia’s caretaker tendencies (“I needed to do whatever I could for my sister; to turn my volume down if things were too loud for her”) and how her attempts to manage Ruth’s depression are simultaneously futile and necessary. Olivia’s literal and metaphorical journeys in the book work well together, and Allen does a good job of showing depression’s impact on an individual and a family in a realistic but child-appropriate way. The book’s resolution—happy for the moment, but with no guarantee for the future—is spot-on. SARAH RETTGER

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

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

Horn Book

Thirteen-year-old Olivia has a plan for the cross-country RV trip she and her older sister, Ruth, are taking with their mother’s cousin and his wife: re-create—in reverse—the photo scavenger hunt they’d carried out when they moved from California to Tennessee three years earlier. Olivia hopes rediscovering the moments of delight will help Ruth, who is clinically depressed, handle her condition better. Olivia, and aspiring photographer, spends the trip watching the world through her camera and keeping an eye on Ruth. Ruth’s depressive episodes often coincide with Olivia’s plans for force-cheering her sister, and she tries to balance supporting Ruth with her own enjoyment of the trip. This drives a wedge between them, until things reach a crisis point and Ruth has to be hospitalized. Allen vividly captures Olivia’s caretaker tendencies (“I needed to do whatever I could for my sister; to turn my volume down if things were too loud for her”) and how her attempts to manage Ruth’s depression are simultaneously futile and necessary. Olivia’s literal and metaphorical journeys in the book work well together, and Allen does a good job of showing depression’s impact on an individual and a family in a realistic but child-appropriate way. The book’s resolution—happy for the moment, but with no guarantee for the future—is spot-on. SARAH RETTGER

Grades 6-9
Advanced Readers
For Grades 6-9

Your pre-teen and teen readers won't be able to get enough of these selections. The 12 books here are a bit longer than our B category titles, with more challenging storylines and a wealth of thought-provoking nonfiction.

12 books per Year
$201.60 per Year
Interests
Clean Books,Diversity,Fiction,High Interest/Reluctant Reader,Struggling Readers,Novels,Funny/Humorous,Realistic Fiction
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Grades 6-9
Advanced Readers
12 books per Year
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