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Hi, a 13 year old here, i cant help but LOVE this book! It focuses on real life issues without being over dramatic, and annabelle is a relatable and independent character that i loved. A lot of books show characters that are young, but have real ongoings between older boyfriends, and get overly emotional through their own choice, and fight with friends over who is dating who. This book showed what can happen in a realistic and gentle way, and i can relate.
We see annabelle go on a journey from awkward and mistreated to being confident and stickinf up for herself. We see her mistreat friends, and make up with them. We watch as an older boy makes a mockery of her, bur she keeps going. This is a true story - it turns the page for you and leaves you gasping for air.
This is an interesting book because it sits right at the edge of middle grade and YA, aimed at readers age 12 or 13, for whom there's precious little available in the book world. The main character is a girl who develops early, which I find a particularly valuable theme. She tries to fit in with an older crowd and crushes on an older boy. Things don't work out how she'd hoped, but it's a happy ending. The topics of flirting and physical development are interesting ones for this age group and I appreciated how the book pushed the boundaries there a little.
Although many ages can relate to this book, it is the perfect book for middle school students. There is nothing so mature that I would be concerned about my youngest students reading this book, but Anabelle is in the summer before her 8th grade year, and her longing to be accepted by the high school crowd is a feeling that will appeal to my oldest students.
Embarrassed by accommodations, and frustrated when they don't seem to be enough either, school is a struggle for Anabelle. In the pool, she feels different. In the pool she is in control and she is strong. In the pool, Anabelle is setting records.
When Anabelle is asked to swim up with the high school team to help them in the mixed relay, her excitement for the opportunity to prove herself gets distracted by the two-years-older boy who she is crushing on showing her more attention. Struggling to fit in with the older teens has Anabelle hurting her own friends, disobeying her parents, and spiraling downward. How will she find her way through the mess she has made to come up for air?
What I loved: The message. Knowing who your true friends and family are makes all the difference. Anyone can comeback and grow from mistakes. The setting. I want to live on Gray Island. The swimming. This is a popular sport with my students and I am excited to add a book about it to our library. #LitReviewCrew
Annabelle is just about to end her seventh grade year, and even though she gets more time on essays than others and that she works hard to prepare, she isn't surprised when most of her grades are Cs. Her mother says she's proud of her, but Annabelle really feels like everyone just feels sorry for her. Being in water is the only time she really feels comfortable and alive, so when she is asked to move up to the high school swim team for the summer, she looks forward to more time in the water, especially since she gets to practice with the older kids, including Conner, who seems to be paying more attention to her than ever before. Will moving to the high school team, mean losing her friends from the middle school team? Will the reappearance of her real father in her life make her feel more like she has somewhere to belong? These are just some of the challenges Annabelle faces in this story. The real strength of Up for Air is the way all of the emotions of the characters are spot on. Annabelle's struggles with loneliness, isolation, insecurity, and misunderstanding are all presented in a realistic way, showing what most girls feel during adolescence. Overall an excellent middle grade book.
Morrison grabs readers from the very first page with a character that is utterly relatable. Rising eighth grader Annabelle struggles in the classroom. She feels like she doesn't quite fit in with her super-successful mother and stepfather, and as much as her stepfather is there for her, she yearns for a connection with her father, who she hasn't seen in years. The one place Annabelle feels at home is in the pool, where she excels. She's so good, in fact, that this summer she's been asked to swim with the high schoolers. Cue: excitement. Also, cue: a little bit of nerves.
The thing is, Annabelle's one of those girls who has "developed" and she's getting attention from one of the cute high school swimmers, who's started texting her. Does he like *really* like her? What's going on? If only she felt she could trust her close friends with all that she has going on.
Morrison absolutely gets the world of middle school: the concerns, the complicated social dynamics, all of it -- and it all comes into play here in a way that's entirely true to life and cringe-worthy. Like any kid would in her situation, Annabelle makes mistakes. And she struggles to see all that she's good at. It's all too easy for her to notice her weaknesses, and miss her strengths. My heart broke for Annabelle at so many points in this poignant, eminently readable book.
I devoured this book, barely coming up for air, and I think so many middle school readers will too
Remember when you were in middle school and your friendships went through changes? Welcome to Annabelle’s life. Up for Air is a great mix of friendship angst, summer fun, exciting sports drama, and girl power. Morrison proves she really knows what middle schoolers think. This is well written and full of heart. A great book for tweens and young teens who aren’t quite ready for YA but are beyond books for third through fifth graders. The swim team scenes were so accurately portrayed. Don't miss this!
This book did such a great job of portraying the complicated learning curve of changing friendship dynamics and parental expectations that middle schoolers go through. It took me right back to that anxiety-filled time when you felt like you were never getting things quite right. The main character, Annabelle, was a great example of how to get knocked down and get back up again. I also liked that although she had plenty of self doubt, she modeled positive self-talk. I am excited to have my 12 year old daughter read this very relatable and positive book!
A sensitive, well-written story for upper-middle-graders. A girl who feels shame about her learning disability, but pride in her athletic skills as a swimmer, learns to navigate a tricky social world as a young teen. So many kids will relate to this.