Up for Air

Up for Air

Thirteen-year-old Annabelle struggles in school, no matter how hard she tries. But as soon as she dives into the pool, she’s unstoppable. She’s the fastest girl on the middle school swim team, and when she’s asked to join the high school team over the summer, everything changes. Suddenly, she’s got new friends, and a high school boy starts treating her like she’s somebody...

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Title:Up for Air
Author:Laurie Morrison
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Up for Air Reviews

  • Kathie

    I rarely ask an author for a copy of an ARC, but I really wanted to read Laurie’s upcoming book, UP FOR AIR. I loved EVERY SHINY THING, which she co-wrote with Cordelia Jensen, and I couldn’t wait to read Annabelle’s story because I knew it was about a swimmer, and it was an upper middle grade read.

    What I loved about this book: UP FOR AIR addresses a lot of issues very relatable to middle schoolers. Annabelle struggles at school. She and her best friends, Jeremy and Mia, hit new territory in the

    I rarely ask an author for a copy of an ARC, but I really wanted to read Laurie’s upcoming book, UP FOR AIR. I loved EVERY SHINY THING, which she co-wrote with Cordelia Jensen, and I couldn’t wait to read Annabelle’s story because I knew it was about a swimmer, and it was an upper middle grade read.

    What I loved about this book: UP FOR AIR addresses a lot of issues very relatable to middle schoolers. Annabelle struggles at school. She and her best friends, Jeremy and Mia, hit new territory in their relationship. Her dad reaches out to her years after dropping out of her life. Although Annabelle is going into Gr. 8 in the fall, she’s asked to join the summer high school swim team. There’s a thrill that comes from being with older kids, and especially drawing the attention of an older boy. The story is presented in a way that respects the transitions that Annabelle faces, while remaining middle grade and not YA. It feels mature, but a book I’d be comfortable handing to an 11-14 year old reader. Laurie’s experience as a former middle school teacher, and her understanding of this age group, shines through very clearly for me.

    I would dearly love to see more books that speak to the upper middle grade crowd (SO DONE by Paula Chase is another example that I thoroughly enjoyed this year). I watched my own daughter struggle with the transition from middle grade to young adult lit, and wish there had been more books like this with mature topics, but told with a middle grade voice. I hope you’ll consider UP FOR AIR (released Feb 2019) if you have a reader at this stage.

  • Kate ☀️ Olson

    (free review copy) MIDDLE SCHOOL PERFECTION. Yup, middle school, not middle grade. This one is about an almost-8th-grader and there is a whole lot of content about romantic feelings and inclusion of some alcohol consumption - I won't be buying this for my elementary library but it's a must-purchase for middle schools. This story brought me back to my own swim team days, my earliest crushes on high school lifeguards and all of the trauma that middle school relationships can be. The setting was id

    (free review copy) MIDDLE SCHOOL PERFECTION. Yup, middle school, not middle grade. This one is about an almost-8th-grader and there is a whole lot of content about romantic feelings and inclusion of some alcohol consumption - I won't be buying this for my elementary library but it's a must-purchase for middle schools. This story brought me back to my own swim team days, my earliest crushes on high school lifeguards and all of the trauma that middle school relationships can be. The setting was idyllic but also realistic, the eating disorder representation was spot-on, the blended family storyline was so authentic and the learning disability representation was also perfect. My 13 YO daughter has been trying to steal this from me and I'm so excited to finally hand it to her. This book is amazing and I'm so thankful that the author provided me with a review copy.

  • laurel [suspected bibliophile]

    Annabelle is psyched when she's put on the high school swim team—even though she's 13 and going into eighth grade. It's almost enough to ignore that she's not doing so great in school. And then

    notices her.

    , who's in high school and has beautiful peridot-green eyes.

    who is definitely flirting with her. Or is he?

    I really enjoyed this upper MG/low YA novel about a girl who is gifted in swimming but struggles in school due to a learning disability. Even though Annabelle has ev

    Annabelle is psyched when she's put on the high school swim team—even though she's 13 and going into eighth grade. It's almost enough to ignore that she's not doing so great in school. And then

    notices her.

    , who's in high school and has beautiful peridot-green eyes.

    who is definitely flirting with her. Or is he?

    I really enjoyed this upper MG/low YA novel about a girl who is gifted in swimming but struggles in school due to a learning disability. Even though Annabelle has everything sorted out in the pool, outside of the water she's struggling to adapt, survive and make that awkward transition from kid to adult, which is especially difficult when her body has developed earlier than her peers.

    It perfectly captures the feelings of when an older boy looks at you—really

    at you—and pays attention and is flirty. Annabelle's emotions are so perfectly conveyed, as she feels grown up when Connor is giving her attention and complimenting her swimming ability, and frustrated at the older girls who not-so-subtly try to protect her, since she thinks that they keep emphasizing that she is a kid/child/so young, when she wants to feel grown-up around her crush. And the emotional turmoil and downhill roller coaster ride that comes with the realization that the boy didn't care at all, but was just flirting and toying with your emotions.

    There's a lot of Annabelle becoming independent and kind-of rebelling against her parents, her falling for a boy without understanding the nuances behind his actions, and her realization that friendship isn't a competition or a stacked list of who-is-failing-more or who is smarter.

    Annabelle faces a lot of challenges and suffers from a lot of childhood anxiety and insecurities about...well, everything. Because didn't we all over-analyze

    as early teens and stress over every little interaction, particularly when it came to belonging...or being left out?

    This novel is appropriate for upper-MG readers and those readers ready to move on from MG novels but not quite willing to step into YA. It bridges the gap quite nicely between MG and YA. There is a scene in the novel that has underage drinking (Annabelle does not drink) and there is discussion of an eating disorder and alcoholism, but the topics are presented well, along with the revolving theme of recovery and the complications of divorced parents, step-parents and the concept of family.

    While I wish that the second half of the book focused more on swimming and less on Connor, and that Annabelle got her head out of her ass a little sooner, I'm happy that ultimately she realizes that 1) he's an asshole and 2) being brave means coming back after a mistake.

    You can survive shame and embarrassment.

    It just takes a while to recover.

    I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.

  • Hallie

    Thanks to the @KidLitExchange network for the review copy of this book--all opinions are my own.

    Up for Air is an exceptional book for middle grade readers who are ready to transition to more mature books but aren't quite ready for YA. Like Annabelle, a rising 8th grader who is joining the high school swim team, readers who feel stuck in the in-between of being a little kid and a teen will relate to this book. Laurie Morrison writes a compelling picture of a girl who is trying to find where she

    Thanks to the @KidLitExchange network for the review copy of this book--all opinions are my own.

    Up for Air is an exceptional book for middle grade readers who are ready to transition to more mature books but aren't quite ready for YA. Like Annabelle, a rising 8th grader who is joining the high school swim team, readers who feel stuck in the in-between of being a little kid and a teen will relate to this book. Laurie Morrison writes a compelling picture of a girl who is trying to find where she fits.

    She often feels left out because she's not successful like her mom & step-dad, she doesn't get the best grades, and now she's the only middle schooler on the high school swim team. Her mom and step-dad have never had in trouble in school and her friends all seem to easily make good grades. Annabelle has learning accommodations in her classes, gets more time to take tests, and gets extra help but she still isn't making the best grades. She knows she just learns differently from other kids but sometimes she can't help feeling down about herself. She has to spend the summer with a tutor and hates that she has to work so hard. Throughout the novel, she starts to see herself in a new light though. She knows that while she may learn differently from other kids, she's still smart and capable in her own way.

    Her dad, an alcoholic who has been out of her life for years, has reemerged and wants to make amends for the past. Annabelle also knows that her dad struggled in school too and worries that her mom resents that Annabelle takes after him. Annabelle has to deal with so many of her relationships being in flux. It's confusing to deal with the emotions that come along with her dad wanting to be part of her life again. She loves her step-father and sometimes thinks it would be easier if he was her "real" dad. She also loves her best friends Jeremy and Mia, but finds herself wanting to spend more time with the older kids on the high school swim team. Annabelle has to learn about balance and accepting change.

    This book  addresses an audience that needs more books written for them--young teens! Annabelle feels like a real 8th grader who wants to be grown up but isn't quite ready for all that it entails. Many readers who feel like Annabelle want books that reflect that stage of life and this book gives them the space to explore fitting in with older kids. Annabelle develops a crush on 15 year old boy, Connor, on her swim team and thinks he may like her too. Older readers will immediately recognize that Connor is just a flirt but it will take Annabelle a little longer to come to that conclusion and her naiveté feels genuine.

    Up For Air covers a lot--relationships with parents and step-parents, growing up, first crushes, and learning disabilities but Laurie Morrison puts it all together so well. This is a must buy for all middle school collections and public libraries.

  • Tucker

    This book is totally gonna shatter my heart into a million pieces but I still want it.

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