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

  • K.A.

    I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of UP FOR AIR, and holy bananas, could I relate to poor Annabelle. From her struggles in school, to feeling on the fringes of everyone else's lives, to her friend-troubles and her first real crush, it was so authentic and real. I couldn't recommend it enough!

  • 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.

  • Afoma Umesi

    Thanks to the publisher for an e-galley! Annabelle is a fantastic swimmer who happens to have learning difficulties. She’s happy to finally be getting something right when she’s moved up to the high school team in the summer. However, things get a bit complicated when an older boy starts showing her attention and her estranged father seems to want to return to her life.

    In UP FOR AIR, Laurie Morrison perfectly captures the issues of competitive female friendships, the desire to be liked and acce

    Thanks to the publisher for an e-galley! Annabelle is a fantastic swimmer who happens to have learning difficulties. She’s happy to finally be getting something right when she’s moved up to the high school team in the summer. However, things get a bit complicated when an older boy starts showing her attention and her estranged father seems to want to return to her life.

    In UP FOR AIR, Laurie Morrison perfectly captures the issues of competitive female friendships, the desire to be liked and accepted by an older crowd, and the search for identity.

    This book is so well written with such a strong, unforgettable voice. I enjoyed the deft way the author tackles all the teenage issues, family struggles, and the way Annabelle works to figure out who she really is. I can’t wait for more people to read this one!

  • 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.

  • Karen McKenna

    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 f

    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

  • Andrea Doyon

    Annabelle is not

    a good swimmer. She's been asked to move from the middle school swim team to the high school team this summer - and she's only entering eighth grade! School is hard for her, but once she dives in the pool, all that is forgotten. Swimming with the older kids has its advantages, like spending time with Connor Madison, but does it mean she has to leave her middle school friends behind?

    is a middle grade novel which encapsulates all the trials and tribulations of bein

    Annabelle is not

    a good swimmer. She's been asked to move from the middle school swim team to the high school team this summer - and she's only entering eighth grade! School is hard for her, but once she dives in the pool, all that is forgotten. Swimming with the older kids has its advantages, like spending time with Connor Madison, but does it mean she has to leave her middle school friends behind?

    is a middle grade novel which encapsulates all the trials and tribulations of being a thirteen year old. Annabelle's inner dialogue is one I remember from myself at that age. Laurie Morrison's writing creates cringe-worthy situations that will make you squirm for Annabelle, and then cheer for her victories. This book belongs in every classroom from sixth grade and up. Students will fall in love with Annabelle.

    Thanks to the author and publisher for giving #litreviewcrew a sneak peek at this book before its publishing date.

  • 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.

  • Steve Tetreault

    Annabelle is not doing well in middle school, no matter how hard she tries. But she is an amazing swimmer, and the high school swim team coach has noticed, inviting Annabelle to join the team. It's just what Annabelle needs to build up her confidence after a rough academic year. Plus, the cutest boy in town is on the high school swim team, and now he's talking to Annabelle!

    But things get confusing for Annabelle as she tries to navigate the new relationships she may be forming,

    Annabelle is not doing well in middle school, no matter how hard she tries. But she is an amazing swimmer, and the high school swim team coach has noticed, inviting Annabelle to join the team. It's just what Annabelle needs to build up her confidence after a rough academic year. Plus, the cutest boy in town is on the high school swim team, and now he's talking to Annabelle!

    But things get confusing for Annabelle as she tries to navigate the new relationships she may be forming, her middle school friendships (which are shifting and changing around her), and the possibility of reuniting with her dad, who left a long time ago.

    My favorite part of this book was that Annabelle gets recognized for her achievements outside of the academic sphere, and gets to build up some of her identity as she realizes that grades are not the only thing that matter in the world. It's a message I wish more of my middle and high school students would take to heart!

    The writing was smooth, and from a teacher's perspective, there are good messages for readers to absorb through Annabelle's journey. There were places that felt a little slow, but the story mostly moved along.

  • 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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