Up for Air Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-05-27 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 5 user ratings

"This is a great book! Loved it from beginning to end, I think because I could relate to Annabelle.
Trying to figure out life during the summer of her 8th grade year Annabelle isn't sure she will make it through the summer. She has been invited to swim with the High School team for the summer season and enjoys being with the older swimmers. When one High School boy begins to flirt with her she thinks it is more than it is (don't we all at this age). She has heard from her father, who she has not seen or heard from in years. When she sneaks off to visit him it doesn't turn out as planned. She also experiences getting left behind by the older swimmers learning who her real friends are.
I think this book would be great for a mother/daughter book club because the moms have been there and the daughters are there now or will be soon.
" said.

"Thank you @kidlitexchange #partner for this excellent middle school title! Up For Air is not quite #middlegrade, not quite #youngadult.

Annabelle is about to be an eighth grader and she has plenty of issues. She needs extra help at school, she is always fed up with her mom, her best friend is acting weird, and she’s got a crush - on a high school boy. Annabelle is also a fantastic swimmer and this summer she is being asked to swim up on the High School team. At first this is awesome because her crush is on that team but almost nothing comes easy to her and this isn’t going to either.

The angst of a middle school student was easy to recollect and to connect too. I definitely have readers that would understand what Annabelle is going through. I would not buy this for my K-6 library but I am DEFINITELY going to buy it for my 7-12, particularly for my 7-8 kids.

This just came out this week from @abramskids You should check it out!
" said.


Up for Air
by Laurie Morrison


Amulet Books

Children’s Fiction , Middle Grade

Pub Date 07 May 2019

I am reviewing a copy of Up For Air through Abrahams Kids and Netgalley:

It doesn’t matter how hard Annabelle tries, she still struggles in school. The second she dives into the pool though she is unstoppable. Annabelle is the fastest swimmer on her middle school swim team over the summer she is asked to join the high school swim team changing everything.

Suddenly Annabelle has new friends and a high school boy starts treating her like she is special. Annabelle thinks she is finally starting to stand out in a good way. She’ll do anything to make sure her new team makes it to the Labor Day invitational including blowing off her old friends.

After a prank goes wrong, Annabelle is abandoned by the older boy and is unable to swim. Who is she without the one thing she’s good at? Heartwarming and relatable, Up for Air is a story about where we find our self-worth.

If you’re looking for a story about what it truly means to fit in I would recommend Up For Air!

Five out of five stars!

Happy Reading

" said.

"Up For Air is a story of first crushes, friendships, heartbreak, family, and self-worth.

Buy here.

I connected with Annabelle in a way that really surprised me because at first glance, we are polar opposites. She struggles in school, I was my class Valedictorian. She is a strong swimmer, I can doggy paddle. However, as the plot developed and I got to dive deeper into the character of Annabelle, I began to find myself nodding my head and saying, “I feel you Annabelle!” I don’t want to reveal too much, but I felt her pain of not thinking she was worth anything. I felt her pain when she thought all of her friends were against her and always thought the worst about people. She had very little confidence, and that is where I connected so strongly with her. This self-doubt can really cause many problems, and Annabelle learned that very quickly.


I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. It was a riveting upper middle grade novel about life and growing up. My sixth graders would really enjoy this book right now because as they are almost 7th graders, some are looking for more mature books that aren’t quite young adult. This book fits that gap wonderfully.

Laurie has a great writing style full of vivid description and inner conflict.


I received this book as an ebook from NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
" said.

"@kidlitexchange #partner
Thank you to the #kidlitexchange network and publisher @abramskids for the review copy of this book. Any opinions are my own.

UP FOR AIR by Laurie Morrison

Annabelle’s ready for summer. She can’t wait to spend time with her friends Mia and Jeremy, riding bikes, eating ice cream, and lounging at the beach. What she’s really excited for though, is summer swim team.

Annabelle struggles in school, and is embarrassed and frustrated by her learning difficulties. She leaves all of that behind when she gets into the pool. Annabelle shines on the swim team, and is soon asked to join the high school team for the summer.

Annabelle navigates her peek into high school the way any 12 year old would. She messes up her friendships, she nurtures a cringe-inducing crush, and makes decisions that show just how not-quite-ready to grow up she is.

You will love Annabelle, for all of her flaws. You will cheer her on, not only in the swimming pool, but in her relationships, too.

This gem of a book releases May 7, 2019. Swipe ➡️ to see the beautiful water detailing on every page. Highly Recommended for all middle school classrooms and libraries.
" said.

"An engaging read about all the Venn diagrams of friendship & family - where we fit, where we don't, and how those perceptions are colored by our own biases. Protagonist Annabelle is pulled in so many directions. She's an island kid at a mostly-resident boarding school. She feels like academically, she's behind everyone else . . . and it does seem from the text that she has some accommodations for learning disabilities, but it's never really clear whether those are actual, or imposed by the rigorous academic setting in which she finds herself. She's a standout swimmer, and it ends up splitting her between her friends and the older/more advanced swimmers she's encouraged to join. Her two closest friends are going separate ways for the summer; Jeremy to an off-island camp, and Mia to hang out with newer, "cooler" friends. Plus she gets a letter from the father she hasn't heard from in years, and it upsets the balance she's achieved with her stepfather, Mitch.

I really liked all the ways Annabelle analyzed her friendships and the interactions of those around her. They were both insightful and occasionally incorrect enough to read as authentic. The conclusions drawn are sometimes very accurate, and sometimes . . . very immature.

Not sure if I'll put this in my library since I'm K-6 and it's definitely a middle school story. There's some minor substance use, handled in an appropriate way, but it may be a little mature for my patrons. If I were a middle school library I would hand this to students in a heartbeat. I think many kids will connect, if not exactly with the demands of swim team and private school, definitely with the overall themes.
" said.

"Adolescence is hard. Seventh grader Annabelle is not a great student. She studies hard, is allowed extra time on tests, and is tutored at lunchtime, but her grades remain C’s. She sees how her friends pity her when tests are given out, and she is afraid of losing her scholarship to the boarding school where she is a day student. But the one place Annabelle does not have to struggle is in the swimming pool where she is the fastest swimmer on the middle grade summer swim team.

When Annabelle is invited to join the high school team, she finally feels like she excels and belongs and is someone special, but her problems are just beginning. When Connor, one of the best looking and most popular high school boys, starts paying her attention, Annabelle reads too much meaning into his texts and flirting. ”She felt powerful. Unstoppable. Extraordinary.” (12) When her father who left years before contacts her, she also reads more into his invitation as she runs away to join him.

In this confusing summer when her friend Mia joins the popular crowd and she pushes away her longtime friend Jeremy in order to hang out with Connor, Annabelle almost loses who she is. “”But it struck her how easy it was to bond with girls, too, by sort of making fun of someone else.… She didn’t like it when she was part of the group that got complained about but here she was doing it, too.” (122) In a prank to impress Connor who, it turns out, has a girlfriend, Annabelle is injured and the summer seems to be a disaster. “No swimming, no Mia, no Jeremy, and now no Connor.” (215)

But Belle finally appreciates how special she is to her mother and her stepfather, and she apologizes to Jeremy and reevaluates her relationship to Mia who is negotiating her own adolescence. And she decides that what she wants is to be strong “Even if that meant doing scary embarrassing things….” (271)

Laurie Morrison’s new novel shares the growing pains of adolescence where some things may be easy but even more are hard—and confusing.
" said.

"I had the opportunity to read a NetGalley digital-ARC of this middle grade novel in exchange for a review. Just in time for summer vacation, this book will resonate with middle school-aged kids who have a hard time figuring out just where they belong in this world.

This Cape Cod island community is just beginning the summer season and Annabelle has finished seventh grade with poor grades and a belief that her academic struggles will be with her forever. But when she dives into the pool, all of her school troubles are left behind, and she becomes the power swimmer that wins competitions and shatters records. Noticed by the coaches of the swim team, Annabelle is invited to swim on the high school team because of her strength and abilities. But with this exciting opportunity comes more drama and temptation as Annabelle starts to run with an older crowd and develops a major crush on Connor, who is two years older than her and very flirtatious. This creates tension with her middle school friends and her parents and leads her to make some unfortunate choices that threaten to ruin her chance to become a star on the high school swim team.

I love the setting of this story. This book lets readers step into this beachy, island community to hang out on sandy dunes with these kids, enjoy eating frozen treats at the Creamery, and experience the thrill of swimming competitions. I also think that middle grade students that enjoy friendship and family dramas will be able to take this one to the pool and feel like they’re spending vacation with a new friend. I like that while the dialogue and situations ring true for this age group, and that Annabelle behaves in ways that get her into trouble with her family, the actions of Connor and the rest of the high school group still stay within the bounds of appropriate content for middle schoolers. I think this book would be appropriate for kids in grades six and up.
" said.

August 2019 New Book:

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