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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  155 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Marty’s small town in Alaska is the most beautiful place in the world. There she and her beloved boyfriend, Steven, can walk through fields of fireweed, explore the wild, and tie pink floozy fishing lures to catch the salmon that swim upstream. But when she starts her senior year, Marty must return to school by herself. Without Steven. Something happened during the summer...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 2nd 2009 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published 2005)
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Hannah Fabry
"Upstream" was a very well written book, and it was hard to put down. I really enjoyed the Alaskan setting description! The setting of the book reminded me of my family that lives in Alaska. The main character, Marty, and her sister have a very strong relationship. I relate to the main character and her sister's relationship with my brother and myself. I really enjoyed that the book stayed more of a personal story rather than a drama. "Upstream" is about a highschool girl's boyfriend that dies d...more
Melissa Lion’s Upstream is deceptively simple. Yes, it’s an easy read, but beneath the smooth prose is a deep story of sorrow and survival. Marty is grieving the death of her boyfriend Steven, and trying to protect the painful secret surrounding his death.

Even though the main character is coping with the death of a loved one, Upstream is not an entirely gloomy tale. The reader gets to watch Marty heal in various ways. Throughout the story, Marty’s relationships with her mother, sisters, father,...more
Maria Devito
This book shows the way of a young struggling teenager in Alaska. First off I didn't like how short the book was I thought that maybe if it was longer they could fit in a lot more about Martha's past and life.
What I liked about the book is that Martha is just a normal teenager with a middle class family that just wants to move on from a tragedy that happened to her. when Martha's boyfriend died she was the only one with him and as expected she is investigated for the possibility that it might h...more
Mercedes Tellez
This book takes place up in Alaska! This high school girl named Marty is like any normal girl. Her family is made up of two other girl siblings and a mother that works for a women's road construction union thing. Her father is in the Coast Guard but is never really around for the girls' life. She goes to school & has crushes. One of her crushes, Steven, she eventually falls in love with. Steven would be described as the son every father wanted. He can hunt, fish, fix cars etc. He in return...more
Sarah H.
Upstream is quite a good book. The main character is this small town Alaskan girl named Marty. She is going to start her senior year of high school by herself without her boyfriend. Know one knows exactly what happened to him. Only Marty knows what actually happened. She was the only one that was there that saw him die. She wants to leave her beautiful Alaskan town to leave everything behind. Just to forget everything that happened that awful day. You want to keep on reading to find out what act...more
Jun 02, 2008 Lily rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone!
I really enjoyed this book a lot because it had so many metaphors and deeper meanings. I think that this book was also extremely well written. I highly recommend the author, Melissa Lion, I believe that her writing style is extremely unique and fun to read. One of my favorite things about this book is the metaphor made my comparing a whale to the concept of moving on and forgiving. It is actually an interesting concept because the main character, Marty, met her boyfriend because of a whale that...more
Jose E. Santiago
Really sad book that would help the reader see things different. The main character, Marty, lost her boyfriend. No one knows why, at the beginning but as you read to through the novel Marty reveals things you don't expect to find out and that would answer your question on why Steven, Marty's boyfriend, died. However, she doesn't listen to what people say and continues with her normal life. She meets new people, people that know how she feels, but at the end of the day she ends up recovering from...more
Jennifer J. Lopez
Great book, picked it up and finished it the same day. A simple yet so heart wrenching story. Martha's heart yearns for closure and does not get it until she accepts his death. But overall great book, has such a calm effect and overall essence.
Sommer Ann McCullough
Apr 18, 2009 Sommer Ann McCullough rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Looking for nature, life, relationships
I loved the messages in this book. It's one of those novels that even after you've turned the last page and returned it to the library, the haunting storyline will pop up in your mind months later. The achingly true voice of the heroine attaches to your soul, and you feel her struggles within you. You can tell that she is real, that her problems are hard to deal with, that she had many more issues that just life to deal with. Incorprating many sub-plots including a boyfriend who died, a new woma...more
Katie Herring
I've read this before and I knew it was sad but I didn't really remember exactly what happened. It all started coming back to me as I read it again though.

I was also fighting back tears the entire time. They poured out eventually, sad books will do that to you.

I found it to be much more emotional for me this this time around, mostly because I know Katherine's right when she says, "Someone always has to leave."

I know who it would be and I don't want that to happen. Hence the tears.
Breanna P.
this book was about a girl who's boyfriend died and and nobody knows exactly what happend to him accept marty! S he wont tell anyone she lives in a nice small town and wants to leave to leave her child hood and good memories behind because it all reminds her of him.

I would recommend this book to anyone who would like a mystery and wonder what is going to happen then find out at the end. The best thing is about this book is that there is no clues or hints on what will happen at the end of the b...more
Megan M.
Mar 24, 2008 Megan M. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who want to have a good cry
This was a really good book. It takes a few hours to read and it is a good cry.
It takes place in the beautiful setting of Alaska. It's about this girl's boyfriend who dies and she keeps having memories of them together. You don't know how he dies exactly, but it reveals it throughout the book. She is depressed during the whole thing, but with her two other sisters there, her mom, and a really good friend from California, she gets through the horror of her life.
Kate Lacy
Lion is an energetic writer---she does not wait for us to rephrase her thoughts. First person, we are well within the character of Marty and lost in her sorrows. This is not a book for the impatient, nor for teens younger than 13-14.
The ending, well, you judge. Neither happy nor complete, the ending is what it is. Reality and years of lives move ever forward. Do not miss this book if you love YA stories.
This was great in the beginning and then it just went mediocre.I felt obligated to finish the book because I had to know if the main character made it through. I definitely felt a connection with the family and somehow you find yourself hoping and cheering them on. I definitely don't recommend this as a must read but it's a simple no brainer book.
I'm not quite sure how I came to pick this one up; it took me a little while to get into the rhythm of the book, but once I did I couldn't put it down until I'd finished it. I appreciated that the story never turned into a big drama, and stayed a smaller, personal story. The ending was well-played, and the sense of setting was impressive.
I checked this out because the cover photo was pretty. Otherwise, it's worth reading solely for the relationship between the sisters (I think I could count on one hand the number of good sisterly relationships I've read) and you know, small town, quirky Alaska is always fun, but the rest of it was kind of blah.
This book was thought-provoking, and filled with an underlying tension. You want to know the whole story, but you don't want to know the whole story. A wonderful book that shows how strong young adults can be and explores the importance of family and friends.

I really did like this book.
Stephanie Jackson
Started reading this back in 2005 when it came out - the public library used to send out snippets of new books. It's kind of haunted me. So I decided to read it and it was really good. The images are lush and now I want to go to Alaska. Pretty gripping story...
MaryAnn Harlan
I was wishing I had a blog entry on this to reference but I don't. I preferred Swollen but truthfully I was surprised when I learned they were written by the same author. I think Upstream handles grief very well. For a slim book it packed a punch.
This is a quiet little book abotu grief. I hand sell this book often adn my more advanced teen readers have liked it. Cool female relationships, strong women, beutiful descriptions of alaska.
I liked the Alaskan descriptions and can understand the beauty in a location but the story was a little flat. Not enough detail or concern about the character to really hold my interest.
i seriously hated this book, i was bored the whole time. it had no plot what so ever. i felt i needed to finish it because i thought it would get better or something. it obviouly didnt!
Crystle Dela Cruz
The beginning and middle of the book were great and they kept building up to a high point, but the end was very disappointing and anticlimactic. It wasn't exciting at all.
I felt like this was mostly just a depressing book, with a depressing main character, with a depressing problem. The ending didn't really sum up anything either.
i wanted to know what had happened to marty from page one and was held by the tale the whole time. it is romantic, feisty and full of hope that life does go on. lovely.
Jul 23, 2008 Zoe rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: alaskans, grief counselors, sisters
Recommended to Zoe by: melissa lion
A lovely, haunting book with interesting characters, complex relationships, and moments of quiet, subtle beauty. I feel lucky to know the woman who wrote it.
Jul 10, 2012 Vicki added it
Shelves: teen
Martha beginning her senior year in a small town, Alaska is both self-conscious of the notoriety brought by her boyfriend's Stephens death
Not very good, the book was all laid out for the reader already and there was no need to imagine or predict upcoming events.
Isabela Oliveira
Beautiful. The story was so emotionally written that I cried - or nearly cried - through most of it.
Christina Borgoyn
I loved the language in this book and how it was used to engage the reader.
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Melissa Lion is a novelist and book critic. Her two novels, Swollen and Upstream were published by Random House. Her third novel is expected out next year. Her work has appeared in Santa Monica Review, Other Voices and an anthology titled, The Crucifix is Down. Upstream was recently optioned for a motion picture.

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“The sky is black, so rich and thick it looks warm. It feels as if I can see for miles into that blackness, the stars glimmering white, and as my eyes adjust, there are millions of stars. Billions. And it is time to move on. I have no choice.” 0 likes
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