The Properties of Water
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The Properties of Water

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  64 ratings  ·  16 reviews
When Lace's older sister, Marni, falls victim to a summer swimming accident, itparalyzes Lace in time. For Lace, there is only a before--can there be anafter? But as the summer surges on,she learns that she must return to the water, the very thing that tore her family apart. This beautifully crafted novel explores the boundaries of family and friendship, the greatest grief...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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The Properties of Water. Probably one of the best school-made-me-read-it books I've ever read. :)

So the book is about Lace Martin, who's elder sister Marni had a pretty devastating accident and is put in the hospital in Portland, a long way away from Lace and her father. Lace and her dad are waiting for the day when Marni and her mother will come home because it's been a while. But they cant handle the house by themselves, so they hire a housekeeper, Will Dodge, a unusual woman who is extremely...more
Best book I've read all year! Once again, McKinnon wrote a beautiful and heartbreaking story of family and friends struggling through a life changing experience. Lace lives in her older sister Marni's shadow. Marni is talented, beautiful, popular, and most of all a champion swimmer. The two live on a lake in Maine, and though they are close, Lace feels like second best. Until one tragic summer afternoon when everything changes. Suddenly, in one instant at the beach, she is left questioning who s...more
For Lace, the lake she has grown up living on has been an integral part of her childhood and her life. All of the seasons of the lake, as well as the sounds and smells of it, are the background to her days. When her older sister, Marni, is injured jumping into the lake from a height, Lace is unable to return to her beloved lake or even to the city’s swimming pool. Lace works to continue having some order to her life, but her mother is hours away caring for her sister, her father is grieving hims...more
"Growing up on this lake, Marni used to say it was in our blood."

The Properties of Water by Hannah Roberts McKinnon tells the story of a young girl named Lace, whose older sister Marni is harmed in a swimming accident, changing both of their lives forever. Lace and Marni grew up on a lake, but Lace finds herself paralyzed by the idea of returning to the water. Even more scary than swimming is the idea of visiting Marni and accepting what has happened to her.

There were a few minor but odd thing...more
I quickly became sucked into this story, just as the lake seems to suffuse all of the family and friends involved in this coming of age story. This book felt so honest to me. I expected it to be sad, and it was. But it was not tragic, or depressing, or scary. Instead, it was hopeful and moving. I loved Lace and Marni, the two sisters. They went through so much, and the story flashes back and forth before the accident and after, so you get a solid sense of their deep relationship. I was surprised...more
By the end of the first page, I knew something terrible had happened but that, in spite of the horrible thing, Lace's life had to go on, that she was trying to cope with the thing in the best way she could. There is a big, painful hole in Lace that I could feel and sometimes I wanted to cry. At the same time, there is beauty and life all around her and she isn't blind to it - just not completely prepared to be part of it. I loved Lace's descriptions of being close to her sister - that is how sis...more
This is definitely on my top 5 list of favorite books! It was a short read and I wish it had been longer. I also wish thy had added more details about the actual accident and that we would meet Marnie sooner!
Winner of Amazon's Best Book for November! Really, really great story. This author's writing is so lovely and poetic, it just conjures images of each carefully crafted scene. Her characters are pretty bold and pretty honest- they jump off the page and fully resonate the depth of their humor, sadness, and personal journeys. She tackle a serious issue- TBI- but it is handled gracefully and even with humor, as life marches forward. A great read for all kids, and parents, too.
I thought the cover looked a little haunting, but I loved the rich story inside. This family is really well put together and believable. I think the story was so touching and I had trouble putting it down- it was a quick but deep read. My 13 year old daughter is getting it next- I preview her books first- and I know she will love this. The sisters are adorable, inspiring and made me laugh and cry as I read this story. I recommend it highly.
Great book! This was a new book found at my public libray. Hannah Roberts McKinnon handles the reaction of a sister who has to process a tragedy to her sibling. This story has a wonderful building of suspense. We don't find out what really happened to the older sister till the end. More importantly we go through the process of emotionally dealing with reality with the main character and the people around her. Good read.
ATOS Book Level: 4.3
Interest Level: Middle Grades (MG 4-8)
AR Points: 5.0
Lexile: 670
Word Count: 36803

This is the story of Lacey, and how she struggles to cope after tragedy strikes her older sister Marni. Lacey must come to grips with Marni's condition and letting go of the fear that Marni may blame her for not being there with her when it happened.
This is a really sweet book. It deals with powerful emotions that just wrench your heart but also leaves you with peaceful feeling as the main character, Lace, learns to accept and deal with an unexpected turn in her family's life. A great feel-sad/feel-good story.
Sara D.
This story is very touching. I loved the imagery- you could feel the lake water lapping at your toes. Lace's response to her sister's tragedy was heartfelt and moving. I only wish more YA books were this pure, without the commercial junk. A tender, well written read.
A sweet story from the point of view of the little sister whose older sister has a severe injury. Most of the story focuses on the younger sister, her loneliness, her adjustments and her imaginings, while her mother is away helping in rehab.
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I am an author of children's novels and young adult books: Franny Parker and The Properties of Water, an Amazon Best Book. As a former elementary teacher I connected with children and books in ways that left a meaningful impression on me. This allowed me to follow my dream to become a published author, one that I treasure each and every day!
More about Hannah Roberts McKinnon...
Franny Parker

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