Susan's Reviews > Overboard

Overboard by Elizabeth Fama
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Nov 07, 07

bookshelves: juvenile
Read in November, 2007

Good enough that I book-talked it within a week to my 5-8 (5th-8th grade) club within a week after I read it. The subject is rather unusual. An American girl, Emily, and her doctor parents live in Sumatra. Her parents are always working and she has been enlisted, like it or not, as a sort of assistant at the medical facility, and has been forced to grow up somewhat fast because of this. Her parents really treat her more like an orderly than a daughter. After an especially bad day when a patient dies and she feels to blame, Emily decides to run away to go visit her easy-going uncle and get a break from everything. While she's on the ferry however, there's a terrible accident. The ferry capsizes and in the chaos and panic, Emily ends up without a life vest. A good portion of the book is her trying to survive in open water, with no sight of land or sign of rescuers, trying to stay alive and trying to help another young survivor she encounters. I think you can't help but feel an ambivalence with the main character in the beginning, but she is very compelling, and surprisingly (considering the fact that she's just marooned out there)the book really is a page-turner. The biggest clincher for tweens though, may be the fact that the author was inspired by a true story where a young woman survived in the water for 16 hours after a similar accident---at least this is what really did it for my group.
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