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Water Balloon

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  453 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Marley’s life is as precarious as an overfull water balloon—one false move and everything will burst. Her best friends are pulling away from her, and her parents, newly separated, have decided she should spend the summer with her dad in his new house, with a job she didn’t ask for and certainly doesn’t want. On the upside is a cute boy who loves dogs as much as Marley does ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Clarion Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  453 ratings  ·  84 reviews

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Kami Kinard
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Audrey Vernick's beautiful use of figurative language is one of the reasons this book shines for me. I also loved the message. Despite the obstacles of evaporating friendships and fracturing family, we can discover that we're doing just fine.
Megan Burback
Aug 05, 2011 rated it liked it
3 Stars:

Everything is changing for 13-year-old Marley Baird. Her parents are separated so she has to be shuttled from one house to the other, her two best friends- Jane and Leah- haven’t been around lately and they haven’t been acting the same. On top of that she has to stay the summer at her father’s house while her mother goes and visits friends. At least she has her beloved dog, Rig, with her and she finds her neighbor, Jack, insanely cute and fun to hang out with.

Water Balloon takes the re
heather - NightlyReading
May 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
As the product of divorced parents, I could really relate to this character. Marley just wants everything to go back to the way it use to be. Unfortunately, her life is changing and she needs to learn to change with it.

I loved the characters in this book. They were down to earth and very believable. My favorite is Rig, the dog. He put a cute spin on the whole story and really seemed to be Marley’s only real best friend.

I really could identify with Marley. Her friends are changing, which we all k
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
This is one of the absolutely BEST books for 5th-8th grade girls I've ever read. It so perfectly captures the transition from girl to teen, and all the confusion and heartache that comes with it. Warning: there is one (I repeat, just one!) curse word, but it fits the main character's emotions. So don't let it keep you from reading!
Paul Acampora
This is a gentle, brave, honest and lovely book that does not rush. I really appreciated that. I can't wait to put this into kids' hands.
Bailey V
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maizie Collins
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing I really like it because it's funny and exiting like when she gets back together with her friends and when she has a water balloon fight. I learned from this story that it's ok to bring out your iner child and have some fun. one charecter I didn't like is the teacher he's mean and strict. This book was very exiting and I think that Addison would really like this book cause I know she likes books that are funny but have a good lesson.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
We are finally hosting Audrey Vernick as an author visit and I’m absolutely delighted. I love the way she took Marley from a kid to a teenager, perfectly capturing those awkward early moments as a child of divorce, and presented a friendship breakup that resonated with me at 35 as I think it would have at 12.
Feb 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
This was honestly one of the most boring books I’ve ever read. Sometimes books are boring at the start or boring at the end or the middle but this book was extremely boring the whole time. The whole book was just flat out boring.
Nov 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Water Balloon by Audrey Vernick Book Review

The book Water Balloon by Audrey Vernick is a realistic fiction story about a girl named Marley Baird and her changed upside down life. Marley is a good person. She had a good life, two loving parents, two best friends, what could go wrong? Marley’s life changed so fast she did’nt even have a second to breathe. Her parents separated and her friends hated her, how could good change to bad so fast?

Marley Baird was living her perfect life thinking only hap
Amy Vickers
Mar 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this for my 2017 reading challenge category: "author that has your initials." This category was surprisingly difficult to fulfill. It was easier finding an author that has the exact same last name as me than it was to find one with my initials. I'm so glad that I found Audrey Vernick's book in my library because I did not want to read my back-up pick.

If I had read this when I was 13, I would have loved it. I'm far off from 13 now, so I found the characters a little flat (not cardboard, bu
Aug 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens, fiction, library, ya
3.5 stars
Thirteen-year Marley doesn’t like the fact that her life is changing. Her parents have separated and her two best friends are branching out into the world without her. It’s the summer of all these changes and she is living with her father alone for the first time and things aren’t going as she had planned. Lazy afternoons, hanging out with Jane and Leah playing Monopoly waiting for next unexpected balloon blitz have now evolved into babysitting twin five-year olds while her best friends
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
While I think Marley's struggles are realistic--and things readers can relate to--I also think it's lacking in character development, development of the setting, and realistic language. Of course Marley is going to be on an emotional roller coaster; any 13-year-old would be, even without all the stuff going on in her life. But she also felt bratty and immature (okay, okay, realistic, but the book didn't quite show the progression that would make me really care about this book). There was absolut ...more
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
In the book “Water Balloon” by Audrey Vernick, a girl named Marley has just had a shocking turn on her life. A few months ago Marley’s parents decided to split apart due to them not getting along as well as they used to. Over the summer Marley is forced to go stay with her dad in a brand new house, a brand new location, and a brand new life. While she is there her dad gets her a job to baby sit for a family every day of the week. Due to the extra curricular activities that her best friends due w ...more
Sydney Wirebaugh
Dec 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Report by Sydney Wirebaugh
I thought this book was okay. It didn’t really talk about anything but love and divorce. The main character, Marley, goes to live with her dad. At the beginning she thinks it is going to be a terrible summer. At the end her thoughts have changed a little but not enough to make it a wonderful summer.
My favorite character is Jack. He has an attitude of happy go lucky. He just goes with the flow. He really doesn’t care if it rains all day. He isn’t going to waste it. Th
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Water Balloon, By: Audrey Vernick, Is a perfect book for realistic fiction lovers! Marley Baird is a 13 year old teenage girl, living with divorced parents. She is forced to spend all summer at her dad's house. She would hate it, or at least that's what she thought. From meeting her new neighbor Jack, who was a total Yankees fan, to the job she was given unexpectedly: Babysitting crazy twins, Marley is a stotal paz [you'd have to read the book to understand that].
But, Marley finds herself stuc
Mar 17, 2014 rated it liked it
How would you feel if your parents split up, your friends wouldn't talk to you anymore, and you have to babysit ornery twin girls? In "Water Balloon" by Audrey Vernick, Marley is going through all these things throughout the summer. As everything is falling apart, she meets a boy that lives in her neighborhood. Marley talks to him a lot and it seems like he actually could start to turn her summer around. Lauren Myracle, New York Times bestselling-author of ttyl and ttfn writes "One of those rare ...more
Jun 17, 2012 added it
Shelves: dcf-2012-2013
My second DCF book of the year. Marley is spending part of her summer at her dad's. This is a true coming of age story for a girl who is longing for the simplicity of youth when her girlfriends are maturing faster than she is. A surprise water balloon blitz at her friend Jane's home turns disastrous when she realizes bravery and foolishness are close partners in crime. She befriends a boy Jack, who loves her dog Gehrig and the Yankees. I fear this friendship, too, might end badly because Marley ...more
This book, selected for VT's 2012-13 DCF list, was a bore. That said, I will recommend it to some of my readers who need something that is mostly light and breezy in the face of divorce, change, first crushes, and friendships falling apart. The biggest weakness of this book is that Audrey Vernick, the author, doesn't seem to know what kind of book this is - is it a middle grade novel or a young-adult novel? While the cover and the story suggest a solid middle grade novel, her main character, Mar ...more
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Perfect for fans of Wendy Mass. This is a story about a young girl making the painful realization that her life is changing, whether she likes it or not. Her parents are divorcing, and it may be time for her to move on from her old friends as well. Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes, as a singer once said, and true it is. Marley is finding change painful and frightening, and she is spending her summer fighting against it every step of the way. This is a good book for girls who may be going ...more
Airelynn Trask
Sep 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: hate-shelf
I hated this book.

I cannot word it any other way. I hated this book. From the time I first read it in the seventh grade, I hated it. Marley was awful. I despised her with every fiber of my being. She was a spoiled rotten princess who couldn't comply with life when it didn't go her way. She hated everyone. She was mad at everyone. She showed such little tolerance for the smallest of issues. Is this how we are educating our children to deal with life's problems? It most certainly should not be. Cl
Fabulous. Being 13 is never easy. And neither is growing up, especially when the things you still love become uncool to your friends. Marley is already having a tough summer - her parents are separated, she's staying with her dad, he found her a summer-long babysitting job, and her friends are busy with camp. But when Marley tries to bring back an old summer tradition with her two best friends, it is a major flop. Of the kind where the reader is yelling, "No! Stop! Don't do that! Oh no!" Yes. Th ...more
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was a fantastic one honestly! I liked how Marley handled everything so well. This story was about growing up and seeing how things change over time.
Marley's parents aren't doing so well as well as her grandma which has Marley worried.
Marley and her friends used to do the most wackiest stuff but now her two best friends seem to be moving on without her. To Marley it seems like they're growing up to fast. One wrong move and everything seems to be crashing down. And then there's the guy
Bridget R. Wilson
Marley's summer isn't looking too good. Stuck with her dad while her mom goes on a road trip, Marley finds herself with no computer, absentee best friends, and a babysitting job she didn't know about and definitely doesn't want. The one bright spot in her summer is Jack, the boy next door.

What I thought: This is such an accurate portrayal of (young) teen life. The things Marley is going through (losing her childhood best friends and dealing with her parent's separation and possible divorce) are
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
It’s a girly book, yes, but the cover frankly is AWFUL. This book is actually enjoyable – the tween girl (I think she’s going into 9th grade) tells the story of her summer visiting her newly divorced father, babysitting HORRIBLE twin 5-year-olds, developing a crush, and drifting further and further away from her childhood best friends. It’s a summer story of growing up, letting go, being ok with change… it’s funny and sweet and cute and enjoyable and the cover looks like it’s a 9-year-old skippi ...more
Brandi Rae Fong
Good fiction for the younger middle school set. Marley is forced to spend the summer babysitting while living with her recently divorced dad. She feels her two best friends are moving on without here and in an attempt to reunite them, decides to carry out one of their old summer traditions (a water balloon ambush). Her timing could not be worse though, and ends up pushing them even further apart.
Very realistic view of that awkward time between 7th & 8th grade. Marley learns how to stand up
Bianka Stewart
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book! This book was about a girl who just went through her parents divorce, and is gettting used to living with her dad for the summer. Her dad just got her a new job babysitting for two twins who are super bratty! She meets a boy who lives next door named Jack, and starts to spend time with him. After a horrible mistake, she finds out who her real friends are and who isn't. With her dog on her side, she can get through anything. After she spends more time with new people, sh ...more
Oct 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I liked the plot of this story very much. How Marley interacts with her dad, and dog. Her dad and her have a complicated relationship where there isnt anything wrong but things just also dont seem right. Like they can't relate to eachother so it hard for them to communicate comfortably. I did find though, that I personally wasn't making any connections. I got sort of bored with the book... I dont think the book lived up to my expectation that I had built from the summaries and reviews. Overall t ...more
Kim Burean
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Water Balloon was a really good book about a 13-year-old girl who is going through a lot of transitions. Marley is living with her recently-separated dad for the summer. Her best friends have seemed to have moved on without her and she is left feeling lonely and afraid about the upcoming school year. She has to re-think her life and her relationships and figure out where she fits into it all. Meanwhile, she meets a boy, Jack, and experiences her first hint of romance.

This is a great book for mid
Neenah Dorn
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. The reason i really loved this book because I loved the plot and the characters in this book and I can really relate to the main character Marley. What the book is about is a teenage girl named Marley that has to deal with the fact of living with her dad all summer. She loves her dad and all but her dad isn't nothing like her mom. She also has to deal with 2 twins to babysit all summer long. I definatly reccomend this book for girls.
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Audrey Vernick is the author of books for young readers.

Forthcoming titles:

Max Patkin picture book biography illustrated by Jenn Bower

DEAR SUBSTITUTE TEACHER, written with Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Chris Raschka

TAKE YOUR OCTOPUS TO SCHOOL DAY, illustrated by Diana Schoenbrun