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3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,420 ratings  ·  162 reviews
Ivy doesn't want to be a lawyer. Who cares?-well, her father, for starters, who expects his daughter to take up the Breedlove family profession with dedication and enthusiasm. What Ivy wants to be is a historian, a vocation that's getting quite a workout as she prepares a family history in honor of her beloved great-aunt Tib's eightieth birthday. As in Bauer's Rules of the ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 2nd 2005 by Speak (first published May 24th 1999)
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Sarah Jane yes. I read it in 6th grade. The romance in it is extremely light boyfriend/girlfriend type stuff and not even a large part of the book

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3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,420 ratings  ·  162 reviews

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Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful book about a young woman trying to carve out a place for herself in an enduring family. Ivy loves history and has researched her ancestors, all of them characters who could have books written about them. Her aunt Jo is a highly introverted woman who forsook her family for peace in the mountains. There are so many great female characters in here. Ivy is flawed and believable and bookish. This is a story about embracing your family's past whilst remaining true to yourself and y ...more
Nicole Norton
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult-lit
I enjoyed this book; yes, yes, I did. I enjoyed reading about a character who wanted to be a historian and who felt connected to her ancestors because my family and religion is very into genealogy and learning about your ancestors. Also, this book has wilderness adventure in it for all of you explorers out there because the main character sets off (with a guide) into the frozen wilderness to find her long-lost aunt that no one has heard from in years.

Language: 0
Violence: 0
Sexual References: 0
Feb 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
A gem of a book, short but meaningful. Goes in deep about family stuff and acceptance. Reccomended to teen girls, because it's not just some hotshot book about cheerleaders and true love.
Rebecca McNutt
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Backwater was a lot more interesting and gripping than I expected. The story of a girl with a pre-assigned dream of "lawyer" from her parents, this book is really great.
Jun 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
I don't know, I can't say it was that good of a book, I just really, really liked it.
Stephanie A.
Growing up in a family of lawyers like this, especially without your mom, sounds abjectly awful. Fortunately, this book is an antidote to that, incredibly soothing and peaceful, featuring my bookish hero: a girl obsessed with researching and recording her family's history.

I am also enchanted by this concept -- in my case, in no small part because just about the entirety of my dad's side only exists in photographs taken before I was born unless you start branching into great-aunts and second cou
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Backwater is a middle-grade book with strong messages of being true to yourself, true to your family, accepting that not all personalities are the same, and never underestimating the strength you have even as a young person.

Ivy Breedlove loves history and is determined to document her family history. This is a challenge since her Aunt Josephine hasn't been in touch with the family for years. Ivy knows that Josephine's story is a key component to her family history and goes to great lengths to tr
Mar 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: girls grade 8 and up
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
What I loved about this book is that I felt such a unique calmness while reading it. The story is about a high school student that is struggling to learn the true history of her family, particularly that of her dead mother and estranged aunt. She sets out on a quest to find her aunt and learns a lot about herself.

The story is interesting, the main character is extremely likable and well developed, and the story leaves you feeling good. I would describe the book as very "soothing."

My only compla
Mar 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Great book. I felt so similar to the main character in many of the quirks. Loved her fight to do family history.
Poppy C
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it
In the novel Backwater, by Joan Bauert The story tells of a teen girl named Ivy, who has always felt like the oddball in her home full of lawyers, as she has a yearning for history that she can’t explain. Soon, she learns of another oddball family member who ran away from home. Joan then goes on a crazy mountain climbing adventure to meet her long lost aunt, who’s quite different than the rest of her family…

Reading this book, I had mixed emotions. Because it’s not my style of reading, I didn’t e
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'll admit, I went into this book thinking, " kind of sounds a bit boring. I mean, it's about lawyers and an amateur historian...." The only reason I read it, is because my daughter is doing a reading competition, this is one of the books she has to read, and I have to submit questions for the competition myself. I'm happy to say the book far exceeded my expectations. Not only was this book intriguing right from the get go, it was humorous, thoughtful, adventurous, and kept me curious ...more
Katie Chase
A thoughtful contemplation of family disguised in a brisk, humorous tale of a larger-than-life family of lawyers and the teenager who doesn’t meet their expectations.

16-year-old Ivy Breedlove is a historian who yearns for the space and peace to commune with the past, but her noisy family lives for arguing. Then she gets the opportunity to hike into the Adirondack Mountains in winter to search for the only other Breedlove who can understand her love of quiet—an aunt who has voluntarily exiled he
Melanie Dulaney
Joan Bauer is so successful writing books that touch the hearts of readers, providing characters facing situations common to most, and generally offering encouragement to those dealing with similar things. In Backwater, Ivy has an overbearing family with very clear expectations for her future, but becoming a lawyer is a long way from the historian she yearns to be. Ivy tends to hang back and simply hope that conflicts both large and small will resolve themselves. But as she attempts to fulfill A ...more
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was a quick read, especially after some of the ARCs that I have been reading/unable to finish. It expressed deep thoughts but I didn't feel like they were truly explored in depth. The writing was a bit confusing at times. Example: Ivy was talking to her aunt and the next page she was talking to her dad (who wasn't there) because it was a flash back. I was sitting there flipping the pages back and forth rereading to see what I had missed. Overall, I liked it but I preferred "Hope Was Here" and ...more
Maggie Menkus
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of Joan's earlier books, and I can see that she already displays the talent to develop compelling protagonists that reveal courage of conviction. This young girl, Ivy Breedlove, is born into a family of fierce lawyers and she wants to be a historian - her father fights her every step of the way. In hopes of finding answers to this conflict, Ivy journeys into the hills to seek out her aunt who became a hermit early in life. And she does find answers but not in the way you would imagin ...more
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I especially loved how it was a different topic that I would have never expected to be a GOOD book but, it was very well written! 👍 I also loved Ivy and Jack and Mountain Mama. The ending was great and I loved how the author wrote the people and their personality’s! It was great!
Mishelle Kehoe
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: engl-420
Ivy feels a lot of pressure from her family to become a lawyer but she has no desire to do so. In an effort to compile family history, she goes to find her aunt jo. Aunt Jo is a little crazy and loves birds. After a big storm, Aunt Jo almost dies and Ivy has to overcome many fears in order to save her. This book was okay, but not super interesting. It had some quotes that I liked.
Dee Schwinn
Oct 24, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an interesting read. It seemed more like a novella. I wanted more. It made some good points about families and individuals who are forced into molds they don't like. The setting was well described...especially at the cabin.
Myra Benedict
Mar 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: realist-fiction
Ivy a girl who is searching for a life full of freedom and searching for a family mystery that needs to be solve nice book fun to read but in some of the chapters i lose interest over all it was worth reading .
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It was so good. I finished it so fast, I wish there was a sequel!
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so good, and also inspired me to get some bird feeders!
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's been my favorite book since I read it but only because I love the main character and the plot and it's just generally good in my opinion. A solid read.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: survival, heroine, ya, family
Didn't like this one as much as her other books.
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1st-quarter-log
This book is okay, but the characters are interesting. She also wrote the book Rules of the Road, which is pretty good too.
Max Maxwell
Feb 08, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody... don't read crap like this
Recommended to Max by: It was part of my Young Adult Lit course
This was average. Basic young adult lit chick drama. Very, very annoying cover. Either that photoshopped chickadee is the size of a bumblebee, or the girl's head is 17 inches wide. Your call.

[From my teacher notes:]

The key conflicts work on two levels, literally and symbolically. Literally, there are conflicts between Ivy and her family and Jo and her family. But these conflicts represent philosophical conflicts. For example, Ivy’s conflict with Fiona, described in detail in the start of the boo
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was a little slow, but still interesting. The theme is very prominent. The main character is very secretive to her family which constantly causes us as readers to want her to succeed. She goes on a journey to find someone who is like her, so she has the confidence to realize her passion and share it with others.
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great adventure read. Exciting and personal. Intertwined with humor and family. Worth the read!
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teen readers (but adults would enjoy it, too).
I just reread this book, and I felt it only fair to rewrite my review because what I learn changes every time I read a book. So prepare yourself for a long review: *Takes deep breath*

Um... wow. Do I use that expression enough? Joan Bauer is a genius and nothing less. Her writing is witty, beautiful, and full of the main character's voice. I love the way it's so simple, and yet it's what the story calls for. Sure, she uses a lot of short sentences, but it makes the story crisp clear and potent. T
May 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Despite the fact that I was worried about the "voice" in the first paragraph, it grew on me and was a wonderful book.

Probably for ages 13+. Not anything too mature in it, but just because I don't think the interest would be there.

Absolutely wonderful story, great characters and well-written. A girl in a family of lawyers is obsessed with family history (and history in general), and has to show herself and that family that it's okay to be different.

This little book (185 pages) was abso
Stephanie Kenner
Dec 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Family History/Misfits

Ivy Breedlove comes from a family of lawyers who expect her to follow in the family footsteps. The problem is, Ivy isn't interested in becoming a lawyer. She loves her family, but has always felt like she doesn't quite fit in. She is, however, interested in family history and has been attempting to compile the history of her family into a book, but it can't be completed without her Aunt Josephine's story. Jo didn't quite fit into the family either and left many years earlie
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July 12, 1951 - I was born at eleven A.M., a most reasonable time, my mother often said, and when the nurse put me in my mother's arms for the first time I had both a nasty case of the hiccups and no discernible forehead (it's since grown in). I've always believed in comic entrances.

As I grew up in River Forest, Illinois, in the 1950's, I seem to remember a
“If you worry about every little thing you're going to have one thoroughly miserable life.” 13 likes
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