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The Properties of Water

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  84 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
When Lace's older sister, Marni, falls victim to a summer swimming accident, it paralyzes Lace in time. For Lace, there is only a before--can there be an after? 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 gr ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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R.S. Oswald
Aug 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Even more enjoyable now than when I read it a few years ago. An interesting, honest read from the point of view of an accident victim's sister. Good ending.
Age rating: 11+ for very heavy/sad thematic elements.
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane Carrozzo
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book! It deals with the feelings a young girl has after her sister has a terrible accident. It also explores friendships, boy/girl feelings, jealousy, insecurities....I could go on and on because I felt everything about this book was realistic and valid. I also like this book because it incorporated a bit of mystery. First, you don't truly know what happened to the sister until close to the end of the book. Second, there is a character who is mysterious to the protagonist a ...more
Feb 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
"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
Oct 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
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
Jul 29, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Alyssa G. 5
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Properties of Water by Hannah Roberts McKinnion is told from a thirteen year old girl named Lace's point of view. Lace had a sister named Marni, and two loving parents. They live by a lake which is where Lace and Marni basically live. They go there everyday in the summer and are both on a swim team. Things were going just fine until one crazy summer. The accident that takes her mother and sister away for a while..... but no they did not die. Now it's just Lace and her dad but because her dad ...more
Nov 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Courtney Tucker
Oct 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
The properties of Water, by Hannah Roberts McKinnon is a great book for young teens to read because it is easy to connect to the main character. The events in the story are similar to events that a teenager in real life might encounter and endure.For instance, fighting with your parents, siblings and hanging out with your friends. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone because it pulls your heart strings and you get very attached to the characters that you are reading about because the ...more
Nov 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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.
Sara D.
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 13, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Alexa's Life
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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!
You start with a bit of mystery, which leads you into the life of a young girl haunted by a tragic series of events. An excellent read for young girls or those who have had to go through losing people they love.
Kim Sheibley
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
A wonderful novel about a girl coming to grips with her sister's disabling accident.
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Jun 14, 2011
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Apr 02, 2011
Rosanna Lang
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Jun 30, 2011
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Jun 19, 2015
Michelle Acuna
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Mar 03, 2011
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Jun 14, 2011
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Feb 01, 2011
Megan Sickler
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Feb 17, 2014
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I have a new novel coming out, THE LAKE SEASON, on June 2nd 2015, with Emily Bestler/Atria of Simon and Schuster Books. I just completed my next novel, BACK TO YOU AND ME, which will publish in spring of 2016. Previously, I published two young adult books: Franny Parker and The Properties of Water, FSG/MacMillan in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
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