Ms. Yingling's Reviews > Up for Air

Up for Air by Laurie Morrison
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E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

As the last day of school rolls around, Annabelle is stressed because she is doing poorly yet again on a test, and she fears that she will loose her scholarship to the fancy private school she attends. She excels at swimming, and being at the pool helps her handled the other stressors in her life. These includes her mom and step dad, Mitch, who are good about picking her up for rides, supportive of her learning disabilities, and strict about her behavior, but who just don't quite understand her. Her best friend, Mia, is obsessed with school work and does well, but also jealous of Annabelle's more teen-like physique, and her friend Jeremy is going to spend the summer at a geek camp. Annabelle is asked to be on the high school swim team, even though she just finished 7th grade, and she is thrilled to be recognized for her ability, AND because Connor is on the team. Connor flirts with everyone, but Annabelle is still excited that he offers her a ride to practice, gets her phone number, and texts her occasionally. When Annabelle gets a letter from her father, whom she hasn't seen often because of his alcoholism, she starts longing to be with him, since she can't remember much about their interactions. Annabelle starts spending more and more time with the high school students, to the chagrin of Mia and Jeremy, and gets into trouble with them one evening when they try to get into the pool of a local celebrity. The high schoolers bail when she gets hurt, although Jeremy wisely calls his mother to pick them up. Annabelle's thumb is broken, so she can't swim. Mia and Jeremy are angry with her, she's grounded, and her mother is talking about sending her to the local school after a meeting to discuss adjusting Annabelle's academic accommodations. Overwhelmed, Annabelle decides to travel into the city to see her father, seeing him as a safe haven. This doesn't go well, either, and she's finally able to have a conversation with her mother about the things going on in her life.
Strengths: I loved the fact that Annabelle had a crush on Connor, who was just a little older than she was, and that he paid attention to her. I also loved the fact that it didn't work out between the two of him, and that Annabelle was realistically crushed when he had a girlfriend. Crushes and relationships are a much more important part of the middle school experience than one could guess from middle grade literature! The swimming details are good, and it's always good to have books about students in sports. The family drama is also realistic-- Mitch is a good step dad, and Annabelle likes his daughters, but she still has fond memories (as well as bad ones) about her father.
Weaknesses: While I enjoyed this one, it wasn't quite what I was expecting. I thought there would be more swimming details, but the swim team time was taken up more with the drama. The learning difficulty hook was similarly disappointing-- aside from being tutored during the summer and having to meet with the principal about accommodations, this does not get much mention. I was hoping for another book similar to Gerber's Focused, but with swimming! For friend and family drama, this is excellent, but I had set my mind on "swimming" and "learning difficulties".
What I really think: Definitely purchasing. The swimming is great to have, but I'll have to hand sell this to readers who like friend and family drama.
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Reading Progress

February 5, 2018 – Shelved
February 5, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
March 6, 2019 – Started Reading
March 7, 2019 – Finished Reading

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