Orca Book Publishers

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Fiction Ages 12+
Pages: 240
Themes: Sailing, brain damage, rebellion
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 01/Oct/2008
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A sailing trip to the Caribbean might sound great, but sixteen-year-old Rachel can't stand being trapped on a small boat with her family. She misses her best friend and feels guilty about leaving her older sister Emma, who lives in a group home. Her father is driving her crazy with his schedules and rules, her brother is miserable, and there is never anyone her own age around. Worst of all, there is nowhere to go when her parents fight. While their boat is being repaired, the family spends a few weeks in a small Bahamian community, where Rachel and Tim discover a secret which turns their world upside down and threatens to destroy the fragile ties that hold their family together.

CM Magazine
"It is well-written, well-paced, easy to read and conveys the message that there is no such thing as a perfect parent... Stevenson's conversational style is a great hook and her mastery of teen dialogue and teen angst is engaging. Highly recommended."
"The author does a fantastic job of making each character relatable to teens...The book flows very smoothly, making it an easy read for teens."
"The feelings of the teenagers are conveyed with understanding and skill by Stevenson."
The Financial Post
"Robin Stevenson writes engagingly for teens...and explores deep issues."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"[Stevenson] eschews cliche in her keen and credible exploration of family dynamics... Readers looking for a family drama with adroit characterization, serious issues, and a little risky romance on the side should sign up for this voyage."
Resource Links
"The characters are well drawn, the ending is realistic and believable, and the plot is reasonably paced. This is a readable, interesting book that would appeal to a teen reader."
"The writing's emotional honesty and realistic dialogue will appeal to many teens."
Tucson Unified School District
"Highly recommended."
The Indextrious Reader blog
"A nice family to read about—complex without stereotypes, a family you are pulling for...The storyline develops the topics of autonomy, responsibility, sexual mores, and basic angst. It's well-done and brings up the idea of tolerance of shades of grey in life."
"A page-turning plot...Interesting characters and a creative setting."
Tri State Young Adult Book Review Committee
"This realistically gritty story is full of raw emotion...Teenage girls...will enjoy this first-person coming -of-age story."
School Library Journal
"Rachel comes across as a real teen with whom readers will identify. Using the small boat as a setting highlights the cramped, suffocating feeling many young people have when spending a lot of time with parents and siblings. The book has no easy answers...giving the novel a refreshing realism."
Canadian Literature
"Stevenson treats the family dynamic deftly and contextualizes it with her evocative representation of sailing. In her hands, the acts of learning to sail and learning to understand become graceful illuminations of the other."


BC Book Prize - Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize nominee  | 2009 | Short-listed
CCBC Best Books  | 2010 | Commended
Governor General's Literary Award - Children's Text nominee  | 2009 | Short-listed
Resource Links "The Year's Best"  | 2008 | Commended