Head above Water

( 8 )

Overview

Skye, a high school junior, tries to find the time for both family obligations and personal interests, which include caring for her brother who has Down's Syndrome, dating her first boyfriend, and swimming competitively.

Skye, a high school junior, tries to find the time for both family obligations and personal interests, which include caring for her brother who has Down's Syndrome, dating her first boyfriend, and swimming ...

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Head Above Water

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Overview

Skye, a high school junior, tries to find the time for both family obligations and personal interests, which include caring for her brother who has Down's Syndrome, dating her first boyfriend, and swimming competitively.

Skye, a high school junior, tries to find the time for both family obligations and personal interests, which include caring for her brother who has Down's Syndrome, dating her first boyfriend, and swimming competitively.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, November 1999: Skye, a high school junior, is trying to juggle school, swim team, and the responsibility of looking out for her older brother, Sunny, who has Down's Syndrome, while their single-parent mother works two jobs to support them. Skye has been working hard to qualify for the state swim championships, hoping for a scholarship to college. When Mike, a handsome, popular senior, asks her out, she is thrilled, but it's hard to make room in her busy schedule for dating. Skye is torn between her family and swim team obligations and her desire for more free time. Meanwhile, Sunny is eager to swim too, but although Skye's mother pays her to teach him, Skye instead enrolls Sunny in a group class to make time to see Mike. This subterfuge eventually backfires, of course, and dating Mike turns out to be less than idyllic. Mike pressures Skye to have sex—trying by force, at one point, until Skye knees him and runs off. This incident scares her badly, and the rumors Mike starts about her afterward hurt her. Events come to a head at the prom, when Sky strikes back (literally), and though as a result Skye can't make her big swim meet, she does manage to be there to cheer Sunny on in the Special Olympics. This is an involving and often suspenseful read. Skye is doing her best to keep afloat, trying to balance her desires and her obligations, and readers will empathize with her conflicts. Her tumultuous relationship with Sunny, a mixture of love, irritation, pride and guilt, is believably depicted, and so are her reactions to Mike. The swimming scenes are also realistically described; the author is a high school swim coach and English teacher,and she conveys well the hard work and excitement of the sport. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003 (orig. 1999), Peachtree, 262p.,
— Paula Rohrlick
Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Skye, a high school junior from a single-parent home, is largely responsible for the care of her older brother Sunny, who has Down's syndrome. She strives to maintain a straight-A average in her schoolwork and is determined to qualify for "States," the statewide swim competition. When the school's football star, Mike Banner, deems her worthy to date, Skye's already complex world becomes almost overwhelming. Responding to pressure from him to spend more time together, she ditches her brother and uses her newfound freedom to meet with her boyfriend. Predictably, he pressures her into sex and finally forces himself on her. She narrowly escapes, but the angry boyfriend continues to badger her and the confrontation between the two ultimately costs her the opportunity to go to States. In the end, Skye begins to mature and to think for herself. Unfortunately, the conclusion is a little too neat. Although the protagonist faces myriad problems, they are all resolved happily. Still, this is a realistic portrayal of dating and of a teenager with Down's syndrome.-Joanne K. Cecere, Highland High School, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561452385
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 12 - 16 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Splash of a read

    This is a story about a swimmer, a daughter, a sister and a friend--but most of all it is a journey of Skye accepting and learning who she is.
    I connected with aSkye, and even if I haven't been in some of her unique roles as a caretaker to her brother with Down's, and I've never had any experience with competitive swimming, her struggle to find her place, and really appreciate what life has to offer even in the midst of hard times makes for a wonderful story.
    The way she handles things that life throws at her is understandable. She has real emotions and we get to experience them with her. What I really appreciate though is how she ultimately learns from it, and though she's not perfect, the next time she's faced with similar, she is better able to respond. I know that in my own life I've refused to learn and grow, but Skye wasn't like that and we got to see her progress and hopefully learn from it.
    This is an older book, but I think that it definitely deserves a chance to shine again with new readers.

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  • Posted April 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I do not care who you are. Read this.

    Though not entirely appropriate for all ages (Probably no one under 13), this book is amazing, well written, emoitonally packed, and memorable. Seeing yourself in the pages is not hard, regardless of gender. Skye's maturity is inevitable, especially with watching Sunny, and she is faced with choices she has never had to make before. Mike catalyzes a shift in her judgment, but soon becomes more of a problem than she cares to deal with. While trying to figure out who the people around her are, how to deal with Sunny's disablilities, and (obviously) school, she is also faced with the scary prospect of who SHE is and what SHE wants as a person. I see myself in Skye. Not in the same situation, but the same generalizations and overarching problems in her life as in mine. Read this. I do not care who you are. Read this.

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  • Posted October 31, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Grandma Bev for TeensReadToo.com

    Skye Johnson, a junior in high school, is an excellent swimmer, and is training to qualify for State. The state swimming competition could net a college scholarship for Skye. Her older brother, Sunny, has Down Syndrome. Since her divorced mother must work more than one job to support the family, she is away from home most of the time, and it is Skye's job to watch out for Sunny. He's a great kid, always cheerful, but he does require a lot of time from Skye as she makes sure he does his homework, and manages to get home from school, along with fixing him meals. There is just not much time for anything else...just Sunny, school, and swimming. <BR/><BR/>Then Skye meets Mike and her priorities begin to change. Sunny wants to learn to swim: he adores his sister, and wants to be just like her, and he wants Skye to teach him how. Life is frustrating, and Skye finds herself being dishonest with her mother in order to find time for herself. She had promised to give Sunny swimming lessons, but instead signs him up for classes so that she can spend time with Mike - only to find out that he may not be the nice guy that she thought he was. <BR/><BR/>Her life is further complicated when Sunny qualifies for Special Olympics, and his meet is at the same time as Skye's state championship swim. Skye's emotions are on a roller coaster, and her pain and frustration had me crying and then cheering for her victories. <BR/><BR/>Rottman is a master at characterization and plotting. The author brings to life the reality and rewards of caring for someone with a learning disability in a fast-paced story that is hard to put down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2007

    Courtesy of Teens Read Too

    Skye Johnson, a junior in high school, is an excellent swimmer, and is training to qualify for State. The state swimming competition could net a college scholarship for Skye. Her older brother, Sunny, has Down Syndrome. Since her divorced mother must work more than one job to support the family, she is away from home most of the time, and it is Skye's job to watch out for Sunny. He's a great kid, always cheerful, but he does require a lot of time from Skye as she makes sure he does his homework, and manages to get home from school, along with fixing him meals. There is just not much time for anything else...just Sunny, school, and swimming. Then Skye meets Mike and her priorities begin to change. Sunny wants to learn to swim: he adores his sister, and wants to be just like her, and he wants Skye to teach him how. Life is frustrating, and Skye finds herself being dishonest with her mother in order to find time for herself. She had promised to give Sunny swimming lessons, but instead signs him up for classes so that she can spend time with Mike - only to find out that he may not be the nice guy that she thought he was. Her life is further complicated when Sunny qualifies for Special Olympics, and his meet is at the same time as Skye's state championship swim. Skye's emotions are on a roller coaster, and her pain and frustration had me crying and then cheering for her victories. Rottman is a master at characterization and plotting. The author brings to life the reality and rewards of caring for someone with a learning disability in a fast-paced story that is hard to put down. **Reviewed by: Grandma Bev

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2005

    Darn good book!!

    I read the book, Head Above Water and i thought was one of the best books i've ever read. I'm a sophomore, but I always end up reading below my level, but i still really enjoyed this book. It's sad in some places, but I love sad books so that was good. *thumbs up* and It was also a happy very touching ending, so that was also a *thumbs up*. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading very involved books. I loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2002

    A Pretty Good Book

    I think this book is pretty good. I checked it out from my school's library and although I have read better this is still a very good book. (I recomend it for 8th grade girls)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2000

    Not The Best

    I read the book Head Above Water, a book written by S. L. Rottman. In this book it tells the story of junior in high school named Skye who is a very good swimmer and is trying to make the state championships. Her mother is divorced and works two jobs to support her and her brother, who has down syndrome. Since Skye¿s mother works two jobs, Skye has to take care of her brother, Sunny. Everything is going good, she even got her time down enough to make state, then she started dating the high school football quarterback, Mike. She fell in love with Mike until one day he tried to rape her so she broke up with him. The next night at the Homecoming dance as Mike was making fun of Sunny and her mom she punched him and broke her hand. With the cast on her hand she couldn¿t swim for state. She was also supposed to teach Sunny to swim but she didn¿t want to, so she used the money that her mom was paying her to get Sunny a swim lesson class, when Sunny accidentally told their mom Skye got in big trouble. But Sunny did make the Special Olympics that he was training for. I gave this book two stars because it was hard to keep focused on the book and easy to put down during most of book. Another reason for only two stars was because it just ended there was no happy ending, sad ending, or surprise ending, the last page just came and it was over. I gave it two stars unstead of just one because it was written very much like a teenager would talk and think, in first person which made it easy to connect to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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