Life Belts

Overview

Nita's mother is dying. Maybe that's why Nita is testing fate and her own limits by swimming or sailing too far from the shore.

Molly is the shy, inhibited one. She's Nita's best friend, and she's the one who knows how to sail.

Eddie is the outsider, who finds Nita mysterious and beautiful.

Life Belts

Nita, Molly, and Eddie are all thirteen, and each of them has a story to ...

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Overview

Nita's mother is dying. Maybe that's why Nita is testing fate and her own limits by swimming or sailing too far from the shore.

Molly is the shy, inhibited one. She's Nita's best friend, and she's the one who knows how to sail.

Eddie is the outsider, who finds Nita mysterious and beautiful.

Life Belts

Nita, Molly, and Eddie are all thirteen, and each of them has a story to tell of what happens to them in their Long Island beach town on those last hot, bright days of summer, those few days when tragedy strikes and changes their lives forever.

The relationships between two girls and a boy living in a small beach town on Long Island changes during their thirteenth summer, when one girl's mother is dying of cancer and the boy witnesses a child's drowning.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A tragic incident involving the drowning of a small child sets the tone for this tender coming-of-age story, winner of the publisher's 10th annual prize for first YA fiction. The death of the little Devin girl occurs in the background of the novel, but it overshadows the final days of summer for three 13-year-olds from Long Island who are wrestling with their own, separate dilemmas and attempts to grow up. Eddie, born with a deformed hand, is present at the scene of the accident, but cannot find the courage to act. Anita, struggling to cope with her mother's terminal illness, is also shaken by the event. For Anita's best friend, Molly, a sheltered, self-conscious girl, the drowning triggers a loss of innocence. Powerful imagery emphasizes the destructive and rejuvenating forces in nature, while poignant characterizations effectively convey the vulnerability and strengths of three sensitive teens. A deft debut. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-A summer in a small coastal community brings significant changes to the lives of three 13-year-olds in this realistic novel. The time period is vague, but the characterization is bold and genuine for any era. Anita, the daring and beautiful; Molly, the capable and timid; and Eddie, the outcast, are all portrayed here in vivid, captivating writing. Molly and Anita have a tiny wooden sailboat. Molly is the sailor, but Anita demands new adventure, stretching their limits with the small vessel. Her mother is dying, and she is trying hard to prepare for the coming loss. Molly's family is sound, but she struggles with her own puberty and the trials of being a friend to tempermental Anita. Eddie, born with a webbed hand and a religious mother who sees his deformity as a blessing, grapples with his own feelings and values. When out with his friends on an illicit clamming trip, he does not insist that they investigate a splash in the water where a small child had been playing near a dock. For him, the grave consequences kindle feelings of overwhelming guilt and resolution for future responsibility. The story convincingly and thoroughly develops these characters, but the mood creates the tension of an adventure or a quasi-thriller. Readers are carried from page to page, anticipating a solution, even though there is no traditional mystery to solve.-Marilyn Long Graham, Lee County Library System, Fort Myers, FL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440219316
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 6/1/1995
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.78 (h) x 0.49 (d)

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