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Overboard
     

Overboard

4.3 15
by Elizabeth Fama
 

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Plunged into the dark waters off Sumatra when her ferry sinks, 14-year-old Emily fights to stay alive amid the chaos and horror of passengers drowning in the night. Striking out toward land, Emily finds a young Islamic Indonesian boy, Isman, floating in a life jacket. Hungry, thirsty, and exhausted, Emily realizes that their survival depends on her ability to keep her

Overview

Plunged into the dark waters off Sumatra when her ferry sinks, 14-year-old Emily fights to stay alive amid the chaos and horror of passengers drowning in the night. Striking out toward land, Emily finds a young Islamic Indonesian boy, Isman, floating in a life jacket. Hungry, thirsty, and exhausted, Emily realizes that their survival depends on her ability to keep her mind clear and her emotions in check. Testing the limits of their physical strength, she and Isman face a shark scare, a whirlpool, and other dangers. For emotional strength, Emily increasingly looks to Isman, who draws courage from his quiet but firm Islamic faith. Overboard is based on the true story of a young American woman who survived the sinking of an overloaded Indonesian ferry in January 1996. Of the more than 400 passengers aboard, only 40 people survived.

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, July 2002: Fourteen-year-old Emily is living in Sumatra, Indonesia, where her pediatrician parents are working. Emily helps out with the sick children at the clinic too, but she resents the amount of time her parents spend there, and she wishes she could return home to Boston with her uncle, who is visiting the nearby island of Weh. Upset by a child's death at the clinic, Emily impulsively dashes off to take the ferry to meet up with her uncle—but halfway through the crossing the ferry sinks. She finds herself in the deep, shark-infested ocean waters amid hundreds of panicking people, without a life vest. Emily is strong and determined, however, and she does her best to swim toward land, far off though it may be. As night falls and her strength flags, she meets a fellow survivor bobbing along in the ocean, nine-year-old Isman, a devout Muslim. Emily's strength and brains along with Isman's faith help them to survive their ordeal. This exciting and moving tale is based on a true story, as an Author's Note at the end explains. In this gripping first novel, the exotic locale and Emily's homesickness are both convincingly portrayed, and Emily's courage as she fights fatigue and fear and struggles to save herself and Isman is nothing short of heroic. Readers will be caught up in Emily's plight and impressed by her bravery, and her new appreciation for Isman's culture and beliefs will be communicated, too. KLIATT Codes: J*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 2002, Random House, Dell Laurel-Leaf, 158p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8 With blond hair, green eyes, and pale skin, Emily, 14, feels like an outsider on the island of Sumatra. Her parents have traveled to Indonesia as medical personnel with a deep desire to help, but she desperately wants to return to Boston. She rejoices when she hears from her exploring uncle who is on a nearby island and, without gaining her parents' permission, she boards the ferry to visit him. A happy reunion is not to be, however, as the overloaded and aging boat sinks. Long hours elapse slowly as Emily attempts to escape the horror of drowning passengers and swim to land. She finds an Indonesian boy, Isman, floating in a life jacket, and they draw strength from one another. Their relationship provides the focus for this adventure story. Isman's quiet yet strong Islamic faith bolsters Emily's flagging courage as well as frustrates her when he struggles over the decision to eat something during a day of Ramadan. Each moment brings the two new problems-cold, hunger, sharks, a whirlpool, fear-and actively holds readers' interest. An author's note describes the inspiration for this unique book-a real ferry accident off the coast of Sumatra in 1996 when only 40 of the 400 passengers survived. -Crystal Faris, Nassau Library System, Uniondale, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Frustrated by constant mosquito attacks, stifling humidity, a lack of privacy and friends, and inattention from her overworked parents who serve as World Physicians for Children, 14-year-old Emily Slake considers leaving the town of Banda Aceh in the north of Sumatra to meet up with her vacationing uncle on a nearby island. When her carelessness possibly contributes to a young girl's death, Emily's guilt drives her to board the overcrowded ferry for Weh. The sinking of the ferry interrupts her encounter with European vacationers (who embody Western ignorance of and insensitivity to other cultures). A nightmarish battle to fight fatigue, hunger, loneliness, and fear ensues. Although some scenes seem implausible, particularly Emily's ability to carry on complete conversations and sing in her weakened state, first-time author Fama skillfully conveys the impact of survival in human nature. From a hopeless woman who gives her up her wrestle with life, desperate passengers who will injure or kill other humans for a space on a raft, and fear at the sight of sharks to Emily's compassionate rescue of a young boy, Isman, her dedication to ensure his survival, and Isman's devotion to his religion, readers will contemplate the fate of the characters and how they would fare under the same conditions. Inspired by an actual ferry accident caused by lax safety standards, this is a powerful exploration on the will to live. (author's note, map) (Fiction. 12-15)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553494365
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
02/08/2005
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
4.23(w) x 6.88(h) x 0.43(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Emily might have been the only fourteen-year-old in the world who could change the sheets of a hospital bed with the patient still in it. She had done it more times than she cared to remember.
“I didn’t come to help,” Emily said, refusing the stack of folded sheets that her mother held out to her. “I just came to see if you and James would be home for dinner tonight.” She glanced around the clinic. “Where’s your loyal candy striper? Madjid is good at beds now.”
“We don’t use the term ‘candy striper’ here, Em. I wish you’d be polite to him, at least.” Olivia wiped sweat from her forehead onto the sleeve of her white lab coat. “Anyway, Madjid’s looking for a repairman to fix the air conditioner.”
“What’s the point? It never works,” Emily griped. The humidity was stifling, as it always was in Indonesia, and today there was an odor in the clinic that pinched at the back of her nose and throat. She breathed through her mouth to dull the scent.
“Please, Emily . . . the bed? I’d really appreciate it . . .” Olivia said, holding up the sheets again. Emily took them from her with a sigh.
Olivia nodded toward a cot with a sleeping boy no more than five years old. “It’s Yaso’s bed, over there. Thanks, honey.”
The boy’s gown had fallen to the side, and Emily saw that his leg was in a cast up to the hip. Farther down the row of beds there was a dark, still little girl with an intravenous tube snaking from her arm up a pole to a plastic bag filled with clear fluid. She was glistening with sweat.
“Little Rabina’s having a rough day,” Olivia said over her shoulder. “Otherwise I’d do it.”
Little Rabina, Emily grumbled to herself. Rabina didn’t seem all that bad today. Olivia had been hovering over the seven-year-old for the past two weeks, ever since the girl’s parents had brought her in with a ruptured appendix. The family was from a small village twenty miles south and they had allowed the dukun, the local healer, to use his folk potions and prayers to treat her, but she never got well. Emily’s father, James, had saved Rabina’s life with an emergency operation. Still, Emily thought, Rabina was being stubbornly slow about her recovery.
Emily went over to the cot that needed changing. When she got there she discovered the source of the odor in the clinic. The boy had relieved himself on the bed in his sleep, and his urine had the acrid smell of antibiotics. His gown was soaked in the front. The sheets and pad were soaked beneath him.
“Great,” she said with a huff. She put the sheets on a chair next to his cot and went to the nurses’ station to get a new gown and a wet washcloth.
The trick to making a bed with the patient still in it is to make it one half at a time. Emily turned the little boy onto his right side and untucked the old sheet and pad, rolling them up against his back. Then she made half of the bed with the new sheet and pad, neatly rolling up the excess and laying it alongside the roll of dirty linens. Next she turned him onto his left side so that he was lying on the clean sheets, slid the dirty linens off the bed, unrolled the second half of the clean linens, and made the rest of the bed. Finally, after being turned twice, Yaso began to stir.
Emily eased him onto his back and straightened the damp gown in front, knowing that even the youngest patients could be modest. Yaso opened his eyes, so she tried to raise the head of the cot a notch or two, but the mechanism was stuck. She yanked it hard, and it slid into place with a jolt.
“You’re very strong,” Yaso said in his own language.
“Strong, like a bull.” She wrinkled her nose at him and made a snorting noise.
Yaso laughed and tried to snort like a bull himself.
“You are good,” she smiled.
“How old are you?” he asked.
“I am one hundred years old,” she said, sitting in the chair with a sigh. Emily had found that Indonesians often asked personal questions, and it wasn’t rude to give nonsensical, evasive answers.
“You speak Bahasa Indonesia well,” the boy said.
“That is because I have lived here for too long.”
“I know you. You’re the doctors’ daughter. You help in the clinic, like that boy, Madjid.”
“Sometimes.”
He looked into Emily’s clear, green-gray eyes. “Ooh, your eyes! You have glass eyes!”
Emily shook her head “no” and handed him the washcloth. He accepted it, but continued to stare into her eyes.
Emily looked away. She bent down to escape his gaze, wrapped his old sheets into a ball, and put them on the floor next to her chair. Then she held up the new gown for him to see. He looked at it blankly, but was riveted back to her eyes.
“Please wash yourself and put this on,” she said. She frowned, looking at his cast. “Will you need help washing and dressing?”
“I want to try by myself first,” he said.
Emily said, “I will be here if you need me.” She put the folded gown next to him on the bed and turned her chair away to give him privacy.
While she waited she reached out her long legs and pointed her toes in her sandals. She clasped her hands together, rounded her shoulders, and cracked her knuckles in front of her. Her underarms felt moist, and two wet marks stained her blouse, so she quickly brought her hands down onto her lap. She was wearing a long floral scarf around her head, a kerudung, and it itched in the heat, but it covered her blond hair and helped avoid endless conversation on that subject.
Emily was hungry, and it made her feel more hollow than ever. She looked down the row of cots at her mother, head bowed, eyes closed, listening through a stethoscope to the bony chest of Rabina. Olivia’s blond hair slipped from behind her ears and fell in front of her face. Soon, Emily decided hazily, the stethoscope would become a permanent physical link between Olivia and Rabina, like an inorganic umbilical cord.
“I’m ready,” the boy said. Emily turned her chair back. He had put the gown on but was unable to fasten the ties.
“You’re so big!” he said, as she stood over him to reach his back.
“Yes, I know.”
“And so white!”
She looked at her pale hands tying the back of the gown closed. The veins branched up from her knuckles to her wrists, like blue rivers.
Actually, I’m transparent, she thought with disgust.
“Yes,” she said out loud, “very white.”

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Overboard 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had so much action. Some people died because they can't swim. Also Emily meet people like Catherine and Richard. She also meet a 9 year old boy named Isman. Emily spent most of the time hepling him find his family. It is very repelant. You just can't stop reading it. I wish the ending was more brife. I really recommend this book to the people that love action and suspence. You never know what is going to happen next. This book rocks
CarinaOlsen More than 1 year ago
When Elizabeth contacted me about this book of hers, I was thrilled. Because I adore Beth. She's amazing. And the two books I have read by her so far, Monstrous Beauty and Plus One, have both been amazing. I said yes right away to be able to read this book too. And I'm so glad I did. Because I enjoyed this one a whole lot. Overboard was written about thirteen years ago, so it is a bit old, but still amazing. I'm so glad that I read it. And I simply cannot wait to read even more books by the amazing Elizabeth. I'm not sure how to talk about this book, though. Because it is very short. Less than two hundred pages. Yet still long enough, too. I do wish it had been even longer. Felt like it ended too soon, in a mean place, lol. Yet it was also the perfect way to end a book, so I liked it a whole lot as well. I thought the writing was pretty amazing, not perfect, but I enjoyed it at all times. The story is written so well. And I did adore reading about Emily. She was pretty amazing. Well, much more amazing than I would have been. Overboard is a story about survival. About how a fourteen year old girl tries to survive after the ferry she was on sinks. And it is amazing. I loved reading about it. I loved how mean this book was. It is a bit young, yes, so no romance or anything like that. It is all about survival. About Emily being stranded in the ocean without a life vest in the middle of the night. I loved reading about it. Some things were a bit horrible. Yet not described too much to make it horrifying. But it was scary to read about, either way. This book is set in Indonesia. Which I thought was pretty interesting. I must admit that I could never live there myself. And I loved reading about how Emily have been living there for almost two years with her parents; how she still don't like it there. How much she stands out. How she hasn't been able to make friends with anyone. I loved her view on things. Like her, I would not enjoy living there, hah. But it was so interesting to read about. Sounded so awful. Yet it was interesting and exciting in a way too. Emily is just fourteen years old. So she felt a bit young, yet grown up too. I'm not sure I liked her parents at all. They aren't in this book a lot, since it is so short, but they are there a little bit. I felt like they shouldn't have made Emily live there, when she didn't want to. But at the same time I understand them. They both work at the hospital there, and they help a lot of people. Though it was heartbreaking in the beginning of the book to read about that one person they could not save. It was a bit depressing. While this book is short, a lot of things happen. Emily sort of runs away, to go visit another island close by. She takes the ferry. And reading about that was pretty interesting. Reading about the religion in this book, and how often they pray. I do find it interesting. But I also know that I could never live like that, sigh. It is not for me. I don't believe in a god. And I'm good with that. Don't have anything against those who do, though. Anyway. It was interesting to see the different religion in this book. It was well written. -- What. So so much more of my review! See my blog Carina's Books to read my full review :)
VoluptuousBDiva More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of this book when I signed up to host the book tour. I made no guarantee of a favorable review. What an amazing book! I was so lost in this story that I read it in one sitting. Emily is a young girl living with her parents in Indonesia and she is miserable living there. One day after an incident at the clinic her parents work at, she decides to get on a ferry and go visit her uncle. Little does she know that the ferry is going to capsize and that she'll be fighting to live. Fast paced, edge of your seat, heart pounding drama at its best with outstanding characters. This story will stay with me for years to come as it was truly captivating. The author pulled me in from the start and every turn of the page had me feeling like I was in that water swimming for my life. This is truly a gripping and must read book. I give this book five high heels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
. This book is probably one of the best books I have read so far this year; it has a lot of exciting points and twists in the story, which I like. Some of the events in this book you wouldn't expect to happen. This book will keep you on your toes, once you get through reading a chapter you’re going to want to read another one because you will question yourself Will they survive? The most interesting thing that I liked about this book would have to be the way Emily cared for Isman. The way she fought for Isman, a stranger she never knew was unbelievable. She never gave up on him and thats what surprised me the most. Throughout this book I saw that even when you think there is no where else to go, nobody left to turn to, or nothing left to do, there is always hope. I loved this book there isnt a single part of this book that I didn't like. This is an amazing book; I would recommend this book to everyone that likes mysteries, excitement, and twists in stories, I hope your journey is amazing while you’re reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Overboard by Elizabeth Fama is an exciting book. This book is about a 14 year old girl Emily running to trouble by running away from her parents. They work in a hospital in sumatar. She ran away because her uncle invited her to weh. Emily gets on a ferry to weh and meets a nice couple Richard and Catherine. Suddenly the boat that Emily was on sank. Then she meets a Muslim boy named Isman. She found him in a life vest. Together they try to survive in the middle of the ocean. They try to live without food, something to drink or home. With Emily¿s strength and Ismans faith the try to survieve. My response to the book is excellent. This book is kind of confusing at first but it is still great. This book is exciting, and kind of sad. I recommend this book , because this book is like the titanic , and the titanic is an amazing movie. I learned that running away gets you in trouble. You should read this book. Will Isman and Emily be saved?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Overboard is a really good book. It¿s written by Elizabeth Fama. Overboard is about a fourteen year old girl named Emily. Her parents Olivia and James work in the World Physician for Children hospital. One of the patients in the hospital died and Emily thought it was her fault. Matt, her uncle, had told her to come visit him at the Weh island. She was upset so she just escaped and went to the island Weh. To get there she boarded to the ferry that would get her to the island. The ferry, or boat,was so over boarded that it sank! She tries to survive in the middle of nowhere! In her way of trying to find an island she finds a boy named Isman. They both try to survive in the ocean. To find out if they both survive you have to read the book! I like this book because it¿s so exiting. There are events in the book you wouldn¿t expect. It keeps you on your toes. Every time you finish reading a chapter you don¿t want to stop reading because you still have one question in your head¿will they survive?Belive me, you won¿t stop reading until you find out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the book Overboard by Elizabeth Fama, fourteen year-old Emily Slake lives at Sumatra with her parents that work at the WPC. Emily¿s uncle, Matt invited her to visit Weh. She got very excited. The next day, Emily lost the phone, and now Rabina died. Emily thinks she caused Rabina¿s death. So, she ran away to Krueng Raya (Harbor). Emily met Catherine & Richard, a British couple. The couple took care of Emily as if they are Emily¿s parents. It wasn¿t peaceful for long. The ferry was sinking because of overload of people. Now, the chaos just got started. After the chaos, Emily was all alone. But, she found Isman, an Islamic nine year-old boy. Together, they found food, survived a whirlpool, & swam for their lives to shore. They almost made it to the end of surviving, but Isman was swimming behind, alone. Emily couldn¿t leave, but Isman avoided her. So, Emily climbed a rock, and screamed in pain. Eventually, Emily & Isman were both rescued. This was a great surviving story. My favorite part was when they found a tomato. Yes, it¿s weird. But, I thought they would die, and they would never find food.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is really exciting. It¿s by Elizabeth Fama .The setting of this story takes place in the water in between Sumatra and Weh. Overboard is the book I `m talking about. In this book the ferry Tandemand that Emily boarded because she was temporarily running away sinks of overload. Emily finds herself caught in a locker which she kicks to get out. As you may have guessed the main character is Emily. Emily goes through a lot. She had to deal with a sinking raft that was being attacked by sharks and a lady who wanted to drown and does. Also, Emily has to deal with having no life vest. But she has a blown up pair of leggings. Isman is a boy she finds on the way to an island. Together they face tiredness, a whirlpool, and starvation. Will they survive? Read the book to find out. The reason why I like this book is because of it is action packed and detailed. My favorite part of the book is when Emily blows up her leggings .It was such a smart idea. Since she did not have a live vest she came up with this brilliant idea. I think Overboard was a very suspenseful. Also, I think it was interesting and mysterious. The book was detailed and kept you at the end of your seats. This book is so exciting. I highly recommend this book for people who like suspenseful stories.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Overboard is about a 14-year-old girl. Her name is Emily Slake. One night she is on the boat in the dark ocean of Sumatra. What she doesn¿t know is that in a few minutes she will find herself in the middle of the ocean with hundreds of other desperate people trying to survive. She is miles away from shore and without a life vest. She is scared and doesn¿t know what to do. Then she sees a young Muslim boy named Isman. Emily and Isman work together to survive. I liked the book because it was an ¿ off your seat waiting to see what happens¿ type of book and you never know what was going to happen next. I would recommend this book to everyone who enjoys adventure books. Overboard keeps you suspense and is easy to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was about survival and using your brain. I highly recommend this book to everyone. And as a muslim girl I'm happy there was no negativity toward Isman the little muslim boy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Overboard is about a girl named Emily, 14, who wants to visit her uncle on an island. So she took off alone onto a ferry and the ferry sank. She had no life vest all she had was a 9 year old Muslim boy who had a life vest. This book is great because Emily is out there in the middle of the ocean for 18 hours. Plus, it¿s based on a true story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was a very good one. It was one of the many books i have read that i recommend others to read. It was about this girl named Emily who runs away from home to go see her Uncle Matt at the island of Weh. She goes on an old over crowded ferry that sinks half way to their destination of Weh. Then she mets a boy named Isman and they go on their journey to survive. They finally make it to land safe and sound.(but very hungry)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this novel. I am not a fan of survival stories. The way the book is written, it did not feel like I was reading a survival book. When reading the book, I was really caught up in the story. I thought that Emily was telling the story. It was not until I was done reading, that I realized the book was not told by Emily. This is a sign of a talented writer, and an intense story. The culture in the book is very interesting. By including the different culture into the book, Fama made it more interesting to read. I loved reading the explanation of the different names of Mohammed. Isman is a character whose place in the story is to share his culture. This book is modeled after a actual event. After reading this book, and finding out it was based on a true event, I wanted to learn about the actual event. When a book can do that for the reader, it is a good book. Emily is a universal character. Every teenager has been upset with his or her parents about one thing or another. Emily handles the situation of being in the ocean remarkable well. I found it courageous of her to give away her life vest to Isman. This teaches the readers that even in a time of crisis, people can still be giving and kind. This book is necessary read for any survival fan. Non-survival fans will love this book as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that Overboard was a disappointing book. It was all because it was about a girl who decides to run away from home and ends up on an old ferry. The ferry happens to sink, forcing Emily,the girl, to use her jeans as floaty and swim for days with another person, Isman, who is pretty puny in the ocean. And, no, sharks just happened not to notice two people floating in the water. Then they find an island and eveything was okay, after page after page of Emily climbing up a rock, anyway.