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Backwater Paperback – Jun 2 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Revised edition (June 2 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142404349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142404348
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,652,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

There are two things you can count on in a book by Joan Bauer. One, it will make you laugh. And two, the girl who is telling the story will be really good at something, but not something you'd expect. In Squashed, Ellie wins the Giant Pumpkin Weigh-In. In Rules of the Road, which won the Golden Kite Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Fiction, Jenna Boller is a whiz at selling shoes. In Backwater, Ivy Breedlove resists being good at the family tradition. For many generations the Breedloves have been successful lawyers. Among her loud and argumentative relatives, however, Ivy feels like "a goldfish swimming in a tank stocked with snapping turtles--it's hard to keep a lasting presence." Instead, Ivy is in love with history, especially the family history she is compiling. But a large piece is missing. Many years ago, her father's sister Josephine went away to be a hermit in the mountains, and ever since, the rest of the family has referred to her scornfully as "stuck in the backwater." Ivy, convinced that this "different" aunt holds the secret to her own differentness, sets out in a snowstorm to find Jo, with the help of backslapping, slogan-spouting wilderness guide Mountain Mama. Along the way she meets with a lot more adventure and understanding than she ever anticipated--not to mention snagging an excellent boyfriend. (Ages 12 to 16) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

In this compelling, though ultimately uneven outing, Bauer (Rules of the Road) travels to a literal and emotional backwater, navigating the strong ties that bind-and have the potential to choke-a proud but dysfunctional family. For generations, the Breedloves have been respected lawyers in the community, and it's been expected-nearly demanded-that 16-year-old Ivy will follow in their footsteps. But Ivy feels driven to become a historian and, as her first major project, she undertakes the task of compiling the Breedlove genealogy. As the family gathers for the holidays, Ivy's time-saving Aunt Fiona (she has her own TV show, It's About Time) skims through the family history with a video camera. But Ivy determines that, to make the family tree complete, she must locate long-lost Aunt Josephine, her father's rebellious sister. Her search leads her to the Adirondacks, where she comes face-to-face with not only Josephine, but Ivy's own fears about life as a Breedlove. In the best passages, Bauer's characters crackle with eccentricity and exhibit glimmers of intense emotion. Mountaineering fans will also thrill at the wintry, rugged scenery. But in the end, readers may feel Ivy's adventure-and the extreme avenues taken by Josephine-to be too far-fetched. Ages 12-up. (May)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
I knelt in the snow in front of my great-great-great-great-grandfather's gravestone, took my bristle brush and cleaned the surface, working the bristles deep into each engraved letter. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is one of the best books I've ever read! It's about a 16 year old girl named Ivy Breedlove. Stuck in a family of lawyers Ivy feels like a goldfish in a tank full of snapping turtles. Ivy hates the idea of studying law and would like to be a historn to study, learn, and revile the past. Ivy has 6 monthes to work on a family project, just in time for her Great Anut Tib's birhtday. She used to be working on this with her Great Anut Tib but than Tib's eye sight got bad and it was up to Ivy. Ivy knew that there was so much to go...
collecting more stories
more photos to look at and...
finding out more about the Anut no one will talk about. Ivy REALLY needs to find this anut and isn't going to stop till she does. This all leads to her going up a tall mountain with her father telling her to stop. Ivy has one of the best wildreness in town giving Ivy a discount if her story of finding her anut could be used in a book she wants to become a best seller. When Ivy arrives she has 3 days to find out about her anut, 3 days to figure it out, 3 days to unrivile the mystery. Than there's the accident...
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Format: Hardcover
The plot of Joan Bauer's latest novel, Backwater, will be intensely familiar to anyone who has read her books. Backwater suffers from this sameness, as well as from a certain forced feeling; it's [note CORRECT use of it-apostrophe-s] also hampered by *severe* editing problems.
The plot of Backwater will be extremely familiar to anyone who has read Squashed, Bauer's best book so far. Ivy Breedlove, a teenager on a mission (in this book, family history), succeeds despite opposition from her father (in this book, a lawyer) and the people around her (in this book, her extended family). Ivy's mother died when Ivy was six (as opposed to eight, which is how old Ellie was in Squashed). Ivy has been given a great deal of strength from her Great-Aunt Tib (as opposed to grandmother, as in Ellie's case). And so on. Frankly, I'd like to see Bauer use her undeniable sense of humor and writing skills on an entirely new plot.
That isn't to say, though, that this plot doesn't have its differences; it's just that most of those differences feel forced. Ivy Breedlove is as unusual as most of Bauer's protagonists, but so is everything around her and everything she does, including her aunt's bird city and most of her winter mountain trek. There wasn't anything usual anywhere in the book, and the cumulative effect of all this originality was a sense of total *un*reality; I was not able to suspend disbelief far enough to buy any of it.
Also, the editing in the first hardcover edition of this book was, quite simply, a *disaster*.
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Format: Hardcover
"Backwater" is a very well-written book. Though I did not like the general storyline, I did like the book. I didn't like the storyline because it just seemed a little too unrealistic. It's just too rare that you find a 16 year old girl from a family of attorneys that is so obsessed in her family's history that she risks her life climbing a mountain to find her long-lost aunt. Auntie Josephine just happens to be a hermit who is the mayor of Backwater, a town with a bird hospital, bird chapel, bird recreation center, and bird town hall. The residents are all-- you guessed it-- BIRDS. The climax is vey exciting, unexpected, and page-turning, even though the plot is so outrageous. If you need a definition for the word 'climax', read this book. Ms. Bauer is very descriptive when it comes to settings. She makes it very easy to paint a mental picture of the Breedlove family graveyard; gravestones hung with holly wreaths. She makes it seem like you're there alongside Ivy Breedlove and her aunt in Jo's mountaintop cabin. The characters were very well developed. It was as if you had known them at least a few years, not just a few pages. The only problem with the Breedloves is that there are so many of them it was hard to keep them straight. The dialogue was well-written as well. It moved at a good pace. There was enough of it to keep you reading, but not too much of it so you forgot what was happenning or who was talking. The one major theme in "Backwater" has got to be survival. Survival is evident even before Ivy goes up into the mountains. I agree with the librarian from CT that there are a lot of spelling errors. Ms. Bauer really shouldget an editor one of these days! Everything cooks pretty well together, and "Backwater" definitely has a unique taste to it.
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By A Customer on Nov. 19 1999
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed "Rules of the Road" more, but this book has much to offer as well. I like the emphasis on being able to make your own decisions about your life and on facing your fears. It also discusses the importance of family (present and past) and good communication. As always, Bauer's central character is a strong-minded female who has more on her mind than boys and being popular. But romance isn't exactly the last thing on her mind, either! A fine sense of humor, both Bauer's and her characters', is evident throughout.
If I could, I'd give this book 3.5 stars rather than 3. But I found it a little too didactic and overstated at times to rate it higher. Bauer sometimes simply worked too hard when making her points. And the editing is very poor. I'm not sure if the possessive "its" is used correctly anywhere in the book. Instead, we get "it's". We also get spelling errors such as "peek" for "peak". One grammatical/spelling error in a book can be overlooked, but a dozen can't and shouldn't be.
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