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Backwater [Paperback]

Joan Bauer
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 8.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

June 7 2005

Ivy doesn't want to be a lawyer. Who cares?-well, her father, for starters, who expects his daughter to take up the Breedlove family profession with dedication and enthusiasm. What Ivy wants to be is a historian, a vocation that's getting quite a workout as she prepares a family history in honor of her beloved great-aunt Tib's eightieth birthday. As in Bauer's Rules of the Road, the central story is of a journey: Ivy hikes into the wilds of the Adirondacks to find her reclusive aunt Jo-and to find her own destiny as well. Persistent, mouthy, and good, Ivy is an admirable heroine who will be familiar to Bauer fans; older female friends (including Tib, Aunt Jo, and wilderness expert Mountain Mama) are equally attractive if given to message-laden dialogue. In fact, the book could have used less preaching and more story overall, but Ivy is such a darned fine gal that readers will be glad to make her acquaintance.


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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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Caught me and Kept me stuck! July 6 2002
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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3.0 out of 5 stars Bauer's latest needs some help... April 17 2001
By Ivy
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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By A Customer
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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3.0 out of 5 stars Humorous with some depth Nov. 19 1999
By A Customer
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books of all times
This was definitely one of the greatest books that I've ever read. If you're a female looking for a good read check out Backwater about a girl trying desperately to get her father... Read more
Published on Nov. 9 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
While reading Backwater, I couldn't put it down. It kept me entertained, and also gave a special lesson to what is important in life.
Published on July 24 2003 by Jessling
4.0 out of 5 stars Hey Don't Leave This In The Backwater!
This moving adventurous book is about a girl seaking for the missing link in there family. Ivy loves history but is brought up in a family of lawers. Read more
Published on Nov. 14 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Great At All
Usually I'm a fan of Joan Bauer books. But this one I couldn't even force myself to finish. It wasn't the story itself--at least, I don't think. Read more
Published on Nov. 13 2002 by G. Guzman
5.0 out of 5 stars Backwater
This book is about this girl who wants to find her aunt that no one talks about. It has a great thrill to it. Read more
Published on March 24 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good book.
Ivy's living in a family full of lawyers, and they all want her to become a lawyer too. She doesn't want that. She wants to become a historian. Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving story of a girl finding out it is ok to be herself.
I bought this book for my 10-year-old son after he enjoyed another Joan Bauer book, Hope Was Here. Backwater is a wonderful story of a girl, Ivy, who is sensitive and does not fit... Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2002 by Greg Markway
4.0 out of 5 stars this book should not be in the backwater
I really enjoyed this book. I could relate to both the story and the character of Ivy Breedlove. We all feel out of place in the our families sometimes, but not everyone gets the... Read more
Published on Nov. 24 2001 by Andrea
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly moving
This is a fantastic book. Those of you who have enjoyed other Joan Bauer books will not be disappointed. Ivy's story is unique and relatable at the same time. Read more
Published on Nov. 23 2001 by Maggie
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book!
Thsi book is awesome! Stuck in a family that have been lawyers for generations, Ivy Breeedlove feels out of place. How couldn't she? Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2001 by Hana Damore
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