Backwater Paperback – Jun 2 2005
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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)
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
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Top Customer Reviews
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...
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*.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on Nov. 9 2003
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
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 morePublished on Nov. 14 2002
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 morePublished on Nov. 13 2002 by G. Guzman
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 morePublished on March 24 2002
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 morePublished on Feb. 9 2002
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 morePublished on Jan. 13 2002 by Barb Markway
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 morePublished on Nov. 24 2001 by Andrea
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 morePublished on Nov. 23 2001 by Maggie
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