UP FOR AIR, by Laurie Morrison: A New Favorite Upper Middle Grade Read!

If you are looking for a fabulous book for middle schoolers, look no further because I have your new favorite right here! UP FOR AIR, written by Laurie Morrison, is the perfect book for this challenging age, and your kids are guaranteed to love it.

Books for Middle School Girls, Up for Air by Laurie Morrison

Great books for middle school girls can be tricky. UP FOR AIR is a new favorite.

There’s a challenging spot in children’s literature that parallels that challenging period of time kids face when they are right on the cusp of becoming teenagers: those awkward, upper middle grade years, when kids are a just a little too young for high school stories, yet a little too old for the standard middle grade book with characters in fifth or sixth grade.

It’s a fine, precarious line, and it is often a struggle to find books for these readers that are both challenging and relevant as well as age appropriate.

Sure, most kids this age would probably jump at the chance to read a meaty young adult novel— but many parents aren’t yet comfortable with that. Topics like partying and drinking and sex and drugs are just a bit too mature for many of our children at this impressionable age.

Thus, I was beyond thrilled to read UP FOR AIR, a fabulous new upper middle grade story by the phenomenal up and coming author, Laurie Morrison.

UP FOR AIR tackles this tender age brilliantly!

In UP FOR AIR, thirteen year old Annabelle finds herself struggling academically at the end of seventh grade. Yet when she dives into the water, her swimming skills earn her an A+. In fact, Annabelle is the fastest girl on her middle school swim team, and due to her speed and talent, she is asked to join the high school team over the summer.

This is when Annabelle’s world changes tremendously.

Annabelle makes new, older friends, and her newly developed body attracts the attention of one very handsome high school boy. She wants to fit in with these older kids desperately, but after a prank she’s a part of goes disastrously wrong, the boy drops her like a hot potato, and an injury sidelines her from the pool. Who is Annabelle without swimming, and how will she figure out where she belongs?

UP FOR AIR hooked me from the very first page.

When I tell you I raced through this novel at lightning speed, I’m not at all exaggerating.

Annabelle’s story felt authentic at every turn, and I absolutely loved the way Morrison handled that precarious time between childhood innocence and the chaos — and turmoil — of teenage years.

In UP FOR AIR, Annabelle was enthralled by the older kids, sometimes shunning her old friends because of the magnetic hold the high schoolers held over her. Her story perfectly illuminated first crushes and those intimate moments you imagine that sometimes feel so real, you kind of forget you are making them up.

Yet, UP FOR AIR also recognizes the trepidation that comes with standing on the precarious cusp between middle school and high school, and it does so brilliantly.

It authentically captures that rush of confusing new feelings, the ones that both excite and scare you, like going to a party that simultaneously thrills and intimidates, and crushes that make you feel alive and terrified all at the same time.

UP FOR AIR is a book I wish i had when I was on the verge of becoming a teenager. It’s one that will speak to so many young people, one that will help them realize they aren’t alone in their feelings.

UP FOR AIR captures innocence and longing, the conflicting notions of discovery and safety, and wanting to be treated like an “adult” but wanting to stay protected as well.

This is a perfect segue for those of you with tweens and early teens, a perfect book for sixth and seventh graders, and even those of you with mature fifth graders at home. Your kids will devour UP FOR AIR, and I can’t wait to get this into the hands of my graduating and former students. A total gem!

Want the book? Click here! UP FOR AIR by Laurie Morrison. HEE received an advanced copy of this book for review, but all opinions contained herein are expressly our own.