UP FOR AIR is one of my all-time favorite books for upper middle-grade readers. Your kids are guaranteed to love it, and they will be captivated by this authentic and relatable story, too. Check it out!
UP FOR AIR is a New Favorite Middle-Grade Book
There’s a challenging spot in children’s literature.
It 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 little too young for high school stories, yet a little too old for the standard middle-grade book with 10-year-old characters or those beginning middle school in the sixth grade.
It’s a fine, precarious line. Often, it is a struggle to find tween books for this age group that are challenging, relevant, and age appropriate.
Sure, many tweens may jump at the chance to read a meaty young adult novel. Yet, many grownups aren’t comfortable with that. Topics like partying and drinking and sex and drugs are a bit too mature for many of our tweens 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.
Purchase UP FOR AIR right here!
UP FOR AIR brilliantly tackles a tween’s coming of age!
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. 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?
RELATED: We’ve got a fantastic selection of books for 6th graders, so be sure to check them out!
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, the desire to impress older and “cooler” kids, and those intimate moments you imagine that sometimes feel so real, you kind of forget you’re 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 the awkwardness of dealing with a changing body and the attention that comes from new curves. It captures that rush of new, confusing, feelings the ones that both excite and scare you — you remember the ones. Like going to a party that simultaneously thrills and intimidates. First crushes making you feel alive and terrified all at the same time.
UP FOR AIR speaks to all of these emotions, and it speaks to them in a pitch-perfect voice for tweens who are eager for more mature novels but not quite ready for YA. UP FOR AIR is in a league of its own, and we need SO many more books like this!
If you’re looking for a book that captures raw tween emotions, UP FOR AIR is a winner.
How I wish I had UP FOR AIR when I was on the verge of becoming a teenager. It’s one that will speak to so many tweens and will help them realize they aren’t alone in their feelings.
UP FOR AIR is a perfect segue for those of you with tweens and early teens, a perfect book for sixth and seventh graders, and even great for 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? Get it here!