Big Water
Big Water
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Annotation: A fictional account of the real-life story of the only two survivors of the sinking of the SS Asia in 1882.
Catalog Number: #6140133
Format: Paperback
No other formats available
Publisher: Orca Books
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 181 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-459-81571-8
ISBN 13: 978-1-459-81571-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017949697
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Christina McBurney is still reeling from her twin brother's death when she boards the SS Asia's fateful 1882 voyage. Sure her presence and the weight of her grief are only burdens on her parents, she's determined not just to run away but to disappear. But when disaster strikes and she finds herself as one of only two survivors battling the elements and the freezing water, all she can hope for is to not disappear beneath the sound. This story offers an interesting look at a piece of history and a compelling disaster narrative. The author taps into feelings not just of terror but determination and self-reflection, as Christina fights for her life in an increasingly grim lifeboat. A partnership with her fellow survivor helps move the plot along, and a mystery around his life adds some intriguing historical context, though the introduction of romance seems a little forced. That quibble aside, Curtis' novel will make an exciting read for any historical-fiction fan.
Kirkus Reviews
While running away from home, Christina ends up on the Asia, a steamship that plies Lake Huron in this historical novel set in 1882.An opening note tells readers the Asia sank, killing all onboard but two teens. True to the actual events, debut novelist Curtis leaves the only two survivors, white teenagers Christina and Daniel, on a lifeboat drifting far from shore. The gritty pair, hypothermic and starving, must work together to ensure their survival. The tale is told in Christina's present-tense voice, but, especially during the disaster, Curtis' authorial overuse of metaphors and similes ("I'm like a fat, frozen spider in my life preserver, scuttling frantically") diminishes the immediacy of what should be a terrifying situation. Later, when Christina and Daniel are adrift and her mind wanders, the abundant flowery language is less jarring. Christina had left home after the death of her twin brother, primarily because she's had trouble expressing her grief. The frightening events compound her misery, although they also eventually lead her to a better understanding of her loss, improving her ability to cope. After a couple of days, the pair is rescued by a First Nations couple who are depicted with respect; there is some additional information about their culture included in an author's note, which identifies them as "likely Anishinaabeg."The historical events are limned with enough realism to sustain interest even if Christina never springs fully to life. (Historical fiction. 11-16)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (2/1/18)
Kirkus Reviews
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 7-12
Lexile: 720L
Guided Reading Level: X
Fountas & Pinnell: X

Seventeen-year-old Christina McBurney has led a sheltered life. But when her twin brother, Jonathan, dies of consumption, Christina, unwilling to be farmed out as a nursemaid or teacher, runs away from home and her destiny. In Owen Sound she boards the Asia, a steamship that transports passengers and freight throughout the Great Lakes. She doesn't really have a plan other than to get to Sault Ste. Marie. She'll figure things out once she's settled.

But a violent storm suddenly rises on Georgian Bay, and the overloaded and top-heavy steamship begins to sink. Christina is tossed overboard. Pulled to safety just before she loses consciousness, she finds herself on a lifeboat, surrounded by a number of bedraggled and terrified passengers and crew. One by one they succumb to their injuries, until only Christina and a brooding young man named Daniel are left alive.

The usual rules of society no longer apply—Daniel and Christina must now work together as equals to survive.

Big Water is a fictional account of the real-life story of the only two survivors of the sinking of the SS Asia in 1882.

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