Backwater

Joan Bauer, Author
Joan Bauer, Author Putnam Publishing Group $18.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-399-23141-4
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-20346-3
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-698-11865-2
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-20077-6
Prebound-Glued - 185 pages - 978-0-613-29882-7
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-14-240434-8
Prebound-Sewn - 185 pages - 978-1-4176-8743-5
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7569-0134-9
Prebound-Glued - 185 pages - 978-0-7569-5779-7
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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)
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