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Monday, February 6, 2012

Rough Waters - S. L. Rottman



Released May 2012 (Reissue)

S. L. Rottman
Peachtree Publishers

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Originally released in 1998, S. L. Rottman's Rough Waters is being reissued in May 2012. For fans of Gary Paulsen's novels, I think you may find Rough Waters to be pretty compelling and enjoyable.

Scott and his older brother Gregg find their world in upheaval when their parents die in a car accident. Gregg's almost 18 and about to head off to college, but Scott at 15 obviously needs a guardian. Both boys are shocked when they learn their parents left custody not to a family friend who's been a major part of their lives since birth, but instead to an uncle they've never met. They're forced to pack up some of their belongings and move from their affluent California neighborhood to a remote cabin in Colorado.

Scott makes the most of it, but his brother's rebellion is apparent from day one. When they're told that they'll be spending their summer helping their uncle run his white water rafting businesses, Scott eagerly begins to learn everything he can while Gregg starts pulling away from the family and getting into trouble. Scott soon struggles to enjoy the relationship he's forming with his uncle and try to hold on to his brother who is the only immediate family he has left.

Rough Waters does tackle topics that many teens face on a regular basis -- drugs and alcohol. The interactions between Scott and his brother are incredibly realistic and filled with emotion. It's the relationship he forms with his uncle that really impressed me. The author took time, in an honest fashion, as Scott really had never met this man and never heard about him growing up either. The confusion as to why his parents left him with a person not involved in their lives was clear. The reader learns more about the situation along with Scott helping to involve them in the story.

I really enjoyed Rough Waters. With the right mix of emotion, adventure and tension, it's a gripping read.

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