IN THE SAME BOAT, by Holly Green, Scholastic Press, July 20, 2021, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 14 and up)
A girl and her former best friend team up on a three-day river trip in Holly Green’s In the Same Boat.
It’s the eve of the Texas River Odyssey, and Sadie Scofield is finally ready for the 265-mile canoe race. It’s three days of grueling, nonstop paddling, where every turn of the river reveals new challenges — downed trees, poisonous snakes, alligators — but the dangers are all worth it. Reaching the finish line is the only way for Sadie to redeem herself for last year, when one small mistake spiraled into disaster.
Sadie has spent a year training, and she’s ready for anything . . . except for her brother ditching her at the last minute for a better team.
She has no choice but to team up with Cully, her former best friend turned worst enemy. Everything about him irritates her, from his stupid handsome face to the way he holds his paddle. But as the miles pass, the pain builds, and family secrets come to light, Sadie realizes she’ll have to work with Cully instead of against him. Last year’s race was a catastrophe, but this year’s race just might change her life in ways she never imagined. —Synopsis provided by Scholastic Press
After reading In the Same Boat, even the thought of competing in a race like the Texas River Odyssey makes me a little queasy. The preparation and race itself are more than a little intense. That’s why it’s great that books like In the Same Boat are around. It gave me a taste of — and an appreciation for — something I’ll never do.
In the Same Boat begins in the throes of last year’s race. Sadie is on the river with her dad, when everything goes wrong. It’s an adrenaline pumping 11 pages that make you want to keep reading. And there are plenty more climaxes throughout.
Setting a scene doesn’t seem to be a problem with debut author Holly Green. Her writing has an immersive drive to it that makes you feel as if you’re the one slathered in Desitin and sunscreen, baking in the sun as bugs try to eat you alive. You feel the exhaustion. You feel the victories and defeats.
Sadie and Cully’s shared past makes for an interesting study. Even though they’re no longer close, they still “know” each other. They know weaknesses and strengths. And as they paddle down the river, they discover what’s really pushing them forward.
I know that people really love a romance, but I was happy to discover that this one was in a more supporting role. Heavy swooning would have gotten in the way here.
In the Same Boat is a great choice for those looking for an adventure they can participate in from the comfort of their favorite reading spot.
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