Seventeen-year-old Holly Callahan desperately wants to make the national rowing team so she can compete overseas, but she is the last rower cut. Her summer dreams are shattered, and she finds herself back at home, living with her mother's annoying new boyfriend, Super Stew.
Holly's not a quitter. She lands a summer job, and then is handed an unexpected lifeline in the person of a man who offers to coach her in a single rowing boat. For a girl raised without a father, the coach's generosity — and rigorous demands — are a gift. But where did he come from and who is he, really”
Discovering the answer plunges her into sadness — but then he inspires her to work beyond her comfort zone.
Lorna Schultz Nicholson's compelling account of a teen athlete's life-changing summer will keep readers riveted until the last page is turned.
Seventeen-year-old Holly spends her summer secretly training in competitive rowing.
All Holly Callahan had been looking forward to this summer was traveling to Europe with the Junior Canadian Rowing Team'so she's devastated when she narrowly misses making the cut. In their small Ontario city, Holly and her mother have recently moved in with her mother's too-cheerful new boyfriend and his tween sons. To make matters worse, Holly learns her mother's pregnant and has been hiding the big news. To distract herself, she gets a job hostessing where she meets attractive, kind Tim, the restaurant's assistant manager, who shows a romantic interest in her. When the recreational rowing team is a bust, Holly finds herself coached to row a single by Alan, a serious man hiding a tragic past. Though he encourages her to tell her mother about their sessions, Holly lies to her family about her hours spent practicing, focused on making it to a big regatta. While the main story is told in first-person prose from Holly's perspective, alternating chapters in verse from a mysterious narrator's point of view add an intriguing element, leading up to an interesting reveal. However, with one-note characters and extensive descriptions of rowing training bogging down the plot, this sports-centered novel will mostly appeal to rowing fans. Main characters are White; Tim is Black.
Emotional, if lacking in substance. (rowing glossary, author interview) (Fiction. 12-17)
"A sympathetic portrayal of a young rower navigating the choppy waters of evolving relationships and athletic aspirations, her yearning for love and understanding, and the dogged pursuit of desires that always seem just out of reach."
— Hadley Dyer, author of Here So Far Away
"It is all about perseverance, sacrifice, and a great journey of self-realization as a young athlete pursues her dreams"
— Al Morrow, Former Olympic Team Rowing Coach