Author: Elizabeth Fama
Date of Publication: June 9, 2015
She swam up for what seemed like an eternity, with her chest so achingly empty it felt as if it had collapsed, seeing only white bubbles in front of her face until she broke the surface.
One moment of rashness, and fourteen-year-old Emily Slake finds herself amid hundreds of panicked and drowning people in the dark ocean waters off Sumatra. Miles from shore without a life vest, she resolves to survive. But in facing the dangers of the ocean, the desperation of her fellow survivors, and her own growing exhaustion, Emily must summon wits and endurance she’s not sure she has.
Striking out on her own, Emily encounters Isman, a frightened young Muslim boy, floating in a life vest. Together they swim for their lives, relying on Emily’s physical strength and Isman’s quiet faith.
Based on a true story, Overboard is both a riveting tale of survival and a sensitive portrayal of cross-cultural understanding in a time of crisis.
About the Author: Elizabeth Fama
Plus One was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in April, 2014. A 2015 RITA award finalist, Plus One was also a highlighted book in VOYA magazine, and was listed among the “Top 12 Young Adult Books of 2014” in the Huffington Post.
Monstrous Beauty, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in September, 2012. It won won the 2013 Odyssey Honor Award, and was included on the 2013 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults list and the 2013 YALSA Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults list.
My first novel, Overboard (Cricket Books, 2002), was named a 2003 Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association (one of only eleven books selected unanimously by the committee that year). It received the 2002-2003 honor award from the Society of Midland Authors, and it was nominated for five state readers’ choice awards (New Hampshire, Texas, Illinois, Utah, and Florida).
Review of Overboard by Elizabeth Fama by Lisa
I received an advanced copy of this book for free from the Publisher in exchange of an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion or the content of my review.
What I really like about Elizabeth Fama as an author is her consistent great writing and storytelling skills. Overboard may have been one of her very early works but it’s still so reminiscent of how she writes now and how much she’s grown as a writer.
Overboard tells the story of 14 year old Emily Slake, an American girl living in Indonesia for the past year and a half due to her parents’ medical work where they tend to sick and injured children. Emily also helps out at the tiny hospital while her parents work by cleaning and clearing the cots and doing whatever other small tasks are needed.
But Emily feels burdened by her parents’ choice of lifestyle and the place they’ve chosen for her to live, along with the fact that for most of the time she seems to be raising herself while her mom and dad who she refers to by their given names, Olivia and James.
It isn’t until a phone call from her visiting Uncle from the States and the unfortunate passing of a child at the hospital which which pushes Emily into purchasing a ticket on a ferry ride to the island her uncle is staying on in order for him to take her back to Boston with him. Without her parents permission or knowledge that really sets the story in motion.
While on the ferry, Emily meets a British couple, Catherine and Richard, who befriend her and stay close on the ride over as she is also the only person that speaks English and Bahasa Indonesia onboard.
Then, everyone’s worst fear is realised as the ferry begins to sink and the ensuing scuffles and crowding and madness begins. Life jackets are thrown around haphazardly to all and sundry and Emily luckily lands one but then gives it to a small Muslim boy, Isman in need more than her as she can swim. Not knowing how big of a role this boy will come to play in the not so far future as the two meet again hours later in the water.
Honestly, Overboard is such a beautifully scary and heartrending story that really gets the pulse racing and showcases great diversity. An unexpected friendship develops between two kids of different races, religions, ages and gender and how they could come together and be brave and strong and learn from each other with no prejudice, just genuine wonder, some honest misunderstandings because tensions are running high while shipwrecked, and they are kids, but kids with great heart and determination and strength.
Overboard really tugs on the heartstrings and show how strong these characters were to get through this horribly hard journey to safety.
An overall great, quick read that had a lot of heart and emotionally packs a punch.