Publication Date: August 29, 2023
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Ages 9 to 12, Grades 4 to 7
A dazzling story full of heart about how one twelve-year-old channels her rage into synchronized swimming dreams, from the author of The Education of Margot Sanchez and Never Look Back, Lilliam Rivera.
Natalia de la Cruz Rivera y Santiago, also known as Nat, was swimming neighborhood kids out of their money at the local Boyle Heights pool when her life changed. The L.A. Mermaids performed, emerging out of the water with matching sequined swimsuits, and it was then that synchronized swimming stole her heart.
The problem? Her activist mom and professor dad think it's a sport with too much emphasis on looks—on being thin and white. Nat grew up the youngest in a house full of boys, so she knows how to fight for what she wants, using her anger to fuel her. People often underestimate her swimming skills when they see her stomach rolls, but she knows better than to worry about what people think. Sometimes, she feels more like a submarine than a mermaid, but she wonders if she could be both.
Barely Floating explores what it means to sparkle in your skin, build community with those who lift you up, and keep floating when waters get rough.
Story Locale:Inglewood -- Los Angeles, California
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