Head Above Water

For a sixteen-year-old high school junior, Skye has a lot on her plate.
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781561451852
  • Publication date: 08/01/1999
  • Page Count: 224
  • Size: 6" x 9"
  • Age Range: 12-16
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781561452385
  • Publication date: 04/01/2003
  • Page Count: 224
  • Size: 6" x 9"
  • Age Range: 12-16
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 12-16
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781561456482
  • Publication date: 10/01/2011
  • Page Count: N/A
  • Age Range: 12-16
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 12-16
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For a sixteen-year-old high school junior, Skye has a lot on her plate. As she faces the challenges of caring for her disabled brother and making time for school, swimming, and a boyfriend, Skye begins to gain a new perspective into what is truly important in her life.

With her mother holding down two jobs to support the family since Skye’s father left years ago, Skye is given the primary responsibility of caring for her older brother Sunny, who has Down syndrome.

Skye’s relationship with her brother constantly challenges and sometimes frustrates her. All the while, Skye is trying to maintain her GPA, and she is training intensely to qualify for the state championships as a member of her high school swim team, in hopes of earning a college scholarship. She is also struggling to come to terms with her feelings for her boyfriend, who wants more from her than she is ready to give.

Award-winning author S. L. Rottman has crafted an absorbing young adult novel that powerfully depicts the emotional turbulence of teenage life and the difficulty of negotiating complex human relationships.



S.L. Rottman


S.L. Rottman is a former teacher and the author of several young adult novels. A graduate of Colorado State University, Rottman lives in Colorado.


“Through it all, Skye remains a sympathetic, multidimensional character whose emotional growth is compelling and believable.” ―Booklist

“Believable characters and realistic teenage social situations.” ―Foreword Reviews


Best Books for Young Adults ―YALSA, 2000

Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults (Get Your Game On) ―YALSA, 2008

Kentucky Bluegrass Awards (Master List, Grades 9-12) ―Kentucky Reading Association, Kentucky School Media Association, 2002

Sequoyah Book Awards (Young Adult Master List) ―Oklahoma Library Association, 2002

South Dakota Teen Choice Book Award (List) ―South Dakota Library Association, 2001

Tayshas High School Reading List ―Texas Library Association, 2000-2001

Colorado Book Awards (Finalist, Young Adult Category) ―Colorado Center for the Book, 2000

Oklahoma Book Awards (Finalist, Children/Young Adult Category) ―Oklahoma Center for the Book, 2000

Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award (Nominee, Juvenile Literature) ―International Council for Exceptional Children/Division on Developmental Disabilities, 2003


Resources: Teacher's Guide

Teacher’s Guide

More Details

AR Level: 3.8
F&P: Z+, Gr 9 & up, Genre RF
Lexile: 540L
Themes: Down Syndrome, Family, Responsibility, Trust
BISAC 1: YAF018070 YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Family / Siblings
BISAC 2: YAF058070 YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Social Themes / Disabilities & Special Needs
BISAC 3: YAF011000 YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Coming of Age