Rough Waters

Two grieving brothers learn the importance of family and the power of white water.
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781561451722
  • Publication date: 03/01/1998
  • Page Count: 181
  • Size: 6" x 8-1/2"
  • Age Range: 12-16
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781561454136
  • Publication date: 05/01/2012
  • Page Count: 240
  • Size: 6" x 8-1/2"
  • Age Range: 12-16
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 12-16
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781561456116
  • Publication date: 05/15/2011
  • Page Count: N/A
  • Age Range: 12-16
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 12-16
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Two grieving brothers learn the importance of family and the power of white water.

When their parents are killed in a car accident, Scott and his brother Gregg are sent to live with an uncle they never knew they had. Hurt, angry, and confused, they leave a comfortable life in the California suburbs and head to the remote Colorado Rockies, where their uncle runs a white-water rafting company.

Scott, forced to confront his loss and face an uncertain future, determines to make the best of a difficult situation. But his brother Gregg, burying his grief deep inside, begins to drift away from the only family he has left. As they become acquainted with the power and unpredictability of the river and begin to learn the skills of maneuvering the rapids, the brothers discover that it is harder than they ever dreamed to master the art of survival—both on and off the water.

Award-winning author S. L. Rottman has crafted an absorbing young adult novel that powerfully depicts the complexity of grieving and the value of family.



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.


“With the thrill of the rapids, realistic family dynamics, a little romance, and likable characters, this book is a great read.” ―School Library Journal

“The plot moves briskly, snaking its way through various subplots that include young love, drug abuse, and criminal misconduct.” ―Booklist

“Reminiscent of Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet… or The River… this quick-paced adventure will be enjoyed by ‘river rats’ and those interested in the outdoors.” ―VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

“I would definitely recommend this to any reader who likes action-based books but also enjoys reading about relationships between people.” ―Crowding the Book Truck

“The interactions between Scott and his brother are incredibly realistic and filled with emotion. It’s the relationship he forms with his uncle that really impressed me…I really enjoyed Rough Waters. With the right mix of emotion, adventure and tension, it’s a gripping read.” ―Roundtable for Kids

“Rottman’s skill in describing the river adventures make the reader feel as if they’re part of the ride.” ―Boys to Books


Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers ―YALSA, 1999

Young Adults’ Choices ―IRA, 2000

Best Books for Young Teen Readers ―R. R. Bowker

Books for the Teen Age ―New York Public Library, 1999-2001

Colorado Blue Spruce Award (Finalist) ―CCIRA, CLAS, CLA, CEMA, 2000

Oklahoma Book Awards (Finalist, Children/Young Adult Category) ―Oklahoma Center for the Book, 1999

South Carolina Young Adult Book Award (Nominee) ―South Carolina Association of School Librarians, 2000-2001

Utah Book Award (Young Adult Nominee) ―Children’s Literature Association of Utah, 2001


Resources: Teacher's Guide

Teacher’s Guide

More Details

AR Level: 4.2
F&P: Y, Gr 6, Genre RF
Lexile: 650L
Themes: Adventure, Family, Grief, Nature, Responsibility, River Rafting, Sports
BISAC 1: YAF001000 YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Action & Adventure / General
BISAC 2: YAF059130 YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Sports & Recreation / Water Sports