Reviews of Big Water

“A riveting story of survival, friendship, and the power of the human spirit.”
—Caroline Pignat, Governor General’s Award–winning author

Big Water is a gripping adventure…Curtis manages to convey the horror of the experience in a believable way, but without being overly morbid…News accounts at the time tended to focus on the boy’s story rather than that of the girl. Curtis, by contrast, gives the heroine her due.”—Quill and Quire

“This story offers an interesting look at a piece of history and a compelling disaster narrative. The author taps into feelings not just of terror but determination and self-reflection, as Christina fights for her life in an increasingly grim lifeboat. A partnership with her fellow survivor helps move the plot along, and a mystery around his life adds some intriguing historical context…Curtis’ novel will make an exciting read for any historical-fiction fan.” —Booklist

“Curtis provides readers rich details of life in Victorian-era Canada…This novel adeptly combines historical fiction with a heavy dose of adventure and even some romance. A must-buy for where Victorian-era historical fiction or survivor tales are popular.”—School Library Journal

“Curtis has managed to engage the complex subject matters of mortality and grief in a surprisingly accessible and appropriate manner for young readers. Her philosophical observations on the topic manage to provoke thought and lend themselves well to the profundity of the historical event and the fictional representation. Curtis also throws in allusions to the poems ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ and ‘Kublai Khan’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, again demonstrating the intelligence behind this book, and its homage to romanticism and human virtue. Big Water is an excellent read for young readers and adults alike.”— Resource Links

“Curtis’ choice of the present tense brings immediacy, allowing readers to feel that they are going through the ordeal hand in hand with Christina. Presenting the story through Christina’s stream-of-consciousness brings the story “up close and personal” and allows readers to share Christina’s thoughts, fears and memories as they occur to her.”  * Recommended  —Ruth Latta, CM Magazine

“Andrea Curtis weaves together an intense story…. This novel has the reader ride the waves of a horrific shipwreck and dive into the hidden lives of two characters bound together by a terrible catastrophe…. Big Water carries its weight in emotions and suspense…. The novel is a great way to explore the many shipwrecks in Ontario and will engage readers who like historical fiction and survivalist themes.”— Recommended— Christine O’Sullivan, Canadian Children’s Book News

“The author provides a gripping tale that deals sensitively with the growing romance between the survivors, and Curtis also offers insight into the mores and social norms of early Ontario….

“Classroom teachers should find a ready audience of eager readers for this young adult novel. Students could debate the similarities and differences in expectations around relationships then and now, document the limited sphere normally accorded young females then, or even examine how First Nations were depicted and thought of by settler communities.”—George Sheppard, Canadian Teacher Magazine.

“Part of the appeal of the novel is Curtis’ ability to bring to life a side of Georgian Bay that for many has faded into the past…. Big Water inspires the reader to think about both the human history…and the many facets of our relationship with the natural world. Recommend it as a great adventure story to the young teen in your life, but give it a read yourself, too. It’s a side of the Bay that we should not forget.”— Sarah Koetsier, Georgian Bay Today News

List of Best Children’s Books of the Year (2019) from Bank Street College of Education, 14 years+