Author Laurie Morrison Shares 5 Fun Facts About Up For Air

Up for Air by Laurie Morrison is a refreshingly real take on life in the eighth grade.

In the pool, Annabelle is a star swimmer. So much so that she’s been invited to join the high school team even though she’s just finished seventh grade. When she swims, she feels confident and focused – a relief from the challenges she’s facing her in regular life. However, being on the high school swim team means older friends, older boys, and finding herself in situations she isn’t quite ready for.

Up for Air is a fantastic, relatable read that offers a glimpse into early teenage life where we’re pushing boundaries, making mistakes and trying to survive all the dramas of teen life. We recommend this one for anyone in middle school who’s ready to see what’s up next as they grow up and make their way towards high school.

Author Laurie Morrison Shares 5 Fun Facts About Up For Air

Thirteen-year-old Annabelle struggles in school, no matter how hard she tries. But as soon as she dives into the pool, she’s unstoppable. She’s the fastest girl on the middle school swim team, and when she’s asked to join the high school team over the summer, everything changes. Suddenly, she’s got new friends, and a high school boy starts treating her like she’s somebody special—and Annabelle thinks she’ll finally stand out in a good way. She’ll do anything to fit in and help the team make it to the Labor Day Invitational, even if it means blowing off her old friends. But after a prank goes wrong, Annabelle is abandoned by the older boy and can’t swim. Who is she without the one thing she’s good at? Heartwarming and relatable, Up for Air is a story about where we find our self-worth.

Up for Air
AUTHOR: Laurie Morrison
PUBLISHER: Amulet Books
DATE: May 7, 2019

Author Laurie Morrison has shared 5 Fun Facts about Up for Air and bringing Annabelle’s story to life. PLUS – we teamed up with Abrams Publishing to give away a copy to ONE lucky winner! Keep on reading for how you can enter!

5 Fun Facts About Up For Air:

Author Laurie Morrison Shares 5 Fun Facts About Up For Air
(Image Courtesy of Laurie Morrison)
FACT #1:

Annabelle lives on an island off the coast of Massachusetts called Gray Island. Gray Island isn’t a real place, but it’s loosely based on Nantucket, where my family used to go on vacation when I was a kid. Nantucket is sometimes called the “Gray Lady” because it’s very foggy for some of the year.

The ice cream place in Up for Air is inspired by an ice cream place in Nantucket called the Juice Bar. But in Up for Air, I named the ice cream place “the Creamery” in honor of the South Street Creamery, my favorite ice cream place in the town in New Jersey where I grew up.

FACT #2:

I taught middle school for ten years, and I am 100% sure that Up for Air would not exist if it weren’t for the students I taught. Originally, Annabelle was the younger stepsister in a book I wrote about a 16-year-old girl named Lissy. That book was never published, but one of my former students, whose name is Dasha, read it and said, “You should write Annabelle’s story next!” It took me a few years, but eventually, I listened to her and wrote it.

Dasha is now a senior in high school, so I am giving her a copy of Up for Air as a high school graduation present! Two of my other former students, who are competitive swimmers, gave me feedback on the swimming elements in the book. They told me that swimmers would refer to the strokes as “fly” and “free” rather than “butterfly” and “freestyle,” and that Annabelle would say “lane line” rather than “lane divider” in the scene where she helps her coach set up the lanes.

Author Laurie Morrison Shares 5 Fun Facts About Up For Air
(Image Courtesy of Laurie Morrison)
FACT #3:

Speaking of swimming, I love to be in the water, but I was never a competitive swimmer. When I was growing up, my big sport was soccer. For a little while, I tried to make Annabelle a serious soccer player instead of a swimmer since I knew so much more about soccer, but it didn’t work. Annabelle insisted on being a swimmer! So I learned a whole lot about competitive swimming and relied on expert readers like my former students to help me write her story authentically.

Author Laurie Morrison Shares 5 Fun Facts About Up For Air
(Image Courtesy of Laurie Morrison)
FACT #4:

Annabelle and her friend Jeremy love sharks, and their interest in sharks is based on my husband’s. Like Jeremy, my husband is always quick to point out that sharks get an unfair reputation and don’t actually want to hurt people.

In the book, Jeremy’s dad takes tourists out on his boat to see blue sharks, and my husband and I really did that once. The person who took us out on his boat had a plexiglass cage that hung off the boat into the water. He dropped food for the sharks into the ocean to attract them, and then we got a chance to go inside the cage so that sharks could come even closer—just a couple of inches away! The cage had an opening, and our guide gave us a broom to hold. If a shark came too close to the opening, we were supposed to poke it with the top of the broom handle to shoo it away. I thought I would just stay up on the boat while my husband went into the cage, but at the last minute, I decided to take a turn, too. It was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done!

FACT #5:

I really wanted Annabelle’s stepsister Lissy, whose story I had originally written, to make an appearance in Up for Air. That didn’t fit into the book, but Lissy and Annabelle’s other stepsister, Maura, is mentioned, and they are about to visit when the book ends. Maybe someday I will write another book about Lissy, because I loved her, too. But for now, I’m just grateful that writing Lissy’s story led me to Annabelle!

Up for Air Giveaway:

Author Laurie Morrison Shares 5 Fun Facts About Up For Air


ONE lucky winner will receive a copy of Up for Air by Laurie Morrison. Prize generously provided by Abrams Publishing/Amulet Books.


Grab a parent or guardian and have them fill out the form below by May 21, 2019 at 11:59 pm ET.

Giveaway runs from 5/07/19 at 2:00 pm ET through 5/21/19 at 11:59 pm. Open to US residents ONLY. Be sure to read the fully detailed rules HERE before entering.


*You must be 18 or older to enter. Please, only ONE entry per person. If selected as a winner, we will provide your parent/guardian with an affidavit to confirm that you are a valid winner who has permission to win. They will be REQUIRED to sign and return the affidavit to YAYOMG! to claim your prize. Prizes will not be mailed out without signed parental consent.

Want to win even more books? We’re giving away a copy of Order of the Majestic by Matt Myklusch!

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