Cover image for Blackwater
Bunting, Eve, 1928-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Joanna Cotler Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
146 pages ; 22 cm
When a boy and girl are drowned in the Blackwater River, thirteen-year-old Brodie must decide whether to confess that he may have caused the accident.
Reading Level:
510 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 3.6 3.0 32494.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.1 8 Quiz: 22118 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



Thirteen-year-old Brodie Lynch was ready for the perfect summer of adventure along the awesome Blackwater River. That was before everything changed forever. When a harmless prank goes too far, the unthinkable happens. Brodie's lies make him a hero, but inside, his guilt tears at him like the treacherous current of the Blackwater itself, which has become a horrifying reminder of his part in the tragedy. In this gripping new coming-of-age novel, a young boy is faced with a choice between right and wrong and ultimately learnsthat truth can offer hope in even the darkest moments.

01-02 Golden Sower Award Masterlist (YA Cat.)

2000 Quick Picks for Young Adults (Recomm. Books for Reluctant Young Readers)

Author Notes

Eve Bunting was born in 1928 in Maghera, Ireland, as Anne Evelyn Bunting. She graduated from Northern Ireland's Methodist College in Belfast in 1945 and then studied at Belfast's Queen's College. She emigrated with her family in 1958 to California, and became a naturalized citizen in 1969.

That same year, she began her writing career, and in 1972, her first book, "The Two Giants" was published. In 1976, "One More Flight" won the Golden Kite Medal, and in 1978, "Ghost of Summer" won the Southern California's Council on Literature for Children and Young People's Award for fiction. "Smokey Night" won the American Library Association's Randolph Caldecott Medal in 1995 and "Winter's Coming" was voted one of the 10 Best Books of 1977 by the New York Times.

Bunting is involved in many writer's organizations such as P.E.N., The Authors Guild, the California Writer's Guild and the Society of Children's Book Writers. She has published stories in both Cricket, and Jack and Jill Magazines, and has written over 150 books in various genres such as children's books, contemporary, historic and realistic fiction, poetry, nonfiction and humor.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bunting (I Have an Olive Tree; Smoky Night) crafts an ethics-centered novel that will long flicker in readers' memories. Brodie's plans to go camping with his best friend on the nearby banks of the furious Blackwater River are foiled when his younger cousin, Alex, comes to spend the summer. To top it off, Alex also wrecks 13-year-old Brodie's highly anticipated plans to take his classmate and crush, Pauline, to the movies. One morning, Brodie decides to teach Alex how to swim in a protected area of the Blackwater, and the two spy Pauline cozying up to an older boy on a rock in the middle of the river. Bunting's cunning description of the tragic incident that follows leaves just enough room for readers' to interpret the events. Should Brodie be elevated to hero status, shunned as a villain, or somewhere in between? And Alex, with his proclivity for fibbing, devises a cover-up that further obscures the truth. But it soon becomes evident that someone else witnessed what happened in the Blackwater River. Smoothly shifting between dialogue and his inner thoughts, Brodie's affecting, first-person narrative makes the boy's nightmarish struggle with his conscience chillingly credible. Bunting's thought-provoking theme, solid characterization and skillful juggling of suspense and pathos make this a top-notch choice for both boys and girls. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-In the prologue to this story by Eve Bunting (HarperCollins, 1999), a foreboding tone is set by the main character as he warns of a tragedy about to unfold. Brodie is a typical 13-year-old with hopes for an eventful summer that includes a camping trip and the promise of a movie date with pretty classmate, Pauline. Plans go awry when Brodie is given charge of Alex, a troubled, younger visiting cousin. In an attempt to teach him how to swim, Brodie discovers Pauline at the swimming hole with Otis. Out of jealousy, Brodie sneaks up on Pauline and pulls her into the water. Otis tries to prevent it, and they both slip into the river and are swept away by the strong current of the Blackwater River and drown. Brodie is horrified and makes a valiant but unsuccessful attempt to save them, nearly drowning himself. Brodie is realistically portrayed as a moral teenager who wavers between telling the authorities the truth or accepting the accolades of being known as a hero. Matters are complicated by a possible mysterious witness and Alex's insistence on perpetuating the lie. Jeff Woodman's narration successfully distinguishes between the male and female characters, including the guilt ridden, though sometimes whiny, Brodie. Fans of Bunting's mysteries will not be disappointed in this tale. A good choice for middle school or low-level, high-interest high school audiences.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.