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Heat Hardcover – August 1, 1998

5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

The soft lapping sound of a swimming pool and the lifeless smell of chlorinated water pervade this novel about a competitive high diver who struggles through her terrible fear of returning to the platform after hitting her head in a diving accident. Bonnie Chamberlain, almost 17, faces an even bigger challenge when her lawyer father is brought to trial and convicted of defrauding his clients. After he pleads guilty and she finds that her mother, too, is implicated, Bonnie uses the determination that took her back up the diving ladder to take charge of her own life--and to accept her parents as they are. Michael Cadnum's oblique, hard-edged style is perfectly suited to this story set in the upper-middle-class milieu of Northern California, where pleasant, witty remarks are stand-ins for communicating real feelings. Cadnum is master of the revealing detail: Bonnie's boyfriend, Rowan, "wants to concentrate on acoustical physics," her stepmother, in "a sherbet outfit thing," looks like "someone auditioning for hostess at a pancake restaurant," and the courthouse has floors the color of goose-liver pâté. Here, tangible ambience is as important as plot. Thoughtful readers will find Heat less dark than, but equally engrossing as, Cadnum's Calling Home, Edge, and Breaking the Fall. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell

From Publishers Weekly

Cadnum's latest may not have as much heart-pounding action as some of his previous thrillers (Zero at the Bone; Taking It), but there is plenty of tension. As the story opens, narrator Bonnie Chamberlain, a diver, has just regained consciousness following an accident in the pool at her fancy private school. Bonnie, who has started to entertain dreams about the Olympics, is left with a concussion and serious doubts about future competition. As she fights anxieties about rejoining the team and possibly reinjuring herself, she is hit with a second whammy: her father, a prominent attorney recently remarried to his secretary, is arrested for defrauding clients. While the meshing of two heavyweight traumas is slightly awkward, other aspects of the plot?particularly the change in Bonnie's belief in her father's innocence to her knowledge of his guilt?are compelling. Adopting the laconic style that gives so much of his writing its tough edge and adult flavor, Cadnum challenges readers with hard questions about the nature of fear and of betrayal. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1030L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile; 1St Edition edition (August 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670878863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670878864
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,910,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Cadnum is the author of thirty-five books, including the National Book Award finalist The Book of the Lion.  A two-time Edgar Allen Poe Award nominee, and an award-winning poet, Cadnum's work is widely acclaimed.

He lives in Albany, California, across the bay from San Francisco, with his wife Sherina.

For more of the latest on Cadnum and his work visit his website

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
One reason I read Young Adult novels is because I have written one myself and am working on another one. I tend to stick to ones similar to mine - more realistic stories of daily life rather than fantasy or supernatural. I think also being a writer affects my reviews, so your reading experience may not be the same. There is my disclaimer out of the way.

I liked this book. I tend not to finish books I don't like but I was never tempted to give up on this one. This was written by a man (and this review is by a man) but I think it holds an accurate portrayal from the point of view of the lead female character. That is good, because it stays very close to her as we are privy at all times to her thoughts and feelings.

There are two main threads to the story: the aftermath of an accident Bonnie suffers while high diving, and problems that develop for her father. There are subplots as well, but not too many as it is a fairly short novel, as YA often is. There is Bonnie's relationship with her divorced parents, a friendship that goes slightly sour, and a unique close friend with a guy. That last relationship seems complex. I think it is deliberately kept vague, because this would be an entirely different book with a romance in it and would perhaps detract from the main plot. The relationship with Rowan is therefore open to interpretation. In my opinion, he is half in love with her while she needs him just as a close friend and keeps him sort of at arm's length, perhaps for her own protection. She seems to think his parents like her but not as a potential girlfriend for their son. Well, that's my take on it, but you may see it differently.

There aren't too many of what you'd call twists in the story so I won't give my more details of the plot.
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Format: Hardcover
Bonnie is a high school student and a prizewinning diver. The water and her training schedule are a major part of her life. So when she hits her head one day in practice on the high diving board and is not allowed to dive for a time, it seems her whole world is turned upside-down.

At the same time Bonnie is struggling with not diving, her father, divorced from her mother for a time and newly married, is also having turmoil in his life. He is a lawyer and has been arrested for allegedly defrauding his clients.

Bonnie is certain that the charges against her father are false, but her mother and her older sister and many others seem to feel differently. She is scared for her father and his time in jail, and she is just as scared thinking about her own life and whether she will be able to make herself dive again.

I liked the strength in Bonnie's character; she was confident and mostly secure in her life, even with the things that went wrong. I also liked what ended up happening in Bonnie's father's trial.

I wasn't sure what the character of Rowan was there for. His relationship with Bonnie was never clarified enough for me, and he didn't feel like a three-dimensional character. I also kept thinking that there was supposed to be some deep parallel between Bonnie being afraid to dive and her father's situation, but I couldn't quite make the connection.
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By A Customer on March 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is about a girl named Bonnie. She is about 16 or 17 years old. In the begining Bonnie gets into an accident. She does not remember much of it but she mostly recovers. The accident happened when she was at practice for her diving team. She is very good and everyone likes her. My favorite part of the book was when Bonnie and her best friend were fighting over something really stupid. It reminds me of me and my best friend. In this book Bonnie's parents are devoriced. Her dad has a new girlfriend now and her mom is still single. Dads girlfriend and Bonnie have some fights but for the most part they get along very well. I would reccomend this book to mostly girls because it is told by a girl and about what happens to a girl. On the other hand I think anyone would like it.
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By 14 Year Old Reader on June 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Heat, by Michael Cadnum, is a different book than most. It has a different rhythm-a new way of explaining things in words and phrases other than what you would normally hear, so that you have to concentrate on the novel, which helps you really get into it. I liked this book because it travels through everyday scenarios in life, but with a unique outlook and taste that gives you a good view of Bonnie's experiences as a competetive diver with an injury and coping with her father's arrest. This is a great book for someone looking for an intriguing read and a great story.
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By A Customer on May 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The book is quite interesting to read. People who are into water sports would enjoy this the most. A short summery: A sixteen year-old Bonnie Chamberlain wants to be a proffesional diver. On one of her practices she has an accident injuring her scalp. Fortunetly she is is alright and is still determined to practice, practice and practice. Now it's even harder for her to concentrate on the dives that her farther's in trouble with the law, and it ends with... well,I won't tell you, if u wanna find out,read the book!
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