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The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis [Kindle Edition]

Elle Thornton
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $8.00
Kindle Price: $2.99
You Save: $5.01 (63%)
 
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Book Description

Nearly everything important in twelve-year-old Gabriella's life that summer of 1957 can be traced to the river. Without friends, her mother mysteriously absent, and her father, the general, treating her as if she doesn’t exist, Gabriella turns to the river beside the Marine base where she lives in North Carolina. She’s determined to learn to swim so she can make the general proud by showing him she’s good at something.

At the river Gabriella meets Hawkins, an African-American steward in the kitchen of her father’s quarters. Gabriella decides to trust Hawkins to show her a few swim techniques. He becomes her swim coach and a person she can talk with, even about the tragedy of the youth Emmett Till. Two years earlier the fourteen-year-old Emmett was lynched and his body thrown into Mississippi’s Tallahatchie River. Despite brutal beatings, Emmett refused to say what his racist murderers wanted: that he wasn’t as good as them.

At the river beach in North Carolina, Gabriella becomes close friends with Doyle, a teen and neighbor who plays Mississippi Delta Blues for her on his guitar. She tangles with another neighbor, Col. Perkins, a lurking presence with more than just a casual interest in Gabriella’s growing friendship with Hawkins. And she feels a tide in her heart pulling her across the river to an old mansion, a tide as strong as a mother's love, even a deeply troubled mother who does not want to be found.

If she can reach Mama, if she can show the general she’s good at something, Gabriella will have the only thing she’s ever wanted: her family together again. At the river Hawkins helps her find her strength. Emmett helps her find her heart. Yet as she swims toward young adulthood, it could all be lost. Emmett had been murdered for whistling at a white woman. Could her friendship with Hawkins endanger the tough Marine? It doesn't seem possible. Until a sudden storm on the river changes Gabriella's life--forever.
Bronze Medal Military Writers Society of America
First Place YA Florida Writers Association



Editorial Reviews

Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Travel to Atlantis, May 14, 2012
By Noel-Anne Brennan"I love this book! A young girl grows up on a military base in North Carolina in the racially charged 1950s, struggling to prove herself to her father, the General, and to find out what happened to her mother. She makes friends by following her heart, without regard to race or age. . . I should have said this earlier: this book is beautifully written. "


5.0 out of 5 stars
The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis, May 28, 2012
By 
Haven Gordon "This book is a fantastically powerful and emotional read. It goes to the heart and deals with difficult topics like racism . . . This book made me think, and it made me feel. I highly urge you to read it and fully recommend it. "

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, May 15, 2012
By 
Sylvia N. Hester  
"This novel was so heartfelt that I transported to the 1950s. I was Gabriella, a child wise and bright beyond her 12 years on this earth. . . She is a child who looks at a person and not seeing the color of their skin the age on their face but the character that grows within them. At the end I think Gabriella found who she truly was and what she truly wanted."

From the Author

My background as the daughter of a career Marine and my professional experience as a newspaper reporter and technical writer helped prepare me to write The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis. In working on the book, I've learned that few works of fiction exist in the middle-grade/young adult category about military families or military history.

I only knew Emmett Till's name from the Bob Dylan song, "Ballad of Emmett Till," until one of my African-American students mentioned the name to me: Something in my student's eyes and voice told me I needed to find out about Emmett. I am very grateful to say that I did. Since then I've learned that adults and young people of different racial backgrounds, even African-Americans, do not know the name or story of Emmett Till.

Ultimately, while my background prepared me to actually write the story, nothing prepared me for the emotional impact of writing about Emmett Till. During the writing, he's become part of me: as I see it, this is the true gift from having written The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis.

Product Details

  • File Size: 272 KB
  • Print Length: 168 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1466431687
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 3, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007P73QPC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #631,024 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My choice for unforgetable! May 16, 2012
Format:Paperback
"There's hardly a teenage girl who hasn't felt self-conscious, insecure and lonely at certain times, but Gabriella, the heroine of Elle Thornton's break-out-novel, The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis, has more than most on her plate. A missing mother, no siblings and a demanding father who packs her off to private schol. Oh, and the father happens to be the General at the military base where she lives. But Gabriella has a mission, learn to swim, to excel so the General won't send her away. However, the summer taks an unexpected twist when she befriends Hawkins, a Black Marine who is her father's aide. In the South, in the fifties, this is anything but cool.
A coming of-age novel, Atlantis brings out the racial component we are all still concerned about today. Gabriella is introspective; she's working out relationshipa between the races against the harsh background of a real-life murder in Mississippi. A series of subtle episodes reveals the heart of the story. Does color matter when a friendship is a sustaining part of one's life? Add to this Ms. Thornton's exquisite lyrical language, "the song of the cicadas braids the long green shadows," and you have a winner that will entertain, inform and work its way into your heart. A joy to read and to remember. I can't wait for another of Ms. Thornton's book-food for the soul.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful and moving April 11, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a lovely, gentle story about a young girl coming of age on a Marine base in North Carolina in the late 50s. The author uses beautiful word pictures to punctuate her story. "...the sun drops behind the horizon like an orange slipping from a child's hand." How's that for painting a scene?

This is a Y-A novel that can be read and discussed by the entire family. There are lessons to learn here and historical incidents that need to be remembered. I see hours of discussions with your young ones about what was and what is yet to be.

Kudos for a fine first novel.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis May 28, 2012
Format:Paperback
This book is a fantastically powerful and emotional read. It goes to the heart and
deals with difficult topics like racism, prosecution, and freedom. It's
about a young very pretty White girl named Gabriella who becomes friends with an
older Black Marine she calls Hawkins.

Despite the differences between their cultures and their families, they become friends.
As they spend time together it becomes clear that even the river they both love and
share is a symbol of the distance between them that society has placed.

This is a great read to provide an appreciation for how much effort that has already
been made... and how much more needs to be made, so that we can live with all races
in harmony. This book made me think, and it made me feel. I highly urge you to read it
and fully recommend it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A quiet, thoughtful book August 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The title is intriguing, but somewhat misleading. The main character Gabriella connected to the idea of the lost city Atlantis, but she doesn't believe that she needs to swim there, and she doesn't try to swim there. Gabriella reminded me a lot of Scout, the little girl in To Kill A Mockingbird and perhaps this novel was inspired by that one.

Gabriella's father is a Marine Corps General whose wife has mental issues and is in a treatment center. The general has a black aide-de-camp named Hawkins who fought in Korea and is finishing his tour of duty as an aide. Gabriella is a quiet, obedient, sensitive, but plucky girl who matures into adulthood during the summer she spends in her father's North Carolina military base.

There is no violence, no sex, and no bad language in this nicely edited (for a Kindle) book. So it might be boring to some, but I found it a very good read. It was well-written and fairly short, I wish that there had been a bit more. I recommend this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent YA Title August 18, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Before I begin my actual review of this title, I must say that I was impressed greatly by the subject matter. So many of the books intended for a younger audience are filled with witches and wizards and all things fantasy, that it was refreshing to see a title intended for the YA market that actually has historical value.

I thought this book was very well written. The pace was even throughout the book and the language style seemed appropriate for the time period it was set in. The dialog is perfect, not to wordy nor too clipped. There wasn't much action in the first four chapters, but really the book was handled so well by the author that it didn't matter. She has a fabulous gift for making you see through the eyes of her main character.

I gave this book four stars because it was a compelling read and was written so beautifully, but I think the subject matter may be a bit too intense for the younger end of the YA market.

The fact that the author chose a lesser known historical figure to base her book around earned her big points in my view, as she was being completely original. I would say this is one that you should check out for yourself and recommend to your friends. Great book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Goodreads Description- Nearly everything important in twelve-year-old Gabriella's life that summer of 1957 can be traced to the river. On the North Carolina military base where she lives, she meets the African-American Marine Hawkins by the river's brown-green water. When her father, the General, treats her as if she doesn't exist, Gabriella's determined to show him she's good at something: she'll learn to swim. And it's the river with its mysterious worlds that leads to her mother.

At the river, Gabriella discovers Hawkins is far more than a servant in the kitchen of her father's quarters. He becomes her swim coach and a person she can talk with--even about the tragedy of the youth Emmett Till. The fourteen-year-old was lynched two years earlier, his body thrown into Mississippi's Tallahatchie river.

Emmett had been murdered for whistling at a white woman. Could her friendship with Hawkins endanger the tough Marine? It doesn't seem possible. Until a sudden storm on the river changes Gabriella's life--forever.

This is a great coming of age young adult novel set in the 1950's South, where relationships between black and white were tenuous at best. Gabriella, the main character, doesn't want to be sent back to boarding school and is determined to show her father, whom she calls the General, that she can excel at something. Gabriella decides that something will be swimming. She visits the nearby river daily, and with the help of her father's African American steward and fellow Marine, Hawkins, Gabriella meets her goal. However, along the way Hawkins has become much more than a steward and coach, he has become her friend and by this friendship she realizes that others definitely have a lesser opinion of Hawkins than she.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I WISH I COULD WRITE A BOOK LIKE THIS
I was given this book free for a review. Since I have a backlog of books to read, I put this one aside for a few months. Thta was a mistake! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mary Raynor
2.0 out of 5 stars A little slow
It was difficult to get into this book and it took me a while to read. The end was abrupt. The plot was not great. Te characters were shallow.
Published 4 months ago by Jane Moker
4.0 out of 5 stars The girl who swam to atlantis
Life in the South on a military base after the Korean war. Complicated relationships and prejudice of the times presented in a manner representing the South.
Published 5 months ago by merlin
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
I did not know this was a young-adult book, or I might not have chosen it, but I am so very happy I didn't make that mistake. Read more
Published 7 months ago by esldonna
5.0 out of 5 stars Literary Fiction At Its Best! A Page Turner.
I started reading this novel at 9:15 p.m. after a long and weary day. By the third page, I was jumping out of my chair and rushing to track down the author. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Kathleen M. Rodgers
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written Novel
"The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis" is a beautifully written debut novel by Elle Thornton. Many novels for young adults are concerned with the fantasy of vampires and witches. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Olivia Ellsworth
4.0 out of 5 stars heartwarming short story
I Enjoyed this one. Heartwarming and quick read. So glad I came across this book. I will definitely recommend it.
Published 8 months ago by BarriBomb
3.0 out of 5 stars easy read
Having grown up during this era it brought back memories of segregation. While an easy read I found myself feeling the "injustice feeling" I felt during that time. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Penelope D. Debarge
5.0 out of 5 stars A Quiet Novel with Undercurrents
Thornton takes on bigotry, racism, and ignorance with her elegantly written coming of age novel. The setting is the American South in the late 1950s. Read more
Published 12 months ago by PDX Author
5.0 out of 5 stars Warrior Child
A lovely tale of transitions, the power of the human spirit and the overriding need for love in our lives. Read more
Published 13 months ago by LOC
Search Customer Reviews
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More About the Author

My background as the daughter of a career Marine and my professional experience as a newspaper reporter, technical writer, and instructor in freshman English helped prepare me to write The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis.

I only knew Emmett Till's name from the Bob Dylan song, "Ballad of Emmett Till," until one of my African-American students mentioned the name to me: Something in my student's eyes and voice told me I needed to find out about Emmett. I am very grateful to say that I did. Since then I've learned that too many adults and young people of different racial backgrounds, even African-Americans, do not know the name or story of Emmett Till.

I've also learned that there are few works of fiction in the middle-grade/young adult category about military families or military history.

Ultimately, while my background prepared me to actually write the book, nothing prepared me for the emotional impact of Emmett Till's story of bravery. Emmett Till never would say what his racist murderers tried to force him to say: that he wasn't as good as them.

During the writing, he's become part of me: as I see it, this is the true gift from having written The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis.

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