Where the Water Takes Us

Where the Water Takes Us is a captivating and brilliant novel for young readers. Through Ava’s summer, she learns to overcome her fears and embrace change.
~ Momma Braga


Ava’s mom is about to have twins, and the pregnancy isn’t going well. All Ava wants to do is stay by her mother’s side, but instead, she is sent away to stay with her grandparents. Normally, spending time at the lake with Nonna and Nonno is wonderful. But everything is different now. While her mom’s hospital visits are getting serious back home, Ava grapples with anxiety. As summer storms rock the island, electricity goes out at the cabin, and an annoyingly cheerful boy named Cody seems determined to pop up everywhere she goes. Ava can’t be distracted from the feeling that something terrible, something irrevocable, is going to happen to her mom while she is gone.

When a bird dies in front of her, Ava is sure it is a sign that she is cursed—the last thing she, or her family, needs. But if a curse has been placed on her, there must a way to break it. So Ava makes a deal: If she can take care of two orphaned bird eggs, she will have paid off her debt, and her family will be alright.
With everyone she loves on the line, Ava will do everything in her power to make sure that her mom, her twin baby brothers, her birds, and even Cody all come through the summer safely.


Where the Water Takes Us is a captivating and brilliant novel for young readers. Through Ava’s summer, she learns to overcome her fears and embrace change.

Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.
~ Terry Tempest Williams

Ava is a relatable character as it is so easy to see ourselves in her shoes and being consumed with worrisome for those that we love.  For me personally, it was very easy to connect with her and feel the emotions she did throughout her journey. Love how even through all the changes, Ava was able to find her inner strength and truly came out as a heroine.

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give this novel 5 stars out of 5! We don’t want to give away too much on this book as it truly is captivating. It tugged my heart strings and it was such a great read that I couldn’t put it down as soon as I started. A great novel to read this summer!

There are times when roads become rivers. Rivers with strong currents that pull you away and, whether you like it or not, take you far from home.

Ideal for young readers between the ages of eight and eleven. If you would like to purchase this novel, click here.

About the Author

Alan Barillaro is the Academy Award–winning writer and director of the animated short film Piper and has been supervising animator on many other popular theatrical releases, including The Incredibles, Incredibles 2, WALL-E, and Brave. Where the Water Takes Us is his debut novel. He has been honored with an ASIFA-Hollywood Award, an ICFF Award for Outstanding Career and was recognized by House Commons of Canada for his artistic and cultural contribution to the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Alan began his career in animation at sixteen years of age, graduated from Sheridan College in 1996, and spent twenty-five years at Pixar Animation Studios. Alan is currently Creative Director at PASSION PICTURES. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with his wife and three children.

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