Big Water by Andrea Curtis

My Rating: 4/5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 10/10! I love this cover!!! I am such a sucker for illustrative design and this design fits the book itself perfectly! When you look closer you can see the debris coming off from the sinking ship and having the two characters in the life boat on opposite ends for balance just like in the book itself you realize just how much attention to detail there is. It’s a chaotically gorgeous cover!

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

Publish Date: March 6th, 2018

Number of Pages: 192

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon


Seventeen-year-old Christina McBurney, grieving the loss of her twin brother, Jonathan, to consumption, has run away from her Parkdale home. She believes her mother wishes she had been the one to die, and she plans to find work far away as a nursemaid or teacher. Christina’s cousin Peter is the first mate on the Asia, a steamship that transports passengers and freight throughout the Great Lakes, so she seeks him out to secure passage to Sault Ste. Marie.

But when a violent storm suddenly rises, the overloaded and top-heavy steamship begins to sink. Christina, heeding the warnings from her cousin, somehow makes her way to the hurricane deck. A large wave tosses her overboard, but just before she loses consciousness, she is pulled to safety.

Hours later, adrift on the wide-open water of Georgian Bay, in a lifeboat full of corpses, Christina is nervous about being alone with Daniel, a brooding young man with a likely criminal past and the only other passenger left alive. But they both know that working together is the only way they will find the strength to make it to safety.

Big Water is a fictional account of the real-life story of the only two survivors of the sinking of the SS Asia in 1882.

Opening Sentence: “The wind blasts my face.”


Big Water is a survivalist story through and through. It’s that mixture of harsh reality mixed with emotional turmoil that keeps you holding on as desperately to each moment as the characters hold on to the small strands keeping them alive.

What I Loved:

Christina is battling her memories as much as she battles the sea. Christina came to be on the ship after loosing her twin brother who was seen in her family to be the better twin. She’s there to prove something of herself and to get over her guilt and wish that she had been the twin to die instead.

Christina’s uncle. Her uncle is with her on the boat and struggles along with her for survival. The little things she does like singing to him to keep him awake as people in the boat begin dying were lovely touches.

Daniel’s backstory. I loved reading about Daniel and his uncle. Especially when there was a lot of mystery surrounding why they had an argument the night before the ship went down. It made Daniel layered as a character in a really great way.

Based in history. I really like that this is a fictional story inspired by real events. It’s something that causes a reader to really think about what they would have done in that situation. It adds a grounded reality to the fiction.

It’s ugly. Survival is never pretty. It’s awful and ugly and sad. It’s ultimately you vs. your demons vs. nature and you have to have the mental strength and will to do what it is necessary to come out of everything alive. The rules when it comes to straight survival are totally different from any other situation. It’s gritty and I loved that this book showcases all of that.

Final thoughts:

Big Water is emotional, edge of your seat, fast paced read based in history. It’s beautifully written and will make you wonder if you would have the grit to survive.

About the Author

Andrea Curtis is an award-winning writer in Toronto. She writes for both adults and children.

Her next book for kids is Eat This! How Fast Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (and How to Fight Back). It will be published in early 2017. It is a followup to her first award-winning children’s book, What’s for Lunch? How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World, published by Red Deer Press.

She is also working on a YA novel called Big Water. It’s based on the true story of a shipwreck on Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, and the harrowing experience of the two teenaged survivors.

Her most recent adult book, written with Nick Saul, is the National Bestseller, The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement. It is published by Random House Canada and Melville House Press in the US and UK. It was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award and won the Taste Canada Award for Culinary Narratives.

Andrea’s critically acclaimed creative nonfiction book Into the Blue: Family Secrets and the Search for a Great Lakes Shipwreck (Random House) won the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction.

Andrea’s writing has also appeared in Toronto Life, Cottage Life, Chatelaine, Canadian Geographic, Explore, This Magazine, Utne Reader, The Globe & Mail, The National Post and Today’s Parent, among other periodicals.

She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and two children.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!


12 thoughts on “Big Water: A Review

  1. I must not read a large range of books because I’m always saying “I need to read this soon!” But honestly I do 😂

    Liked by 1 person

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