Knockdown by Brenda Beem

SKU 978-1-77130-870-0

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A sail boat can tip over and come back up again. Sailors call this a knockdown.  

In eighteen hours a mega tsunami will hit the Pacific Coast. It will leave in its wake massive destruction and the threat of an ice age.  

Sixteen-year-old Toni, her brothers, and their friends race the clock as they sail Toni’s family boat far out to sea. They must get beyond where the wave crests, or the boat will be crushed.  

Without their parents to guide them, the reluctant crew improvises. Romances bloom and tempers flare. There is no privacy. Cell phones won’t work. The engine breaks down. They are running out of time.  

Even if they survive the wave, there is nowhere in this ravaged world to go. When disaster strikes, it is up to Toni to find the strength to lead the crew when her brothers cannot.

14+ for violence and adult situations



Then Whistler hit bottom.


There were terrible wood splintering sounds as she strained to hold together. Bottles and dishes exploded. The table landed with a loud thump on the floor.


Then silence, except for the static from the radio. Nick reached over and flipped it off.


I lay back on the cabin floor and looked up. Water covered the skylight above me. Air bubbles floated toward the surface. I gasped. We were under the water. Whistler had gone down. It was over.


We were going to die.


I wept.


All our work.


All for nothing.


The boat shuddered and shook. I glanced around at the walls and hatches, crying in despair, waiting for water to spew in. Even if she held together, we couldn’t swim to the surface. Not in the icy water. And we’d run out of air if we stayed below.


I worked my foot free and crawled to the galley, and Cole. He moaned as I rolled him over to check his breathing. He was alive, but a large welt was forming on his forehead. I cradled him in my arms and waited to die.


The boat rocked.


“Look!” Takumi pointed at the skylight.


I shook my head.


“Come on, Toni. You have to see this.”


“What?” Nick asked. Jervis disappeared into Angelina and Makala’s room. I heard Angelina tell him they were okay as Makala sobbed.


I hugged Cole tighter. Didn’t they realize we were all going to die? I closed my eyes and let the tears fall. We were under the ocean. Who knew how far down we’d gone. It was hopeless.


Dylan emerged from the bedroom. He ran to Cole and me. “What happened?” he asked.


Takumi explained how Cole hit his head.


“I’ll get Zoë.” Dylan raced back to the bow.


Soon a disheveled Zoë emerged, supported by Dylan.


Takumi knelt beside me. “Toni, please. Come look.”


“Go with Takumi. I need to check Cole’s head,” Zoë ordered.


“Go away!” I cried. It was too late. Why wouldn’t they leave Cole and me alone?


“Toni, get out of the way.” Dylan pulled me away from Cole.


I struggled against him. “We’re going to die. Don’t you see?”


“I see my brother hurt and Zoë can help him. Go with Takumi.”


I shook my head.


Takumi wrapped his arm around me and helped me stand. I gave up and leaned into him, balancing on one leg, grimacing when I put pressure on my ankle. I took a deep breath and wondered how many I had left.


We carefully crossed the main salon until we stood under the skylight. Nick was beside us. I glanced back at Cole and hung my head.


“Look up,” Takumi said.


“I can’t,” I whispered.


He lifted my chin. “Toni, it will be all right. Trust me.”


I studied his face.


He smiled. “Trust me,” he said again.


I raised my head. It was dark, but droplets of water bounced off the glass. I squinted. That was odd. Water doesn’t bounce when you’re under it. I wiped my eyes. Was I looking at strange air bubbles?


The boat bobbed. The droplets ran in rivers off the glass.


I glanced at Takumi.


“That’s what I was trying to show you.”


Small sparkling dots appeared, blurred in the tiny puddles. The boat rocked again. A bright orb of light shone down from above. We were looking at the stars and the moon. We’d floated to the surface.



Product Reviews

Score: 5 out of 5 (based on 4 ratings)
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Thought provoking story! Really loved it.
Written by Mikiko Yokoyama on 12th Jan 2017

I just got done reading the first book in James Dasher's, the Maze Runner series, and picked up this awesome little gem in a package deal for rest of the other books in the series: First Impressions - There is a fair amount of build-up in the initial chapters. Usually I don't love the anticipation of a catastrophe, but in this case it's ok because the writing is compelling and they give a lot of character development while waiting for the big wave. The characters deal with things in a very natural way, in the sense that they don't feel forced and completely unrealistic. Nothing fake. Once the story starts moving (when the wave hits) - I couldn't put it down. Granted, I recently have been reading a lot of books like the Hunger Games series, so this disaster type book is right up my alley, but I really dug the way the characters had to eek out an existence on a tiny boat. A lot of great imagery. The characters were either super hatable or the people I want to make into my new BFF. Final Impressions - Really enjoyed the book overall and plan on passing it on to some friends. The story does leave a lot on the table. The what-happens-next factor is huge. I'm hoping for another book, or two or three? And not like a Song of Fire and Ice/Winds of Winter kind of thing!!!!!

Dystopian Gem
Written by Sarah on 12th Jan 2017

I bought this book from a recommendation from a friend and was glad that I picked it up. The author paints a world that is believable and provides a fast paced novel that is full of twists and turns. The writing style includes a significant amount of dialogue so it reads similar to a movie which I believe enhances the overall experience. I also enjoyed the sailing jargon as I am a sailor myself. Overall I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoyed Hunger Games, Divergent, and the Maze Runner. I cant wait for book two!

Perfect Story for Active Teen
Written by Dennis on 12th Jan 2017

My granddaughter is an active, independent, sports loving teen. This book sounded perfect for her so I bought it. From what she said, it had more than enough physical excitement with storms at sea and motorcycle gangs in port. But, more important for her, it had real, gutsy, interpersonal excitement. The cabin of the sailboat is a very small world for nine teenagers and one dog to share. There's nowhere for anyone to go to to brush their teeth in private, or something a lot more intimate. Everything one of the kids on the boat did was seen, or heard by someone else. So raw feelings had to be shared and solved, or they didn't survive. Fights happened, staying mad or sulking couldn't. My granddaughter liked the main character, Toni. But she giggled and talked most about Zoe. A beautiful cheerleader who had to become the crews' medic. Zoe, when she wasn't being unbelievably selfish was taking care of someone or providing an off-the-wall solution to a big problem. She was so in to the characters that I read it myself so that we could talk. And, even though I'm old enough to be a grandfather, I actually enjoyed reading the novel. The book has a good story line. I'm really glad I bought the book for her.

KNOCKDOWN is a knockout
Written by FictionReader on 12th Jan 2017

I loved this book. It’s hard to put down, and it has everything I could possibly want in a novel: lots of action, suspense with real stakes, sweet romance, and an original plot. I like stories of survival against impossible odds. The suspense is almost unbearable at a times, but the lighthearted, humorous moments are there to give the characters respite and hope. It even has moral and ethical questions (I wouldn’t want to make the hard decision those teenagers had to make). My favorite characters are without a doubt, Toni, Takumi, and the Whistler (yes, the boat is a great character). I felt like I lived in the Whistler, and that made the story even more real and urgent. Toni is a one of a kind character, a real life girl who struggles at first, but grows and shows remarkable strength under unimaginable duress. It’s a fast-paced, engrossing novel: engaging characters, excellent plotting, sharp and realistic dialogue. I’m hoping for a sequel.