by Marisa Reichardt
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Release Date: January 12, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Psychology, Realistic Fiction, Mental Illness
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then, herself.
But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school.
When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside.
Underwater is a powerful, hopeful debut novel about redemption, recovery, and finding the strength it takes to face your past and move on.
“And maybe he thinks fifteen minutes isn’t enough to be able to know anything. But in my experience, fifteen minutes can make all the difference. Fifteen minutes can change your whole life.”
The first time I read the synopsis for this book I knew two things: I had no idea what happened to this poor girl, and I absolutely HAD to read it. The day the publisher sent it to me (Thanks, Fierce Reads!) I picked it up. And I didn’t stop (except to text Loren that she also HAD to read this book…. and lots of OMGs) until I was finished, laying there knowing the world looked a little bit differently now. This book had shifted something in my mind, in my heart, and most importantly in my soul.
This is what I wrote on Goodreads the night I finished Underwater: I feel like this is one of the most important YA books I’ve read this year. Maybe ever. Two months later, I still agree with those feelings. After having time for my emotions to stasis, I still feel like this book is THE book everyone should be picking up this year. The book everyone should be talking about, stumbling over themselves to pick up and read. Because it is just that important.
“Sometimes the things we are sure of aren’t true at all.”
There isn’t a lot about Underwater that I’m going to tell you. And if someone does, you should practice the kingergarten-y “tra la la la la” singing whilst your eyes are closed and your fingers are in your ears. The less you know going in, the more this book is going to resonate. Slowly, Morgan’s story will reveal itself to you, in all the right moments. The wait is worth it. You will feel a building of emotion, a swell of uneasiness, and you will know something very wrong and very life-changing took place to encapture this girl away from the world. Seeing her go through her journey, though, walking it along with her, is worth every moment.
And while this book is about Morgan, it’s about us all. There’re a lot of good things happening in this book amidst the crapfest that is life. Morgan’s not had it easy, and even if the ‘thing’ that happened to her hadn’t happened, she’d still be dealing with a lot. This book will resonate with teens, because they will understand that they could just as easily be Morgan. It will resonate with parents, because they will see how quickly their child’s entire world can implode in just a few minutes. This book is important, it’s timely, and it’s compelling. You want to read it, even when it hurts.
But the good news is, with all the hurt, there are happy moments. You see the light at the end of the tunnel. You see Morgan blossom and come back to life. You see some incredibly sweet family moments. You see a wonderful romance and friendship that isn’t the end all of fixing Morgan but is a part of her recovery, and you see an amazing therapist/patient relationship that every person afraid to go to therapy should see.
It’s not easy, but it is worth it. Every single page.
My debut YA contemporary novel, UNDERWATER, will be out 1/12/16 from Macmillan/FSG and 4/7/16 Macmillan Children’s UK.
I love all books and all genres. While I do keep track of all the books I’ve read here, I generally don’t do ratings or reviews.
One lucky Such a Novel Idea winner will receive a finished copy of Underwater, thanks to Fierce Reads. You must be a US resident. Follow the directions on the rafflecopter and see the rules below for further questions. Best of luck!