Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Release Date: January 12th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Psychology, Realistic Fiction, Mental Illness
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.
This book was so beautiful in such an unexpected way. It’s one of those that I’m in the odd position of really wanting to sit down and discuss with people who have already read it, and not wanting to spoil any of the discovery of it for those who haven’t.
I went into this book not really knowing what sort of a gift it was going to be and I think that’s part of what made it such a fantastic experience and I don’t want to take that away from anyone else. So I kind of want to let the synopsis stand.
But I do want to say that OMYGOD wow I did love this book. Marisa Reichardt is a fantastic writer. There was no trying to sit through 20 pages of getting comfortable with this book. The skill with which she brings these characters and settings to life was absolutely jaw-dropping. My writer-self was in major awe and slowing down to try and figure out exactly how she managed to paint such an honest, raw atmosphere with characters that felt like they were born instead of dreamt and place some really gripping important issues at the center of a YA contemporary novel without apologizing and with such truth.
Let me get a little writer geek on you here. One of the ways she does it, is with her precision. There is no lazy writing here. Every single word in this book is careful, perfect, and elevates this to another level. It sings even more thanks to her refusal to just let her words tell the story… she has one of the most active voices I’ve read in a contemporary YA and it’s glorious!
I highly recommend picking this one up because of the writing alone. But I especially recommend it for fans of YA contemp. The romance in it is lovely but I love that I didn’t feel like it was the only thing in the book. I’m always a fan of YA contemps that attempt to tackle serious issues but this one has a special place in my heart because it went one that I’ve had personal experience with; PTSD. The portrayal was so absolutely true that it was breathtakingly hard to read at times.
Beyond that, there’s just an overall beauty to a story with some ugly things in it. Beauty in the words sometimes, beauty in the relationships, in the happy moments, in healing, in acceptance and in change.
I hope you enjoyed our stop on the Underwater tour, I really do you hope you guys will pick this one up! As usual, I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read the book, heard things about it, or just have thoughts on the review. Ramble on in the comments.