Underwater Paperback – 7 Apr 2016
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A modern gem for the modern world… (Lancashire Evening Post)
The most compelling book you'll read this yearSee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
Underwater is a story about Morgan who is battling to overcome her fears. Morgan can’t leave home and at first, we don’t find out the reason why. This doesn’t affect your enjoyment of the story as the reader gets to follow Morgan as she learns to overcome her fears. Morgan no longer goes to school (so she has to do her learning online) and she no longer socialises. Morgan has accepted this as her future, but then a boy named Evan moves next door and Morgan’s outlook on life begins to change.
I thought this was a fantastic debut novel. Marisa Reichardt’s writing makes it easy to turn the pages and devour the story. I have to admit that I was slightly worried when Evan came in. I didn’t want this to become a story where the introduction of a boy made all the difference and made the character conquer their mental health issues. That’s not real. Underwater takes the reader along the pathway to Morgan’s recovery. It wasn’t easy for her which I appreciated. It makes the story much more believable.
Not the most eloquent of reviews, but my point is that I never, ever do that, which should give you an indication of just how much I really loved this novel. This is one of those books that I can’t tell you much about because it would definitely spoil it, but trust me when I say that I’d recommend it to everyone.
The family Underwater centres around is one of the most beautiful families I’ve ever read about. Morgan’s little brother Ben is a key character in this novel, playing a major part in Morgan’s journey to recovery, so it was an absolute joy to read about their relationship.
Then there’s Evan, who is so incredibly supportive it’ll make your heart swell. He’s patient and understanding, and I loved getting to know him as Morgan did.
I suffer from anxiety myself, although on a much, much smaller scale than Morgan. But that’s why I found it utterly reassuring whilst reading Underwater to know that there are people out there who can fully understand that feeling of anxiety that I know all too well. It’s so important for sufferers of anxiety and other mental health issues to know that they’re not alone.
It’s equally important for those who’ve never suffered with anxiety to read books like this one, as it will help them understand such a complex illness and potentially help others overcome it. Mental health has always been somewhat of a taboo subject, but that needs to change, and it’s people like Marisa Reidchart who’re making that happen.
This book was just what I needed! I’m sitting here with a distinct feeling of lightness in my heart because it has been so long since I read a book that reminded me of how much I love reading! Recently I’ve been feeling like reading is an obligation, the weight of review books has been felt very much so on these shoulders and the idea of picking a random book and losing myself in it felt like a distant memory.
Underwater helped me recall what it was like to –
1. Resent putting a book down to do ridiculous things like work and eat
2. Have butterflies flutter in my stomach because of gorgeously emotive writing.
3. Fall in love with fictional characters again and just root for them so dang hard.
Underwater is the debut novel of Marisa Reichardt and let me just say this: Get writing girlfriend because you are on my auto-buy list for sure! All the books, Marisa! ALL THE BOOKS! ;)
In Underwater, we meet Morgan, a junior in high school who is a self-imposed shut-in after witnessing a horrific school shooting. Suffering from PTSD, Morgan shuts herself away from the world, attending school online and her only human contact is with her therapist, mom and cuter than cute little brother Ben.
When her new neighbour knocks on the door and Morgan forces herself to open it, she begins to slowly remember what it’s like to be out in the world again when it’s not always so dark and twisty. Can Morgan find the courage and strength to reconcile with the past and move towards a more hopeful future?
We hear so much about school shootings on the news, we see the students gathering in groups, sobbing, on phones to loved ones. We hear sound bites from eye-witnesses, the sensationalised accounts from reporters, the soulless looking photos of the perpetrators, carefully selected by the media to direct the story their way. We never hear about the aftermath. The immediate aftermath yes but not how it is to be a survivor months later, when everyone else has moved on to the next tragedy and you’re left there, struggling to cope. Underwater lends us an insight into what that’s like with Morgan’s story.
The trauma of that day and its aftermath has a long reaching effect on Morgan, her family and friends. As Morgan struggles to reconcile her feelings on the events of that fateful day in October, we also get to see how it affects her mom, brother and wider circle. The feeling of helplessness is certainly shared equally in this family and it was powerful to witness the courage and strength these characters drew from each other to make it through just one more day.
The characters are truly the most blessed part of this novel and I absolutely adored each and every one. Reichardt managed to imbue even the most insignificant of secondary characters with realism and charm that meant you would remember them long after the last page was regretfully turned. I connected immediately with Morgan, her personality was irresistible and her story one I was eager to see unfold from the beginning. Her relationship with her mom and brother was simply gorgeous to witness, the depth of love these three have for each other radiates from the page and every scene was filled with emotion.
It would have been so easy for the romance in this book to have been the typical “Damaged girl meets cute guy, who heals her with a smile and hot kisses” fluff piece but Reichardt takes care to ensure the romance is secondary to the work Morgan does herself to heal. As Morgan comes to terms with the darkness and pain of her past, her relationship with Evan brings levity to the heavy emotion, reminding Morgan of the girl she used to be, the girl she still is underneath the sorrow. I adored Evan, I loved his own back-story and how he persevered with Morgan, helping to make her feel safe whilst still challenging her and encouraging her.
The writing was understated, allowing the emotion to shine through as these wonderful characters brought me to tears, made me smile, filled me with hope and gifted me with pure joy.
A story of hope in the darkest of circumstances, of the strength and tenacity of the human spirit to keep trying and the courage to heal, forgive and redeem – Underwater is simply stunning.
Most recent customer reviews
Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. One of my favourite YA contemporaries!Read more
Ever since a shooting at her high school, Morgan hasn't left...Read more
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