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Underwater: A Novel Hardcover – January 12, 2016
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"Debut author Reichardt doesn’t oversimplify: Morgan isn’t saved by love; rather, new neighbor Evan reminds her of life and what it’s like to have a friend. As Evan, who has his own connection to the shooting, tells her, what he likes about Morgan is that she’s real, and that’s exactly what readers will appreciate about this book." ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Debut author Reichardt smartly reveals the source of Morgan's agoraphobia--a school shooting--very gradually, which, along with the sweet romance with Evan, urges the plot forward. Morgan's... story of growth and redemption will be rewarding for readers who love character-driven novels." ―Booklist
"Readers will enjoy the emotional balance Reichardt gives to the high stakes conflicts in a teen’s life." ―School Library Journal
"A moving, reflective exploration of grief, trauma, and how individuals find their paths toward resilience." ―Kirkus Reviews
"While this is a tender and appealing romance, it would also make a thoughtful complement to the many books about school shootings to illuminate the effects that last beyond the horrible day."― Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Reichardt's remarkable debut novel, told in Morgan's voice, is a sensitive and inspirational exploration of the aftermath of tragedy and of a young woman's grief and guilt. Young adults will enjoy sharing Morgan's passage from hurt to healing." ―VOYA
About the Author
Marisa Reichardt lives in Southern California with her family.
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UNDERWATER is the story of a girl dealing with the aftermath of something terrifying, something nobody should ever have to go through. It's the story of a family that has unraveled. It's about forgiveness and acceptance and grief and confessions and truth. And it's so stunningly real. Every page, every sentence, every word is authentic. This book made me hold my breath. This book made my heart hurt. This book made my eyes widen. This book made me compulsively turn pages. The words were alternately claws digging into me, sirens in my ears, weight on my chest, tears in my eyes. What Morgan felt, I felt. I spent a lot of this book hurting because she was hurting so badly. As an author, making readers care about a character that intensely is not easy to do. This is a testament to Marisa Reichardt's jaw-dropping talent.
As devastating as this book is, there is also so much hope infused in the pages. It's the kind of hope that feels slippery and out of reach at times, and that makes it real. There are different levels of hope and strength and they're intertwined. Sometimes they're twisted up in a knot but if they can get out of that knot, they can both become lifelines. When the book starts, Morgan is too scared to step onto her welcome mat. But as the story goes on, she gets stronger in so many ways. You'll cheer for every inch of her progress. If you're like me, you might cheer out loud and startle the Chihuahua sleeping on your lap.
Marisa's prose is piercing. It's a storm and a lullaby. The scope of her skill as an author is enormous and I'm still in awe. She has the rare ability to write the kind of voice that not just fully absorbs a reader, but fills the reader up. Her talent is both jaw-dropping and inspiring.
This is a book I need to read again. (Good thing I preordered months ago!) This is a book everyone needs to read. This is a book that has imprinted itself on my heart.
October 15th changes everything. Once popular seventeen-year-old Morgan doesn't go to school any more. She doesn't talk to her friends. She won't even step one toe out of her apartment door. Since October 15th she goes to online classes and has a therapist who visits twice a week. When Evan moves next door, he wants to know Morgan. She likes him too, but her emotional limitations might derail their potential romance before it starts.
Morgan is a great, character, steeped in the pain and trauma that often follows an acute tragedy. She feels her pain so deeply, she sometimes forgets others are also suffering, though over all she has mostly positive qualities. Almost all of the characters lacked real depth of positive and negative qualities, though none felt stereotypical.
UNDERWATER is one of the best book I've read showing the teenage client/therapist relationship. Morgan liked Brenda, worked hard to push herself, and engage in treatment. Too often YA lit depicts a clichéd angry client, rudely resisting her counselor, which has never been my experience as a therapist. UNDERWATER addresses the complexities if PTSD, anxiety and agoraphobia with accuracy and sensitivity. I love that Marisa Reichardt paralleled Morgan's struggles with PTSD with her father's Afghanistan PTSD. Reichardt did a great job showing the non-linear recovery process of mental illness and that flashbacks and relapses were not only part of the process, but showed how they spearheaded Morgan toward healing.
Repeat after me: romance is not a cure for all of life's problems.
I loathe novels that suggest or imply that a Cute Guy is a panacea for life's hardships or worse, that said Cute Guy saves the day because it sends the wrong message. In all likelihood Morgan would have been too traumatized to start a new relationship, maybe not even a friendship. I almost wish Evan had been a female friend rather than love interest, because that would have been more true to life.
Reichardt's writing engaged me from the first page through the last with great voice. She used short, crisp sentences illustrate Morgan's anxiety. I'll definitely look for more of her novels.
THEMES: violence, family, siblings, friendship, romance, mental illness, PTSD, agoraphobia, anxiety
I recommend UNDERWATER for a realistic story about recovering from trauma, mental illness, PTSD and agoraphobia.
Most recent customer reviews
Sadly, this is the world that we live in. Morgan lives in fear each day.Read more