Review of Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

By: Marisa Reichardt
Release Date: January 12th 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A  copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

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.

My Thoughts:
I have made it a goal to expand my reading to other genres outside of fantasy and sci-fi so when I saw the chance to read Underwater I was very excited. I loved the summary and had high hopes that this would be a really wonderful read. This book didn’t let me down in the slightest. What a powerful book! It was a fast and emotional read which had me completely immersed start to finish.

Reichardt explored how Morgan’s life changed after she experienced a traumatic event. I felt this was handled so well and the mystery of what that event was added to the suspense. The idea that one event could drastically change somebody’s approach to everyday life was so heartbreaking and really led me to think how I would react in a similar situation. I deal with some very mild anxiety so I could relate to Morgan’s struggles though what I’ve experienced didn’t touch what she was dealing with. It was so enlightening to think about and contemplate. I feel that this book is a very important look into anxiety, mental health and post traumatic disorder.

There was a whole lot of action in this novel but I still found it to be such a fast read. The writing was clear and concise and still managed to evoke so much emotion. And though everything was safe for Morgan in her present situation I was still nervous for her and the little flashbacks she had to the moment things changed had me riveted, It was all very well executed and also, sadly, seemed very true to life.

I was so intrigued with Morgan’s story and watching her come to terms with her past. Her emotions were so well described it caused this to be a very emotionally impactful read. Once I started I didn’t want to stop until I had finished- and this was all based on the character development and interactions between them. The relationships Morgan had with her family were so beautifully done. Because of her isolation she didn’t have that many people in her life but the author made each well developed and rounded. They all added so much to her story especially her therapist.

Once the boy next door, Evan, entered the story (pretty quickly I might add) you watch Morgan’s interests and independence blossom. I loved how she had to work through the slow process of healing. Though this was instigated by another person it was only within herself that she found the strength to overcome the obstacles blocking her path to recovery. I think that some readers might find the idea that a boy coming into Morgan’s life changed and ‘fixed’ her. I think it had less to do with who this person was that inspired her and more Morgan seeing that there was a life out there that was worth working for.

Final Thoughts:
What a beautifully developed and executed debut Underwater was. I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a character driven story about recovery and struggling with personal obstacles.