Review of Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

UnderwaterUnderwater
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:
star

Summary:
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.

My January TBR Pile

I’m late on posting this but better late than never. I’ve read one book this month so far- Bookishly Ever After (look for the review soon). I’m pretty excited about all of the books and I’ve already started Keeper of the Mist, Assassin’s Heart and The Shadow Queen. None of these are working a 100% for me so we’ll see. I really want to love all three but I’m pretty close to DNFing.

The Books

Jan2016TBR

Have you read any of these yet??

Fledgling Author Chat- Contemporary, Mystery and Thrillers

 

fac2016

I  hope you enjoyed our first chats introducing you to some of the 2016 debut authors. We have another chat coming this Sunday at 3pm EST. This time we’re taking a look at the contemporary, mystery and thriller debuts. I wanted to post those titles for you so you can get more details.

The Books

25159262Liars and Losers Like Us 
by Ami Allen-Vath @amilouiseallen
Release Date: March 1 2016
Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Summary:
Keep calm and make it to prom night—without a legit panic attack.

For seventeen-year-old Bree Hughes, it’s easier said than done when gossip, grief, and the opportunity to fail at love are practically high-fiving her in the hallways of Belmont High.

When Bree’s crush, Sean Mills, gives her his phone number, she can’t even leave a voicemail without sounding like a freak. Then she’s asked to be on Prom Court because Maisey Morgan, the school outcast nominated as a joke, declined. She apologizes to Maisey, but it’s too late. After years of torment and an ugly secret shared with their class’s cruel Pageant Queen, Maisey commits suicide. Bree is left with a lot of regret…and a revealing letter with a final request.

With Sean by her side, Bree navigates through her guilt, her parents’ divorce, and all the Prom Court drama. But when a cheating-love-triangle secret hits the fan after a night of sex, drinks, and video games, she’s left with new information about Sean and the class Pageant Queen. Bree must now speak up or stay silent. If she lets fear be her guide, she’ll lose her first love, and head to prom to avenge the death of the school outcast—as a party of one.


22449806The Year We Fell Apart
by Emily Martin @thatEmilyMartin
Release Date: January 26th 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Summary:
In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from—and fix—her past.

Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially become the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.

Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.

While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.

As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.

In this honest and affecting tale of friendship and first love, Emily Martin brings to vivid life the trials and struggles of high school and the ability to learn from past mistakes over the course of one steamy North Carolina summer.


22864430 The Girl Who Fell
by Shannon M Parker @shannonmparker
Release Date: March 1st 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse

Summary:
His obsession.
Her fall.

In this dark kissing book, high school senior Zephyr Doyle is swept off her feet—and into an intense relationship—by the new boy in school.

Zephyr is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College.

But love has a way of changing things.

Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and most important, Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.

Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and…terrifying?

But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty—or worse, ashamed.

So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.

If she waits any longer, it may be too late.


23480844Firsts
by Laurie E Flynn @laurellizabeth
Release Date: January 5th 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.


23197843 Suffer Love 
by Ashley Herring Blake @ashleyhblake
Release Date: 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Summary:
Elizabeth Bewley at HMH has acquired world rights to Suffer Love by poet and debut novelist Ashley Herring Blake. The book, a modern-day take on Romeo and Juliet, tells of two teens brought together by attraction, only to be torn apart by their parents’ choices. It will pub in spring 2016; Rebecca Podos at Rees Literary brokered the deal.


23272028A Study in Charlotte
by Brittany Cavallaro @skippingstones
Release Date: March 1st 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Summary:
The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John Watson–wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.

Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.

Equal parts tender, thrilling, and hilarious, A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy brimming with wit and edge-of-the-seat suspense.


18629735 The First Time She Drowned 
by Kerry Kletter @kkletter
Release Date: March 15th 2016
Publisher: Philomel Books

Summary:
The beautifully sad struggle of a girl desperate for the one relationship that has caused her the most pain

Cassie O’Malley has spent her whole life trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically. It’s been two-and-a-half years since her mother dumped Cassie in a mental institution against her will for something Cassie claims she didn’t do. Now, at eighteen, Cassie enrolls in college, ready to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms.

But as she struggles to find her way forward, the startling truths she uncovers about her own family narrative make it impossible to cut the tethers of a tumultuous past. And when the unhealthy mother-daughter relationship that defined Cassie’s childhood and adolescence threatens to pull her under once again, Cassie must decide: whose version of history is the truth? And more important, whose life must she save?

A bold, literary story about the fragile complexities of mothers and daughters and learning to love oneself, The First Time She Drowned reminds us that we must dive deep into our pasts if we are ever to move forward.


Fear The Drowning Deep
by Sarah Glenn Marsh @SG_Marsh
Release Date: September 2016
Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Summary:
In 1913, a teen girl knows there’s something sinister in the waters around her Isle of Man home. Together with the mysterious boy who washes ashore, Bridey must face her fear–and the danger–before the ocean claims everyone she loves.


22692740 Symptoms of Being Human
by Jeff Garvin @jeffgarvinbooks
Release Date: February 2nd 2016
Publisher:  Balzer + Bray

Summary:
The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is . . . Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender-fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.


24529123 This is Where it Ends
by Marieke Nijkamp @mariekeyn
Release Date: January 5th 2016
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire

Summary:
10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.


Unscripted Joss Byrd
by Lygia Day Peñaflor @lygiaday
Release Date:  August 23rd 2016
Publisher: Roaring Book Press

Summary:
Katherine Jacobs at Roaring Brook has acquired Filming the Locals, a YA debut by Lygia Day Peñaflor about a young actress struggling to meet the demands of an ambitious director, his edgy script, and her pushy mother.

Publication is scheduled for spring 2016. Molly Ker Hawn at the Bent Agency brokered the deal for North American rights.


Flower
by Shea Olsen @SheaOlsenBooks
Release Date: July 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Summary:
Charlotte made a promise.
Charlotte will be Valedictorian.
Charlotte will get into college and escape the temptation that has plagued every woman in her family: boys.

Until the night, Tate Collins—bad-boy and pop icon—walks into the flower shop where Charlotte works, and everything she thought she wanted begins to break apart.

Tate Collins is famous, gorgeous, and desired by every high school girl across the country.
Tate Collins has a secret.
Tate Collins only wants one thing: Charlotte.

And desire will unravel them both.


21945590 Underwater
by Marisa Reichardt @youngadultish
Release Date: January 12th 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux

Summary:
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.


25613771 Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here
by: Anna Breslaw @annabreslaw
Release Date: April 2016
Publisher: Razorbill

Summary:
After her beloved TV show is cancelled, a teenage girl in New Jersey starts writing fanfiction about the popular kids at her high school.


 

22752127 The Serpent King
by Jeff Zentner @jeffzentner
Release Date: March 8th 2016
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers/Random

Summary:
The Serpent King is a book you won’t be able to resist or forget. The Southern boy in me savored every syllable and the reader in me fell in love with every page.” —John Corey Whaley, National Book Award finalist and Printz Award winner

Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

He and his fellow outcast friends must try to make it through their senior year of high school without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self. Graduation will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is content where he is thanks to his obsession with an epic book series and the fangirl turning his reality into real-life fantasy.

Their diverging paths could mean the end of their friendship. But not before Dill confronts his dark legacy to attempt to find a way into the light of a future worth living.


22608764 How it Ends
by Catherine Lo
Release Date:  June 7th 2016
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Summary:
How it begins…

“You’re in my English class, right?”
I almost checked behind me to make sure she wasn’t talking to someone else.

How it unravels…

“You can be my best friend without being my only friend.”
Her words were knives raked along my skin. I could hear the goodbye in every syllable.

How it Ends.

Why should I keep her secrets when she didn’t keep mine? All it would take was one little click and a carefully worded message.

How it Ends is an honest, heart-wrenching tale of a friendship from first meeting to breakup. Told through alternating points of view, it is about two best friends’ tumultuous sophomore year of bullying, boys and backstabbing and what can happen when friends choose assumptions and fear over each other.


Take a look at the science fiction, fantasy and historical debuts we talked about last Sunday. We’re also giving a pre-order of the 2016 debut of your choice away! Enter here.

Be sure to check out the Twitter chat #FAC16 Sunday, 3PM EST