REVIEW Underwater.

TITLE. Underwater
AUTHOR. Marisa Reichardt
PUBLISHER. Farrar, Straus and Giroux
RELEASE DATE. January 12th 2016
PAGES. 288
GENRE. Young Adult, Contemporary

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.



Standalone, and it has a closed ending. 

I choose this book because the summary sounded very intriguing. I’ve never read a book about someone with Agoraphobia, and I was very curious about what happened and what made her this way. 

Very thoughtful book. You know, this is one of those books that make you really think. Think about life and how we take it for granted sometimes, and how people react differently when they go throw some rough stuff. How bad things can happen to good people and how it ruins them. But also, how those same people, slowly, with ups and downs, get it back together, and start living again. There is a certain beauty in that. 

To me, this was a very emotional read. I might be an emotional person, but this book really made me sympathise with the main character, Morgan. I hate it how unfair life can be sometimes, and how some awful situations can make people afraid to live again. Too afraid to even get them out of their house. 

So the story is about Morgan, and at the beginning of the book we find out she is agoraphobic. Or in simpler words, she is afraid to be out in the open, of being in an area with no easy escape. She is afraid to leave the safety of her own home. What exactly happened on the 15th of October last year, we don’t know yet and later on, we only know a small part of it. I’m not going to spoil it all, but on that day one of her fellow classmates came to school carrying guns, and used them on everyone he could find. A lot of people died that day, and the school was closed. For Morgan this all manifested in her becoming afraid of the outside world and staying inside.
Apart from that, she has problems with her father. He used to be in the army, and went throw some rough stuff as well, ending up with PTSD. It went so far that he is not welcome anymore at their house and spends his time drinking and disappearing.
But, things start to change when her new neighbours arrive, and Evan stands in front of her door. He wakes something up in her that has been asleep for a long time, and slowly, she starts to become better. Of course, it has its ups and downs, but she wants to be better, and not just for others, but for herself as well.

I liked the pace of this book, just steady, not dwindling too long. The plot itself had a steady pace as well, I liked how she kept certain parts of that day a secret, it kept me guessing what had happened.. How things were different for her, why she felt guilty for that day. 

It is a harsh topic, it is hard to imagine that someone felt so awful and bad that he saw no other choice than to go to school and start shooting at everybody. It leaves behind so many questions for the people who lost someone dear to them, questions that those people never will get the answer to. I hate it that we live in a world were these things actually happen, that, even though this story isn’t real, it does happen to people out there. This is not the same as some fantasy story with evil Queens and knights in shining armor, these things happen out there and it is horrible.  

It is also interesting to see how people react differently to these things. Some seem to be okay (at least on the outside) and others well, they don’t dare to leave the house anymore. The story also tells about a classmate of Morgan, Taylor, who completely changed as well. She has a scar on her arm were a bullet grazed her. But were Morgan stayed inside and does nothing, Taylor goes to the gym and works out. She has become hardened, not only on the inside, but on the outside as well. People deal in different ways, because well, everybody is different and works on things in its own way.

I did like the romance in this book, even though it stayed more on the background then I had expected. Yes they develop feelings for each other and it is all really cute and stuff, but it is not what the book is about. He is part of the reason she starts getting better, he stimulates her, but others around her as well. Like her mother and little brother. Oh how I love Ben, he is so adorable ! But because of him (he has a play that he really likes his big sister to come to) she sets a goal for herself, so she can be there for him. And her mother has such a hard time, with raising her children on her own and a husband who they have lost faith in. 

But most of all, I really liked Morgan. She keeps faith and works hard to get better. I was so proud of her with every step she took out of that house ! She was so strong and brave. I have no idea how I would react when all of that would have happened to me (and I hope that it never will happen), but she got it together again at the ending and I am really proud of that !

“1. Breathe
2. You are okay
3. You are not dying”
“Brenda taps me on the chin so I’ll look at her. She holds her hand to her chest. She presses it firmly to her heart. “Your heart needs comfort and reassurance. Give it that. Don’t be a victim. Be a survivor.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t know. I’m sorry you didn’t have any friends or someone you thought you could talk to. I’m sorry you thought you had only one solution to your problems. I wish you’d gotten help.
I wish things hadn’t happened the way they did.
I want to hate you, but hating you has gotten me nowhere. Forgiving you will start the healing. Forgiving you will allow me to forgive myself.
I know you will never see this, but I needed to write it. It needed to be said.
I forgive you.”

I really liked this book, it had less romance than I expected, but in return I got a really good story. It really made me think about the world, about society, and I thoroughly appreciate that in a book. It is a good alternation from all the fantasy I’ve been reading lately. So, I would like to give this book 4.5 Freyja’s and I would sincerely recommend it to you.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this one! It is a very thought provoking and intriguing book. I really loved it myself. :)

    1. Thanks, yes it really is. Great that you loved it as well :)


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