Underwater by Marisa Reichardt
YA – Contemporary
Published January 12th 2016 by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
So What’s It About
High School junior, Morgan, is living with agoraphobia after a tragic event. She feels responsible and must learn presumably learn acceptance before she’ll have the strength to move past her front door. Unable to see her friends or go to school her only connections with people come from living with her mom and brother and her therapist who comes by for appointments two times a week. When new boy Evan moves in next door, he changes Morgan’s routine for the better.
Underwater was okay but not a stand-out for me. I can’t even describe how slow this story was for a good chunk of the book. Morgan’s life is essentially on hold and that was really well represented. Her panic attacks felt inconvenient to her life and very real and I liked that aspect but it made for a really slow story when that’s all that happened for ¾ of the novel.
The one moment I really felt connected to Morgan as a character is when she had her “revelation.” When she relived that day it was told really well and I felt for Morgan and everything she had been through. Once she had her revelation (I keep calling it that because I don’t want to spoil anything even though it isn’t huge shocker) her recovery process was sped up but it was still slow. She was making plans but not trying to do everything at once and I thought that was very sensitive and realistic. Her anxiety and depression didn’t just go away, there was no magic cure, and I loved that.
The only downside about her recovery for me was that it included Evan. OMIGOSH the amount of problems I have with this romance is astounding and I think that’s why the pacing felt so slow for me. Even when it moved on to the romance I was still so meh about all of him.
- The moment that almost kick starts everything for Morgan’s recovery is Evan moving in next door. I understand romance makes the story “better,” sure. However, she was also working towards going to see her brother’s play and I would have liked more of a focus on that.
- Evan was awful in every way. He knew about her fears and why she had her fears yet he took it incredibly personally when she wouldn’t hang out with him. To “get back” at her for “ignoring” him he just ignored her and pretended they were never friends. Sorry she was crawled up in ball for a week and you weren’t her number one priority?
- Once Morgan shows Evan she’s progressing then he decides he can forgive, for what I’m still not sure.
Probably not. I’m glad I read this but it wasn’t my favorite. There was a lot of angst about a lot of different issues, some explained really well and some blipped over. I thought Morgan was amazing I just hated Evan so much that is almost borderline unreasonable. Read if you love teen angst combined with some very good portrayals of serious issues.