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Welcome to my stop on the tour for Underwater by Marisa Reichardt! 

Today I shall review the book, and then give you a chance to win your own beautiful finished copy, thanks to the lovely people at The FFBC and Fierce Reads! 

Underwater by Marisa Reichardt
Published by Farrar on January 12th 2016
Pages: 288

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.


Is it weird that I connected to Morgan first as a swimmer? I mean, I was hooked from that point on, because swimming. Not that it was what the book was about, but apparently I feel camaraderie with all swimmers, even fictional ones. And then you add in the (what I assume would be classified as) agoraphobia she’s suffering from due to trauma, and yeah, sold.

There are two things about this book that I loved best: Morgan’s journey, and Morgan’s relationship with her family. 

It’s hard to get into Morgan’s whole process because basically, I don’t plan on spoiling stuff. She works with a counselor to help her overcome the things in her life that are keeping her quite literally trapped inside her small apartment bubble. The outside world is too scary, too unknown, and Morgan just can’t face it. So her therapist comes to her. I loved that Brenda (the therapist) was so willing to think outside the box and treat Morgan however she had to. They had a good patient-counselor relationship, and I found Brenda’s responses and actions to be appropriate and well presented, which is absolutely essential for me in a book with mental health representation. The only people Morgan ever physically encounters outside of Brenda are her mom, her little brother Ben, and Evan, the guy who just moved into her apartment complex.

Morgan’s family is just amazing. Her mom loves her so much, and the best part was that Morgan loved her mom right back. She referenced several times in the book that her mom’s opinions were so important to her- as were Ben’s. You could tell how fiercely she loved that little boy, and it made my heart swell.

And I can’t even tell you the best moment of the book for me, because it would be ten different kinds of spoilery, but it gave me so many feels at once… oh my goodness. There are a lot of really sweet moments throughout, and a lot of really somber and tense ones too, but that is what gives it such a realistic feeling! Her family was so supportive, but they also got frustrated, just like anyone would. And Morgan learned so, so much about herself and others during the book- it was quite the journey indeed.

So book was perfect?

Ah, not quite, my darlings. First, I felt like the “mystery” was a bit… overdone. I didn’t know why it was a mystery, frankly. Or at least, why some of it was.  Also, I don’t know how exactly to explain the other parts without spoiling stuff.  Such a quandary. You people always read the spoiler tags even if I say not to but… I guess you’re mature enough to decide for yourselves. I will leave them as non-spoilery as a spoiler tag can be, but if you haven’t read the book…

View Spoiler »

Bottom Line

Aside from those few small things, this was a really solid book. It was a combination of emotions, which is always a win, and I loved the focus on family. Morgan’s struggles were portrayed quite well, and she was definitely a character to root for.


About Marisa Reichardt

Marisa Reichardt is a SoCal native and high school writing instructor. She has a Master of Professional Writing degree from the University of Southern California and dual undergraduate degrees in literature and creative writing from UC San Diego. She spent her college years shucking oysters, waiting tables, and peddling swimwear. She has spent her post-grad years writing, tutoring, and teaching. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her family, and can usually be found huddled over her laptop in coffeehouses or swimming in the ocean.

My debut YA contemporary novel, UNDERWATER, will be out 1/12/16 from Macmillan/FSG and 4/7/16 Macmillan Children's UK.


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Win One (1) finished copy of UNDERWATER by Marisa Reichardt (US Only)
Please be sure to read the Terms & Conditions in the Rafflecopter! Good luck 😀

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Posted January 11, 2016 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Giveaway, Review / 35 Comments


35 responses to “Review & Giveaway: Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

  1. This book sounds relatively interesting. The synopsis has definitely caught my attention. I am sorry to hear that the mystery was a tad overdone; however, that aspect probably won’t stop me from reading this sometime in the future. I want to experience the feels you speak of. Lovely review c:

  2. CONSIDER ME INTRIGUED. But then I basically am intrigued by all books and want to read them all. -_- My TBR does not thank me. Anyway I didn’t actually realise what this was about (I guessed drowning? mermaids?? having issues with furniture falling in the pool?) and actually the topics sounds really intriguing to me so YAY. GONNA GOODREADS THIS.

  3. I’ve been on the fence when it comes to Underwater but I’m definitely reconsidering now because I love what you had to say about Morgan’s journey and her family. I love that her bond with her mom is so strong and goes both ways. I wish we had more mother-daughter relationships in YA books like that.
    I refrained from clicking the spoiler but I’ll come back and check it out once I read it.
    Wonderful review, Shannon! 🙂

    • Totally agree- the mother-daughter relationship is SO important, yet so few books seem to include it, unless it is negative! And I mean, sure, they have spats, but it’s a very positive relationship overall and I love it! And yes, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts after you read it! Hope you enjoy it 😀

  4. I just finished reading this and was surprised about how good it was! I also loved Morgan’s relationship with her family…especially her little brother. I always feel like there isn’t enough family interaction in YA books, but this one definitely had plenty and it was awesome. It was also pretty easy to connect to Morgan’s character and really get into the story.

  5. I only just heard of this one in the last few days. There doesn’t seem to be enough there to really grab me but I’m glad to see you mostly enjoyed it. Funny the things that sometimes connect us to a book – or at least give us that initial “gotta read that” factor. Love hearing that Morgan has a great family and the relationships are portrayed so well. Bonus!

  6. When I first saw this book, the first thing that came to mine was… what the heck is going on with that cover? Why is there a couch underwater? But now that I’ve read a few reviews, I’m actually really curious about this one. It sounds so good. And I’m excited to finally read about a wonderful family. Wahoo! That spoiler tag is killing me right now, though. But I’m resisting 😉

    • Bwhahah right? I wanted to know about the couch too! It makes sense though after the story. But I kind of just wanted it to be a thing for me to actually have. For lazy pool times, you know? YAY for resisting the spoiler! I really think that kid in the GIF is holding you guys accountable 😀

  7. SHANNON, the spoiler tags! But, I DIDN’T READ THEM. I didn’t let the little spoiler sign tempt me!
    Basically, I need to read this book asap and I didn’t spoil myself and this was a lovely review, Shannon! I really want to know what this favorite part of yours was, so I supposed I will be forced to read the book. Oh, and bonus, good relationships with her family members/?? WHAAT? I didn’t know there was such a thing as a YA character who loves and respects her mom! =)

  8. I used to be a swimmer (before I realized it wasn’t really my forte and I turned to gymnastics, but that’s a whole nother story…) so this sounds really good in that regard. It’s a shame that the mystery felt a bit overdone, but it sounds amazing other than that. xD Thanks for sharing Shannon and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

    • Oh wow, I didn’t know you had been a swimmer! I will try not to question you too much- ask Val, I questioned her incessantly, and then when I felt we were close enough, I Googled her times 😀

      It really was quite a good book! Thanks so much!

  9. I absolutely lovedddddd this book to pieces! It’s been forever since I’ve read a book that covered mental illness, so it was so refreshing to read from Morgan’s perspective. I loved how close her family was, and how positive Brenda and Evan were to her situation. It was just amazing, so glad you were able to enjoy it!

  10. Hmm… I do want to try this one although I am mostly seeing 3/4 stars on this tour. I like the idea about this being about a swimmer. I used to swim a whole lot more but unfortunately just don’t have the time anymore, especially with basketball trainings 🙁 But I like the idea of the mystery even though it is a tad overdone at the beginning. And I love it when family is featured a lot too 😀

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