Book Review: Breathing Under Water by Sophie Hardcastle

Wednesday, August 3, 2016
I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...

Title: Breathing Under Water
Author: Sophie Hardcastle
Publication Date: July 12th 2016

Synopsis: "Nineteen minutes and eleven seconds separated us at birth. On the official documentation, he is older... Although it really has nothing to do with age. What it really means is that I am, and have always been, second.

Ben and Grace Walker are twins. Growing up in a sleepy coastal town it was inevitable they'd surf. Always close, they hung out more than most brothers and sisters, surfing together for hours as the sun melted into the sea. At seventeen, Ben is a rising surf star, the golden son and the boy all the girls fall in love with. Beside him, Grace feels like she is a mere reflection of his light. In their last year of school, the world beckons, full of possibility. For Grace, finishing exams and kissing Harley Matthews is just the beginning.

Then, one day, the unthinkable. Suddenly all that was safe and predictable is lost. And everything unravels."

My thoughts: I have fallen a little behind on my review books and such, so I was a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to remember enough about this book to do it justice. However, as I was writing out the blurb, it all came rushing back to me, and I suddenly feel the urge to pick it up again.

I will be completely honest here and say that I really thought I wouldn't be impressed by this, but I am so glad I was wrong. This book is heartbreaking, amazing, and lyrical. The writing draws you in, the characters keep you there. Hardcastle has created an amazing story that managed to make me cry about three different times (actually pretty hard), and I read the majority of it in one sitting.

The surfing element of this story complements everything really well, and the descriptions of being in the ocean, that mix of exhilaration and fear, was just brilliantly done. So many different issues are explored (some trigger warnings here, just so you know), and I think they are each touched on well without making the entire story dragged from one tangent to the next, which I think can happen when exploring things like grief for different parts of life.

The only thing that was a drawback for me was that I felt it kind of dragged in one area for a little too long, and I found myself getting a little frustrated with Grace for not realising certain things very quickly (so very carefully trying not to give spoilers!), but even that is a fairly small complaint.

This is a fantastic YA novel, which reminded me why YA is so important. Keep an eye out this week for more content related to this novel - I'm so excited to share with you!

(I received a review copy of this book from Hachette in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!)

A favourite line from the book: 'Mum sets her glass down on the table, her red wine lips spread into a smile. 'I believe in the sun and the moon,' she says.
The sun, radiant and alive.
The moon, a mere reflection of his light.'

You would like this book if: you like good YA that explores serious issues that need to be discussed; you want a deep emotional connection to some characters.

Tea to drink while reading this book: Oh, obviously Gone Surfing from T2!

Rating:  9/10

If you'd like to keep up to date with what I'm reading, follow me on Goodreads here!

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