I think there should be a book under every tree and in every stocking, no matter the age.
Breathing Under Water is the debut novel by Sophie Hardcastle, an emotionally powerful novel about life, death, love and learning to live with loss.
This book is written beautifully. It is raw and honest and heartbreaking. Hardcastle takes you to the depths of loss, where it seems her characters could be lost for good, but slowly they find themselves moving back towards the light.
Grace and Ben Walker are twins, inseparable for most of their lives and spending more time together than most brothers and sisters. Living in a sleepy coastal town they spend a lot of time surfing together and are both quite talented.
Breathing Under Water gives us an inside look at their lives and is written in the first person by 17yr old Grace. The voice is authentically adolescent, it felt like it was written by a 17yr old. It captures the promise and the excitement of the last year of school, the first tastes of freedom and the crushing devastation of the first loss.
I think this is an important read for mature teens, it deals with a lot of tough issues and the teens in the book cope in ways that I found completely relatable and believable; which are a little beyond the younger and mid-teens. The themes of love and loss are important for all of us but I think some of the coping mechanisms are best left to a slightly older audience. There are some earlier scenes that would be good for educational purposes and awareness but still more appropriate for slightly older teens.
Breathing Under Water is definitely not a light summer beach read, it’s going to hit readers hard but I think it’s a beautiful story that will be sure to engage and enchant.
Breathing Under Water is published by Hachette and is available now were all good books are sold.