Reader Reviewed Underwater by Marisa Reichardt


Written by Marisa Reichardt

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

May 2016 Debut of the Month This extraordinary, powerful book has life lessons for everyone, though its central character has lived through experiences that, fortunately, will be unknown to most of us. Morgan was witness to a terrible and traumatic event at school. She survived, though others didn’t, and though she knows she should be happy to be alive, instead she’s afraid of living. She becomes a recluse, seldom leaving her apartment and seeing no-one but her mother, little brother and her counsellor. The arrival of a new neighbour, Evan, slowly reminds her of all that she is missing. The cause of her trauma emerges gradually, and the book shows us all how it is possible to recover from terrible shock and grief and to reclaim your life. ~ Andrea Reece

The author, Marisa Reichardt says; “I was intentional in wanting to write about the after effects of a tragedy and trying to find the hope and healing there. Unfortunately, tragic events like those in Underwater have become so frequent that we have all likely been affected by them in some way. Life can change in one day, with one act, and Underwater is very much a story about that.”

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Humaira Kauser, age 17 - 'I knew I was in love with this book before I even started it. - A coming of age story about self-discovery and treading new boundaries. About coming to terms with the past and accepting who you've become.'
  • Morgan Steigmann - 'Morgan’s poignant story will have you both on the verge of tears and fits of laughter, with her bittersweet tone immediately capturing your heart and thoughts...truly captivating.'
  • Susie Holm, age 15 - 'A beautiful, captivating read, with twists and mystery that keep you continuously turning the pages, along with the occasional comedic dialogue.'
  • Aimee Sweet, age 13 - 'Overall, I really enjoyed this book.'
  • Imogen Fisher, age 15 - 'Underwater was a really interesting book to read, it is well written and thought provoking.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'an informative and believable story of mental illness and the many complex sides to it as well as the stigma and treatment.'
  • Celeste Phelan, age 14 - 'A heart breaking novel which is guaranteed to make you look at the world in a completely different way.'
  • Ella Hewitt, age 13 - 'This book is about a girl who is traumatised, this is her story of her road to recovery. It can make you laugh, cry and really feel for Morgan as she tries to regain her confidence.'
  • Charnell Vevers - 'Underwater is a powerful novel that will move you and have you rooting for Amber from beginning to end.'
  • Maisie Sadler, age 14 - 'An unforgettable read that was gripping every page!'
  • Amelia Corrick-Gough, age 14 - 'This book was so good! It took me a while to get into this book, but it was so sad that I began to feel for Morgan's character. She was so lonely and lost that I began to almost feel her pain.'
  • Jessica Kenney - 'I really enjoyed this book as it shows what some people go through. Also it tells you that if you forgive the people who have done wrong it can turn out better for everyone.'
  • Alex McCalla, age 16 - 'Such an amazing book! Love the style of writing and love the plot. Definitely worth a read!'


Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

A stunning novel from debut author Marisa Reichardt.

I was considered lucky to escape the shooting. But I have to relive that moment every day.
I have to remind myself every time I hear a sudden loud noise or a quick movement out the corner of my eye that:

1. Breathe

2. You are okay

3. You are not dying

People don’t seem to understand that if I just stay in my apartment then I’m okay. Nothing will ever hurt me if I don’t cross the threshold. But my little brother Ben, the new next door neighbour, even my psychologist Brenda, keep pushing me to cross that threshold. They can’t seem to understand the danger of outside, how everything on the surface may look okay but really underneath it all its fragile and can implode in ways you could never anticipate.

So I will stay here in my safe environment.

With my routines and lists.

And I won’t hurt anymore.

In order to move on after a traumatic experience, 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.

About the Author

Marisa Reichardt is a Southern California 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-grade years writing, tutoring, and teaching. She currently lives in Los Angeles and can usually be found huddled over her laptop in coffeehouses or swimming in the ocean.

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Book Info


288 pages
Interest Age: From 12


Marisa Reichardt
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Macmillan an imprint of Pan Macmillan

Publication date

7th April 2016




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