Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Girl Underwater - Claire Kells

Summary: An adventurous debut novel that cross cuts between a competitive college swimmer’s harrowing days in the Rocky Mountains after a major airline disaster and her recovery supported by the two men who love her—only one of whom knows what really happened in the wilderness. 

Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, she took swim lessons at her community pool and captained the local team; in high school, she raced across bays and sprawling North American lakes. Now a sophomore on her university’s nationally ranked team, she struggles under the weight of new expectations but life is otherwise pretty good. Perfect, really.

That all changes when Avery’s red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She is one of only five survivors, which includes three little boys and Colin Shea, who happens to be her teammate. Colin is also the only person in Avery’s college life who challenged her to swim her own events, to be her own person—something she refused to do. Instead she’s avoided him since the first day of freshman year. But now, faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never could’ve imagined.

In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but.
  (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review: This is one of those books that makes you uncomfortable. I mean, you can’t read about disasters and people dying without being a little uncomfortable, right? It’s interesting. It’s something you want to know about, and it’s comforting that it’s fiction (although there are obviously real-life plane crashes and people dying in them), but still. It’s hard to read. But because I found it so difficult to read, it was even more incredible that I wanted to keep reading. I wanted to know what happened. That is the sign of a good book, people.

Girl Underwater is well-written. It’s not literary genius or a serious classic, but it is one of those books that’s written in such a way that you’re instantly sucked in and feel like you’re part of what’s going on. You care about the characters, you can feel their pain (see above paragraph, ya know?). Seriously, it’s one of those books that you can’t stop reading. I owe at least one very late night to this book thankyouverymuch and was regretting it the next day when I had intended to “go to bed early” and instead stayed up reading for a couple of hours. I blame this on the structure of the book as well. It alternates chapters between the plane wreck and the impending drama of the survivors and then the wreck and their lives now. It’s so hard to stop when books are well done that way. You get right into something, you see what’s going on, and then BAM. Rudely, the chapter is over and it skips to the other reality. Seriously, people. You have to keep reading, even if you want to go to bed early. Consider yourself warned. Also, just as a warning, your children don’t care if you stayed up late reading because the chapters rudely end on a cliff hanger. Oh no. And in fact, they may want to get up earlier than normal just because. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I wanted to give this book four stars. I really did. I am giving it 3.5, though, because I feel like the plane wreckage part ended abruptly. I don’t want to go into too much detail because I’m expecting that you’ll want to read this book, but I would have liked that part dealt with a little better. I would have liked more details. Instead, it just ended, almost like the author had either run out of time and space or just wasn’t sure how to deal with it and so chose instead to just skip over it. Kells is obviously a very competent writer, but I think that this was maybe an inexperienced novelist kind of mistake. That being said, you should read this book. It’s a very interesting, heartbreaking, coming of age story that was a fun read. But be prepared to lose some sleep.

My Rating: 3.5 stars

For the sensitive reader: There is not much language in this book, and although it deals with new adult issues and romantic situations, it is clean, especially compared to others in the genre.

1 comment:

Kate Unger said...

I'm intrigued! I'll add it to my list.

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