Book Review: Underwater by Marisa Reichardt



Title: Underwater
Author: Marisa Reichardt
Published in: 2016
Pages: 288
Genres: romance, contemporary fiction, realistic fiction, mental health/mental illness


“Forgiving you will allow me to forgive myself.”

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.”

-from Goodreads

My Review

Morgan doesn’t leave her house. Ever since the shooting at her school, Morgan has become more and more agoraphobic until the point where she can’t even step on her front porch. She attends high school online, eats the same lunch every day, watches TV, and waits for her mom and younger brother to come home. Then one day, Evan moves in next door. He reminds her of the world and makes her wish for what she’s been missing in life.

Morgan was a relatable character, especially to readers with anxiety problems of their own. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, I know what it’s like to deal with anxiety. So I was easily able to relate to her and her fears. I felt that she was a accurate portrayal of someone with agoraphobia and panic attacks. In the first part of the book, Morgan shuts people out and acts like she’s the only one hurting from what happened. But, as the book progressed, she began to let people in and realize that other people were affected by what happened and was able to talk about it with them. I felt that her character developed well by the end of the novel.

The plot was really good. It kept me up reading it later I should have. Plus the chapters are short, so it was a quick read. It mainly focused on Morgan’s struggle with agoraphobia as well as her romance with Evan. There were also a lot of flashbacks throughout the book, mainly of the day the shooting happened, but some of the way things used to be. For me, the best parts were her therapy sessions. I really liked seeing what went on in her mind, especially after such a traumatic experience.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book was that it sort of made it look like Evan came into the story and fixed Morgan. I mean, Morgan hadn’t left her house in 4 and a half months, but then Evan moves in next door and by the end of the month, she’s managed to step onto her front porch. Then over the next two months, she makes a large amount of progress. By the end of the second month, she’s able to go out like she was able to before the shooting at her school. I know that she’d been working on it with her psychologist, but I thought it was a lot of process for a short amount of time. I felt it focused too much on her romance with Evan. I think this book would have been better if there was more focus on her recovery with her psychologist’s help.

Underwater was a great book about mental illness, anxiety, and agoraphobia. I would recommend it for anyone looking for a novel about mental health, contemporary, or realistic fiction novel.

Rating: 5/5 Stars


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