Monday, 4 May 2015

Review: Girl Underwater by Claire Kells

Title: Girl Underwater
Author: Claire Kells
Author Info: Website|Twitter
Genre: Contemporary
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: 31st March 2015
Rating: 5 stars

Tell Me About It
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.
My Thoughts
Do you ever finish a book and the first thoughts you have are WOW!! Well that was my reaction the minute I read the last word in Girl Underwater. I honestly did not expect much from Girl Underwater, yet somehow I found myself totally immersed in the story, wanting to know what happened. I cried, I felt overwhelming relief when they were safe, felt like my heart had been ripped out of me when people got sick and were so close to death. But I have never enjoyed a book that had me on an emotional roller coaster ride as much as this one.

Girl Underwater is told in two formats, 'during' and then 'after'. During focuses on Avery in the lead up to the plane crash, her rush to make the flight and then what happens afterwards wen it crashes and she finds herself stranded with Colin, and three children. After is the events after the crash, learning how to deal with the attention, the emotional turmoil, and trying to find herself again.

The time spent lost in the mountains felt so real. But seeing how these two teenagers worked together, how they put their own skills into good use was astounding. To top it all off, having to care for three children, keep them safe, but also themselves couldn't have been easy. The stress, the cold, the worry, every desperate thought that runs through your head was clearly portrayed, and it made it o easy for me to feel these emotions. Avery became the mother figure, the care giver, and the first aider.
I've seen arterial wounds on Take Your Daughter to Work Day—which for me was Traumatize Your Daughter at Work Day.
Colin was the builder, making them a shelter that protected them from the storms, the winds, and the snow. He wants to keep them all safe, just as much as Avery does.

After these events we see how hard it is for Avery to adjust back to her normal life. Reporters wanting answers, PTSD from the events, sleepless nights, panic attacks, unable to even stand the idea of swimming again, this is a daily struggle for Avery. She wants to pretend everything is fine, that she is ready to go back to her life, away from home, but we see the internal struggle she has every day, how hard it is for her to forget, to pick up the pieces of her life and carry one. The one place she has felt at home in for most of her life is now the last place she wants to be, how can she ever face going back into the water after the traumatic experience of crashing.

Girl Underwater was so much more than I expected. This book completely blew me away and I am so glad I took a chance and picked this one up to read. My review does not do this book any justice at all.

Final Verdict
You NEED to read this book.

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