How to Breathe Underwater
by Vicky Skinner
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 14, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Wordery
Kate’s father has been pressuring her to be perfect for her whole life, pushing her to be the best swimmer she can be. But when Kate finds her dad cheating on her mom, Kate’s perfect world comes crashing down, and Kate is forced to leave home and the swim team she’s been a part of her whole life.
Now in a new home, new school, and faced with the prospect of starting over, Kate isn’t so sure that swimming is what she wants anymore. But when she decides to quit, her whole world seems to fall apart. But when Kate gets to know Michael, the cute boy that lives across the hall, she starts to think that starting over might not be so bad. There’s only one problem: Michael has a girlfriend.
As the pressures of love, family, and success press down on her, can Kate keep her head above water?My rating:
For almost ten years, Kates’s constant companion was nothing but the water. Her life usually revolved around swimming, but most of all, the pressure of competing and being the best so she can have her father’s approval.
All her life, she has been longing for her father’s affection that she thought she could earn by letting him control her every move. That was why when Kate caught her father cheating; everything she had built which constitutes her belief that swimming was all she is, changed.
When Kate and her mother moved into Portland to have a fresh start away from everyone they used to know including Kate’s best friend, Harris, her mother played matchmaker and met Michael—the boy across the hall in their apartment building.
Once more, I decided to test my reading choice and went blind for this book. And it seems like I had another fantastic, unforgettable experience because I was instantly hooked the moment I started reading the book.
This story shows how everything turned out differently for Kate because she found herself caught in the middle of knowing who she really is and what she truly wants in life. Her love-hate relationship with the pool and memories of her father only gave her anxiety and panic episodes, and soon became a traumatic event for her that she needs to overcome.
Like everyone else, Kate experienced the same effects of toxic stress dealt from having helicopter parents. Her character is a real depiction of those children, young adults and sometimes, even adults who were put under an enormous amount of pressure and expectations by their parents who gear them up towards success.
I love how genuine her character was. Kate was a sixteen-year-old who struggled being the new girl, trying to adjust with her new life whilst fighting a crush over someone’s boyfriend, added a teenage feels that I’m sure most of us experienced when we were in high school. She also learned to be free from every expectation and gain not her father, mother or even her sister’s approval but her own, which was brave and admirable.
On the other hand, I understand why Lily, Kate’s older sister, ditched her own wedding even if she knew how much she loves Tom. The divorce of her parents gave her too much doubt that she feared her own relationship would end up to be like theirs. She may always be there for Kate but in the end, both of them are just the same—drowning, struggling to keep up with the wave of life.
That same goes for Michael. His tremendous love for his mother was truly touching and heartbreaking and yet scary because he might be taking good care of his mother, but he wasn’t taking good care of himself. The pain both him and Kate experienced was what brought them together making the slow burn romance sweet and tragic all at the same time. And although his relationship with Kate somehow started as awkward, I love how in every furtive glance, comforting gestures and simple touch, the chemistry between them could steal each page time.
Michael’s character also shows how smoking may give emotional comfort but like any other kind of addiction, the effect was totally frightening. He may have fought it once with Kate’s help but the moment he admitted he went smoking again but thriving to be better, was a real life story.
The issue of using drugs in the world of sports was also brought through Harris’ character that rooted in peer pressure. He wanted to be as good as Kate that he resorted the easiest way he knew.
The emotional depth pulled in each character including the supporting ones was what made this book easy to read. From Harris, Patrice to Coach Masterson and Kate’s mother, Vicky Skinner was able to write a story that vibrated a deeper connection between her readers and those of her characters.
The writing style brought me into a new journey of emotions, making me feel what they feel. And considering this, the story ended quite satisfying and eventful given that everyone may not have their own happily ever after but rather, the author leave the characters at their own pace.
How to Breathe Underwater is a story that renders how we go on freestyle when it’s too much and giving our best stroke when it is not enough. It is a heartfelt, moving story about pain, loss and new beginnings.
Thank you to NetGalley, MacMillian Children’s Publishing Group – Swoon Reads, Xpresso Book Tours and Vicky Skinner for providing me an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review!
About The Author:
Born and raised in Texas, Vicky Skinner doesn’t act like much of a Texan. She likes cold weather and hates country music. She has a gorgeous husband, two dogs, and a Literature degree from the University of Texas at Dallas.
If she’s not at home reading a book or doing laundry, she is probably at the bookstore, nannying three rambunctious boys, or stuck on the side of the road with car trouble. She is a reader, a writer, and a bit of a crazy person.
Want to know who joined the blog tour? Don’t forget to visit these amazing book bloggers to learn more about How to Breathe Underwater by Vicky Skinner.
— A Book Addict’s Bookshelves >> Guest post
— diary of a wannabewriter >> Review
— BooksBooks&More >> Interview
— Beyourselfbebhaltair >> Review
— Dani the Bookaholic >> Review
— The Avid Reader >> Excerpt
— Flipping Through the Pages >> Review
— Lisa Loves Literature >> Interview
— Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile >> Review
— Tale Out Loud (That’s me!)
— The Heart of a Book Blogger >> Guest post
— Character Madness and Musings >> Interview
— The Book Dutchesses >> Review
— Bookish Wisps >> Review
— Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf >> Review
— Rainy Days and Pajamas >> Excerpt
— Writing Pearls >> Review
— LenniLand >> Excerpt
— June Reads Books >> Review
— Lauren is Reading >> Review
— Adventures in Writing >> Review
— The Reading Faery >> Review