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Underwater by Marisa Reichard


NewGen - YA Fiction   
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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

April 2016 NewGen Debut of the Month.

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.'


Underwater by Marisa Reichard

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.


A modern gem for the modern world... Lancashire Evening Post

About the Author

Marisa Reichardt is the debut author of contemporary young adult novel Underwater. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and loves the beach, cake and Trojan football.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th April 2016


Marisa Reichard

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Macmillan an imprint of Pan Macmillan


288 pages


General fiction (Children's / Teenage)
Romance & relationships stories (Children's / Teenage)
Family & home stories (Children's / Teenage)



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