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?
Kate’s life is turned upside down in an instant when her dad/swimming coach is caught in the act of snogging the parent of teammate in front of the entire swim team. Humiliated, disgusted, and deeply hurt, she struggles to find meaning in her life outside the pool. After being kicked out of her own home by her cheating dad, she and her mom move to Portland to start a new life. She immediately meets adorable neighbor, Michael, who appears to have his own family problems in spades. The two forge a friendship that blossoms into something more. Kate tries and fails to find a balance between friendship, loyalty, honesty, and her own path for the future before discovering who she is without competitive swimming.
The main plot is the romance between Michael and Kate, but there are numerous subplots involving Kate’s friendships with the girls at her new school, her post-cheating scandal relationship with her dad, her friendship with childhood best friend, Harris, her sister’s relationship with a fiance, and Kate’s relationship with the pool itself. It’s a lot at times, but all of it ties back to the main themes of finding yourself and learning to navigate life when sudden changes are thrust upon you. I was hoping to get more of the competitive swimming angle in this book, though, wishing it was more of a sports romance, but it’s a solid character-driven book.
This story centers on the characters and they are well-developed and go through a ton of transformations. Kate was someone I initially rooted for, then became someone I didn’t much care for, ultimately redeeming herself by the end. All of the main and secondary characters have their own arc, which was refreshing. I love it when characters are so much more than props.
Top Five Things I Enjoyed About HOW TO BREATHE UNDERWATER
1. Swimming. I enjoyed the scenes where swimming was the focus most of all.
2. Angst. Lots of teen angst, which is my favorite kind of young adult romance.
3. Marisol and Patrice. These two BFFs who took Kate under their wing on the first day are what loyal friends are all about.
4. Harris. Kate’s childhood best friend had some of the best character development in the book.
5. Small moments. The book is littered with little moments that count. The author creates these amazing vignettes that are vivid and memorable.
A character-driven contemporary young adult romance with complex plotting and solid characters.
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book
Title: HOW TO BREATHE UNDERWATER
Author: Vicky Skinner
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Release Date: August 14, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
About the Author
Born and raised in Texas, I don’t act like much of a Texan. I like cold weather and hate country music. I have a gorgeous husband, two dogs, and a Literature degree from the University of Texas at Dallas. If I’m not at home reading a book or doing laundry, I’m probably at the bookstore, nannying three rambunctious boys, or stuck on the side of the road with car trouble. I’m a reader, a writer, and a bit of a crazy person.
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