By: Marisa Reichardt
Location: FIC REI
Genre: Youth Fiction that is real

'It turned out I wasn't dying on the outside. I was only dying on the inside, where nobody could see.'

1. Breathe
2. You are okay.
3. You are not dying.

Underwater focuses on Morgan who hasn't left her apartment for months. Instead of going to normal high school, she has spend most of the junior year taking online classes that allow her to stay inside in her pajamas. She has a rhythm - take classes, watch TV, eat tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches every day for lunch. Why does not Morgan go outside, you may ask? She is scared. She is afraid of losing control. She is terrified of the things that can happen to her if she leaves the protective walls of the apartment. She feels like danger lurks everywhere. No place is safe, expect her apartment. And going to a normal school, living normal life like she used to, feels like something she can never do again.

When Evan moves to the apartment next door, he brings with him the smell of ocean and sun. He reminds Morgan of the time before her life came crashing down. He gives her hope of maybe someday being okay again. But unlike Evan, Morgan cannot go outside, even if a part of her would want it. Morgan does not want to burden Evan with her reality, but at the same time she feels like Evan might be able to help her. And maybe Morgan can help Evan too, since she knows something about what happened to someone close to Evan. There's also wonderful family dynamics found from this novel. I loved the relationship between Morgan and her little brother who does not quite understand why Morgan is staying inside, but manages to provide her with support, love and distractions. The dynamic between Morgan and her mother is also extremely interesting, especially after Morgan's distant father is added to the mix.  
Though the subject matter of the book and the things Morgan goes through can get very dark, this novel has an incredible sense of hope and new changes that are up for grabs as soon as soon as Morgan feels like she's ready. Underwater is an incredibly promising, mind-blowingly good debut novel that makes me eagerly anticipate Reichardt's future as an author.   This  review  is by MILKA- goodreads.com


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