Underwater Blog Tour + ARC Review -- Mental Illness Done Right

Underwater | Marisa Reichardt
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 278
Edition: Paperback
Source: FFBC/Publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, 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.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.



Realistic Fiction Just Got Realer
and I am here for every second of it. Yass Marisa!


Once again for the second time this year, (and for the thousandth time ever) I dived head first into a story I knew nothing about. I don't read the synopsis to books like I used to anymore, therefore when I pick up an arc, I'm navigating it completely blind, which we all know can either be an amazing experience, or a complete disaster. 

Thank the bookish gods this time around was the latter

Underwater is one of those books that blows you away without even trying. It has this violent way of grabbing you by your collar to demand your attention, a way of punching you in your gut to make sure the feels are actually felt, and boy are they ever. Of course this isn't the first title I've read that covered mental illness, but because it's been such a long time, following Morgan's story felt new. It felt fresh. It felt all things real, and to be honest, I don't think I was mentally ready for this reality check. 

So many people will be able to relate to Underwater. Not just readers who suffer from a mental illness, but to all of us bookish monsters alike, which is why I found this novel to be incredibly special.

A True Heroine.
Morgan has one of the best perspectives in young adult, and I dare someone to argue that. I've read about some amazing characters, but there was something about her that stuck with me, something that took hold of my very being and refused to let go. As someone who doesn't suffer from anxiety, I honestly didn't expect to really connect with her at all, but she felt so real. It was as if she wasn't a fictional character, but instead my little sister, my study partner, my next door neighbor. She was everything and her journey gave me so much life.

Not Picture Perfect, But Worth The Picture Still.
If you're expecting unicorns, glittered lollipops, and vampires that sparkle in the sun, then I highly suggest you hop, skip, and jump your ass over to a Stephanie Perkins novel, because this is not a pretty one. There's no fluffiness here people, just a heartbreakingly realistic take on a young teen suffering from severe anxiety and her road to recovery.

As an aspiring psychologist, I found everything about Morgan fascinating. I've always been intrigued by the human mind, and seeing what it's like to battle anxiety, the most common mental illness in America, made me want to hop up and finish my degree. (slowly but surely folks haha) I wanted so bad to hug this girl, to tell her to breathe, to calm down, to count to 3 and remember the steps, to even be the one that rejoiced when she overcame even the most minor fear. She immediately had a fan in me, even when she struggled -- took two steps forward and about a hundred back, I still rooted for her, and coming from me, a reader that is known to be disconnected from characters, that says alot, nah scratch that, it speaks volumes.

Support Systems
Mhhmm, you read that right, support systemssss with an " S ". I'm not sure if you guys remember, (if you do, then here's some cool points, take a Pokeball) but in my review for Rules For 50/50 Chances, I raved about how nice it was to see that the parents not only existed, but how they played strong roles within the story. First of all, Morgan's mother was one of the most realistic YA parents I've ever read about. I damn near cried on every scene she took part in, because she reminded me so much of my own mom, so much of myself actually. She was not only strong, but incredibly loving, and I just can't get over how surprising it was to see her take part in every aspect of Morgan's life. She was such a freaking mother yall, it was crazy.

Three other secondary characters that deserve awards for their amazingness, was Brenda, Ben and Evan. I absolutely loved all of these characters for the positively they brought to Morgan's situation, but my favorite out this bunch, hands down is Evan. Cutie across the hall was probably the most caring, thoughtful, compassionate, understanding, everything freaking delicious, boy I have ever read about in YA. He never pushed Morgan beyond her limits, or to be someone she wasn't, and he even supported her in ways no one else could. My new boo definitely put the " oo " in swoon, landing him a place on my very short book boyfriend list. (I'm picky so what)

Now This Is A Debut
Marisa came in swinging with her debut, easily knocking out a few opponents to prove she has a strong contender. She delivered such a solid novel with writing that screams simplicity, yet it reflects the thoughts of the character so vividly. A plot that is both character and emotionally driven, (Yes I shed a couple of tears dammit) characters that are not only multi-dimensional but are meaningful, and a diverse topic that was handled with care and accuracyUnderwater has definitely etched itself on my heart forever, I highly recommend this.


Get a chance to win a copy of Underwater (US only)! Please be mindful of the rules before entering!

1. Open to US ONLY.
2. Must be 13 or older to enter.
3. All entries are double-checked and false entries will be disqualified
4. Winner will be notified via email and needs to answer in 48 hours letting us know if he/she accepts the prize and send us his/her full name and address.
5. Your personal information won't be used or be seen unless you're the winner of the giveaway. We won't sell it nor use it in a bad way. But please note that your full name and address will be sent to Fierce Reads in order for you to get your prize.
6. Tour Hosts as well as the member of the FFBC Tours are not responsible for any lost or stolen items.
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