More people need to be talking about this book!
Title: Breath Like Water
Author: Anna Jarzab
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: May 19th, 2020
“Expansive, romantic, and powerful.” —Gayle Forman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of If I Stay and I Have Lost My Way
Susannah Ramos has always loved the water. A swimmer whose early talent made her a world champion, Susannah was poised for greatness in a sport that demands so much of its young. But an inexplicable slowdown has put her dream in jeopardy, and Susannah is fighting to keep her career afloat when two important people enter her life: a new coach with a revolutionary training strategy, and a charming fellow swimmer named Harry Matthews.
As Susannah begins her long and painful climb back to the top, her friendship with Harry blossoms into passionate and supportive love. But Harry is facing challenges of his own, and even as their bond draws them closer together, other forces work to tear them apart. As she struggles to balance her needs with those of the people who matter most to her, Susannah will learn the cost—and the beauty—of trying to achieve something extraordinary.
bipolar, self harm, depression, verbal abuse
Susannah has been training like a machine for almost ten years and she won’t quit until she reaches her ultimate goal: the Olympics. What she did expect was a new coach that gets her through a major setback and the heart of a fellow teammate, Harry.
This was very well done. There were a lot of things going on throughout the story: swimming, a new coach, the romance, Harry’s struggle with bipolar II. This could have gone badly, but Anna Jarzab did a really superb job. Everything always came back around to swimming, because at the end of the day, that’s what held Susannah’s focus. I loved the journey Susannah went on, externally and internally. It’s very apparent at the end of the book, that Susannah had learned something about herself and that she was changed.
I really appreciated the frank discussions of mental illness. With something like bipolar, the term gets tossed around frequently. Here the disease is explained very honestly and with a directness that was important for teen readers. While it’s not mentioned in the text, I think the topic of PTSD can be inferred when discussing Susannah’s journey, and it’s not really apparent until the book is finished and is looked at as a whole.
I hope more people find this book because I feel that it can be really important for teens, especially for people who have experienced the immense amount of pressure that comes with participating in a competed sport.
ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.