Review: Sophie Hardcastle – Breathing Under Water

Breathing Under Water
Sophie Hardcastle

The twinship Grace and Ben share means that they have always had each other, yet Grace stands in the shadow of her brother’s glory – both on the surf and away from the beach. Grace’s life will be tipped on its head, and there will be more things to think about than simply kissing the cute boy who has returned to her life.

30151298This book greeted me on my front doorstep, and I responded by reading it straight away despite my current efforts to catch up on reading novels again. Boy was it worth it.

What I loved about this novel was that it didn’t give away all the plot in the blurb. Things still had to happen! In fact, having thought about what this author had written about previously (her experiences with Bipolar I in her memoir Running like China) I completely misled myself!

You would think that I would have hated the prose of the novel, particularly the way it led in in quite a poetic way. But instead, I found myself skimming over the top, buoyed by the characters’ personalities and beach scenes. And I don’t even like the beach, and usually Australian novels are just not that fantastic from my perspective (Tim Winton comes to mind)!

The poignancy of Grace and Jake falling apart and the way other people react when big things change are tangible for the reader. It does include sex and drug scenes, gritty and painful and not in a good light. I loved the way Harley behaved believably and so much more sensibly than many other boys in other novels. Hardcastle pushed boundaries and got away with it.

This novel is one I think I’m going to read again and again. I held my breath while I was reading it, and I couldn’t put it down. 5 stars from me. Go and buy yourself a copy, and prepare to hold back tears. I can’t wait to read another of this author’s novels when they come.


Quercus Children’s Books / Hachette | June 2016 | AU$26.99 | Paperback

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