'BREATHING UNDER WATER' - Sophie Hardcastle

I received this in the mail for review, but I don't know who sent it to me because I never gave my address to Hachette (?). Whoever it was that sent it to me, I am forever grateful!

Breathing Under Water is beautifully written in every aspect possible. The characters, plot, writing style, and ending were all perfect. I finished it within a day - about 12 hours - because I couldn't put it down! I can't wait for it to be released so more people can read it and experience what I was able to whilst reading.

"Nineteen minutes and eleven seconds separated us at birth. On the official documentation, he is older . . . Although it really has nothing to do with age. What it really means is that I am, and have always been, second.

Ben and Grace Walker are twins. Growing up in a sleepy coastal town it was inevitable they'd surf. Always close, they hung out more than most brothers and sisters, surfing together for hours as the sun melted into the sea. At seventeen, Ben is a rising surf star, the golden son and the boy all the girls fall in love with. Beside him, Grace feels like she is a mere reflection of his light. In their last year of school, the world beckons, full of possibility. For Grace, finishing exams and kissing Harley Matthews is just the beginning.

Then, one day, the unthinkable. The sun sets at noon and suddenly everything that was safe and predictable is lost. And everything unravels.

BREATHING UNDER WATER is a lyrical and emotionally powerful novel about life, death and learning to breathe in between" - Goodreads summary

CHARACTERS: I loved every single character in this book. They were all beautifully written and helped to add to the story. The main character, Grace, is one that anyone can relate to and I loved following her story. She goes through a lot of ups and downs and this definitely made the story interesting.
Grace's twin, Ben, is also a great character to follow. He is almost the opposite of Grace and it was amazing to read their comparisons. I also loved the relationship the two had together and how they got along so well.
Other minor characters include Grace's friends; Mia, Jake, Harley and Toby also helped add to the story. Grace is Mia's bestfriend and they do everything together. Jake and Grace are there for each other when they are both going through a hard time. And Harley and Grace are just so cute together and I sat there the whole time reading the book just wanting them to get together already!
It was also interesting to read about Grace and Ben's mum and dad and how they acted toward each other and their children.  

PLOT / STORYLINE: I absolutely loved the story line. It made me think about 'Blue Water High' and how they were always surfing at the beach before and after school. I've never read a book like this before, and the fact that it is set in Australia makes it even more awesome. The books started off on a light and happy note and I loved how Hardcastle took the time to introduce and develop the characters and setting before getting into the heavy parts of the story line. When the story did turn around, I didn't expect it to happen and it came at complete shock to me. From that point, I found myself with tears in my eyes quite a few times.
I also loved how the story focused of friendships and family relationships, rather than just the typical romance in a contemporary. I loved the idea of the 'twins bond' and how they always knew when the other was in trouble. There was never too much going on in the story at once, and so it was easy to keep up with what was going on. However, it was never boring and I always found myself intrigued in the story line.

ENDING: Such a beautiful ending to a beautifully written book, and I cannot think of a better way to end it. With so much that went on over the course of the book, everything came together in the end and it definitely made up for all the tears I shed throughout reading. I closed the book satisfied with how it ended, how the stories wrapped up, and where the characters were heading next.

RATING: I rate this book 5 stars out of 5, and I have officially added it to my 'favourites' on Goodreads. I highly recommend this book to readers of Young Adult!



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