Published: March 31st, 2015
An adventurous debut novel that cross cuts between a competitive college swimmer’s harrowing days in the Rocky Mountains after a major airline disaster and her recovery supported by the two men who love her—only one of whom knows what really happened in the wilderness.
Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, she took swim lessons at her community pool and captained the local team; in high school, she raced across bays and sprawling North American lakes. Now a sophomore on her university’s nationally ranked team, she struggles under the weight of new expectations but life is otherwise pretty good. Perfect, really.
That all changes when Avery’s red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She is one of only five survivors, which includes three little boys and Colin Shea, who happens to be her teammate. Colin is also the only person in Avery’s college life who challenged her to swim her own events, to be her own person—something she refused to do. Instead she’s avoided him since the first day of freshman year. But now, faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never could’ve imagined.
In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but.
Told in a series of flashbacks, Girl Underwater took me completely by surprise - in a good way. This is a contemporary story with a thread of tension that just never lets up. I'm not normally a huge contemporary fan, but with this one I sat up way past my bedtime, determined to find out just exactly why Avery feels so incredibly guilty about surviving the crash. There's something more to it than survivor guilt and I was completely hooked.
The reader gets to find out what happened in little dribbles - it's a bit like offering the donkey a carrot on a stick. The story just keeps dangling out of reach and you have to keep reading to find out the answers. I found myself empathizing with Avery and cheering her on, even while not fully understanding her pain and also getting mad with her at times. Colin is a bit of a handsome enigma and I enjoyed getting to know him as well.
It's hard to pigeonhole 'Girl Underwater'. Let's call it a thrilling, suspense-fully mysterious romance and that might just about cover it. A great read.