Review and author interview by Haylie Koorn, grade 9

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Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

In the book Underwater by Marisa Reichardt, it shows that no matter what tragedy you go through, the way to recovery is forgiveness. Morgan Grant is not a normal teenager; she stays home all day eating grilled cheese and thinking about what happened on that rainy day. She feels as if she can’t breath and everything is out to get her, until Evan Kokua moves next door. Evan reminds her of the ocean and how going outside won’t kill her. Slowly Morgan is gaining her strength by leaning on those who love her, but when the past comes into view again, she feels everybody watching to see if she can stand by herself without collapsing.

Underwater teaches those that forgiving and letting go of the past is the first step to moving on. The thoughts running through Morgan’s mind gave me a great perspective on what it is like to have PTSD. Brenda, Morgan’s psychologist, truly cares for her condition and uses love and communication to help Morgan get over her fears. Overall Underwater is a fantastic book about redemption and love for your family. It paints a beautiful mental picture and has really inspiring writing.

Rate this book 5 out of 5 STARS.

Interview with the author

What research did you have to do for Underwater?

It was very important to me that I got the therapy aspect of Underwater right so I did research that a lot. I talked to a psychologist who works specifically with women and teen girls with anxiety, agoraphobia, and PTSD. I asked her a million questions and took a million notes. I am so thankful that someone so knowledgeable was able to take the time to help me with all my questions and working on the timeline, etc. A lot of the other parts of Underwater were things I knew more intimately from being a parent and the wife of a high school teacher, and from growing up in a military town.

Would you compare yourself to Morgan in any way?

After reading Underwater, my brother said, “Marisa’s life is all over this book but this book is not her life.” I loved that. I can’t think of a truer statement. While Morgan and I might have some things in common (a love of swimming and cute surfer boys, struggles with anxiety, being raised by a single mom), Morgan is her own person. Even though I know her as well as I know myself, she is not me.

Are you thinking about writing another YA novel?

I am currently working on a second standalone contemporary YA novel and I can’t wait for the day when I can talk about it more.

What would you say to those who have a story just like Morgan?

You are not alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a parent or trusted adult, family member, or friend if you are struggling. It’s okay to tell people how you feel.

How many drafts did you have until the final one?

Five. I think? It’s all a blur. 🙂

If Morgan was real what would you tell her?

I am so proud of you.


Find this book in our catalog:  Underwater

Call Number: YA FIC REICHARDT,M

279 pages

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