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“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, “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.


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“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, “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.

30 review for Breath Like Water

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Did you see this amazing cover? Two young people reach out to hold each other’s hands to save themselves for pushing themselves up from the water and keep on breathing! This is a great sign that something poignant, powerful, emotional hid inside the pages. And I’m so happy that beautiful cover didn’t disappoint me or gave me any false impression. First of all, I liked to this journey of two young people fight against the psychical and mental struggles in their life, working their ass off to be s Did you see this amazing cover? Two young people reach out to hold each other’s hands to save themselves for pushing themselves up from the water and keep on breathing! This is a great sign that something poignant, powerful, emotional hid inside the pages. And I’m so happy that beautiful cover didn’t disappoint me or gave me any false impression. First of all, I liked to this journey of two young people fight against the psychical and mental struggles in their life, working their ass off to be successful, become golden metal athletes at Olympics. Too much pressure, lack of money, isolated from close relations and the path they chose is so demanding, stressful, depressing because they don’t have time for socializing, building friendships, living careless and free. Their each step is planned and they have a compelling, challenging schedule to work on. Susannah is lovely character, connectable, mature, trying so hard to be strong, fighting with her insecurities and damages over controlling and demanding coach had done to her. Now new coach is being hired named Beth. Could she help her to race at Olympics dream? And sweet Harry seems like falling head over heels in love with her but he also has a secret that he only shared with her. He has a mental condition, suffering from mood swings, ups and downs throughout his own life: bipolar is the monster he needs to fight and also he needs to learn how to live it. This book is not about swimming, competitions, overwhelming stress that athletes endure and winning. This book is about families, friendship, opening your heart to the new experiences of your life, learning to trust, bond, feel, letting yourself free and being brave enough to break your walls. Two young adults’ heartbreaking, over emotional stories, their families, pasts, weaknesses, strengths, dreams are perfectly and genuinely told with a moving, lyrical writing style by the author like swimming in the water, refreshing feeling circulating through your body as the sun’s heating lights touching your face. I enjoyed more than I expected and I’m looking forward to read more works of the author. Special thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin TEEN/ Inkyard Press for sharing this emotional ARC in exchange my honest review. blog instagram facebook twitter

  2. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    How hard will you push to achieve your dreams, and what will you sacrifice to achieve them? These questions are at the core of Anna Jarzab's Breath Like Water . All Susannah has known for as long as she can remember is swimming. She dreams of going to the Olympics, a dream she felt even closer to when she won a world championship at age 14. But when her body starts to slow down and change as she gets older, she wonders if her chance is over or whether she should listen to her overbearing coach How hard will you push to achieve your dreams, and what will you sacrifice to achieve them? These questions are at the core of Anna Jarzab's Breath Like Water . All Susannah has known for as long as she can remember is swimming. She dreams of going to the Olympics, a dream she felt even closer to when she won a world championship at age 14. But when her body starts to slow down and change as she gets older, she wonders if her chance is over or whether she should listen to her overbearing coach and push harder. When a new coach comes to the swimming club, Susannah wants nothing to do with her, until she realizes that her unique training techniques may take her where she needs to go. It’s a delicate balance between self-belief and recognizing the limits of her body. "I feel like I'm one person in the water, and another on dry land. Me on land is still hesitant and uncertain; having faith is hard for her, and so is letting go. But me in the water, the girl Beth found beneath the rubble? She's elegant and powerful and fast." Meanwhile, when she meets Harry, another talented swimmer, she wonders whether continuing to push herself for a dream she might never achieve is worth not taking a chance to follow her heart. But Harry has secrets of his own which also threaten to weigh Susannah down. She doesn’t understand why she can’t have it all, but if she has to choose, what’s the right choice, not just for her, but for those she cares about? This really was a thought-provoking story, and Anna Jarzab does a great job in making you feel the tension of Susannah’s choices. But at its core, Breath Like Water is powerfully emotional, as you ride both the highs and the lows that these characters experience. I’m honored to have been part of the blog tour for this book. NetGalley, Inkyard Press, and Harlequin Teen provided me with an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!! Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html. Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    Well, this fucking amazing book came out of nowhere???

  4. 4 out of 5

    j.chestnut

    It's after 1 pm and I have done nothing today besides finish this book. I have no regrets. 🌊 I got an ARC of this and I am so glad I did. I had not seen it before picking it up but as someone who swims competitively, this spoke to my soul. 🌊 This book follows a girl named Susannah that was a super fast swimmer when she was young but recently she has been experiencing a slow down. She is still working her butt off in and out of the pool but nothing is really helping. Then, she meets a boy and a new It's after 1 pm and I have done nothing today besides finish this book. I have no regrets. 🌊 I got an ARC of this and I am so glad I did. I had not seen it before picking it up but as someone who swims competitively, this spoke to my soul. 🌊 This book follows a girl named Susannah that was a super fast swimmer when she was young but recently she has been experiencing a slow down. She is still working her butt off in and out of the pool but nothing is really helping. Then, she meets a boy and a new swim coach comes into her life and things start to turn around. 🌊 There is so much to unpack in this and you can definitely read it if you aren't a swimmer but I got so much more out of it since I have experienced so many of the feelings that Susannah deals with and so much of the stuff that she deals with being a competitive swimmer. Susannah's coach Dave, I have never encountered anything like him and I am so glad. 🌊 This is the perfect summer read. There is sports, great friendships, a SUPER sweet romance, a diverse cast of characters, a huge but also warm family dynamic. I just a love it so so much. This comes out in May. Do not miss it. 5 out of 5, splashingly good, stars.✨ (i have no idea what that means either)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ari

    “Failure is an intersection.” One of the most inspiring books for young readers I’ve read in a while. Where was this story 15 years* ago? Seriously, I don't even know where to start here, as I loved pretty much everything about it. It's also hard to talk about this book without spoiling some major points, but I will try my best. I'll start with the main characters... --- MAIN CHARACTERS Susannah is one of the strongest characters I've come across. She is passionate, motivated, driven, loyal, c “Failure is an intersection.” One of the most inspiring books for young readers I’ve read in a while. Where was this story 15 years* ago? Seriously, I don't even know where to start here, as I loved pretty much everything about it. It's also hard to talk about this book without spoiling some major points, but I will try my best. I'll start with the main characters... --- MAIN CHARACTERS Susannah is one of the strongest characters I've come across. She is passionate, motivated, driven, loyal, compassionate, though she is young she seems to know where she stands, she has goals and she is capable to do whatever it takes to reach them. It shows how she was raised with love and respect, in the middle of a caring, present, warm family (another aspect I loved about this story). Yes, she has struggles - with her trainers, her friends, her sister maybe, with her love life and her career and the mix of the two, but she keeps her head high in the clouds and her feet rooted in solid ground and there's nothing more you could ask of a teenager really. And yes, there was that moment when she lost sight of what was actually important and metaphorically sent a tsunami to wash out her sand castle all over the shore, but I say so many stupid things when I am angry (and I am not young and restless anymore) that I would have no right to judge her. Harry is a character I deeply wanted to know more about. It's not like he wasn't fleshed out enough, or that I missed something regarding him as a character, but I cared so earnestly for him and I think that even though this is Susannah's story, he was just as important and his struggles received the same amount of fondness and respect from the author. He was sweet, patient and supportive and also had a supportive family, because everything goes full circle and healthy family was a recurring theme in this novel. His highs were my highs and his lows were my lows and his side of story left an impact on me. I wonder, you know... What are we without our loved ones and what right do we have to take that love, and when is it right or when is it not? The thing is, sometimes the most difficult decisions we make define us and it takes so much to love selflessly. Indeed, I am keeping it vague on purpose and it might not make sense even to the people who read the book, but there are so many sides to this character, to this side of the story. --- THEMES The romance is an important part of this story, but I wouldn't go as far as to call this just a romantic story, as it shares the page-time with some other themes and aspects that were just as important. One of them is the mental health. I will not talk here about the obvious, but I will mention Susannah loss when her body's changes got in the way of her career, the mental struggle generated by Dave and his training methods and even the weight of her complicated romantic relationship. I loved that there was a focus on the career Susannah chose and all the shortcomings that come with dealing with such pressure at that age. I loved that sexuality was presented in a positive way. And I can't tell you how much I appreciated the healthy family relationships. Even matters like friendship and trust and love were dissected and turned on all sides in order to show the reader just how real a story can get. --- SECONDARY CHARACTERS Talking about her swimming instructor.... Oh boy, I can never complain enough about our (global) educational system - no matter if it's school or sports or whatever sends you on a path towards a goal you need to accomplish with the help of a teacher / a professional. There are good teachers over there, I do know, but way too many are like this man here, and there are not enough Susannah's in the world to be as strong as she is and to not get too many mental scars out of the situation. As a personal side note, when I was a kid we had swimming lessons at school and at some point there was a new teacher that was supposed to train us - not necessarily for a swimming career but to be better at it. His methods involved screaming at us, calling us names and putting our heads under the water when he thought we did not obey his instructions. If I remember well we all quit really fast, so I can only imagine the toll such form of education can have on someone over a decade of training sessions. And this gets me to Beth - the instructor I really loved. She was supportive and kind, and good at what she was doing. I liked that we got a tiny snippet into her backstory and I am grateful for everything that she managed regarding Susannah. The supporting cast was also amazing - friends and fiends, sister and family. Some of them with their own struggles - some I liked, one for sure I didn't, some I understood, though the fact made me a bit sad. For one of them it was hinted at a back story we did not get, but I'll call it collateral damage to the romance, lol. Susannah was part mexican, so we got a snipped into that side of her "universe", she also had friends who competed along her which made things more complicated as the story progressed, but it felt realistic. The book was sex positive in more than one way and from my point everything seemed to be treated with respect and consideration. --- CONCLUSION I will end my ramblings with some spoilers, so please don't click on it if you did not read the book yet... (view spoiler)[ Sometimes it takes more strength to say "it's over" than to fight through it all, no matter if it comes to it in regards to a relationship or a career path. There are things that can't heal at the right time, and sometimes the time itself seems not to be right. (hide spoiler)] I respect Hannah for her decisions, even though (/when) they broke her (/my) heart, and I applaud her for taking the time (view spoiler)[to heal physically & mentally (not even just her) (hide spoiler)] before giving us a bit of hope through that (view spoiler)[ bittersweet (hide spoiler)] ending. PS: Now, there is this book I also had in mind while reading this story. It's Coming Up for Air. While "Breath Like Water" is emotional and deep and complex, "Coming up for Air" is light and fun and dreamy, though one of the goals is the same in both of them. I wouldn't compare them in the least, but I think they go well together, at least in my mind. -- * (view spoiler)[oh well, feel free to add some more (hide spoiler)]

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lindsi (Do You Dog-ear?)

    "The best way I’ve come up with to describe how Harry kisses is that he does it with joy." I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product. Breath Like Water wasn't the story I was expecting, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Susannah was a wonderful character that I could easily relate to, and her determination was enviable. She struggled to "The best way I’ve come up with to describe how Harry kisses is that he does it with joy." I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product. Breath Like Water wasn't the story I was expecting, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Susannah was a wonderful character that I could easily relate to, and her determination was enviable. She struggled to make time for the important things in her life, but failed to sometimes see what was right in front of her face. She was so focused on her swimming, and making it to the Olympics, that she let other relationships and responsibilities slide. Susannah was a selfish character, but not in an obnoxious way. She was dedicated to her dream, despite the many setbacks and obstacles she had to overcome. Winning a medal once doesn't guarantee it will happen again, and her body's normal changes have made her feel heavy in the water. She's unaccustomed to maneuvering her new shape in an effective way, and struggles to swim the times needed for success. However, Susannah still pushes herself every practice. She doesn't quit or give up, and she takes all of the crap her coach throws at her because she wants to be better. She believes her condescending, hurtful, rude, and general ass of a coach is what she needs to succeed. I really hated how much Susannah tolerated from her coach, and really wanted to punch him in the throat. No one disagrees with him, because he "trains champions," and they all want to make it to the Olympics. His methods are traditional, and not suited for everyone on the team, and he only pays attention to the people he thinks stand a chance. When Beth comes into the picture as an assistant coach, Susannah is hesitant at first, but soon realizes that Beth has more to offer than she first thought. She's compassionate and understanding, molds workouts that are suited to Susannah and her teammates on an individual level, and she doesn't curse at them or throw temper tantrums. Dave went out of his way to be hurtful, and to make the team feel like they were worthless without him. He made them swim against each other, forced them to work tirelessly, and even stuck his nose in their relationships with they didn't suit him. It was horrible, and I hate that he was able to get away with so much. Yes, he shared a kind word with Susannah here and there, but his sole focus was himself. He wanted to look good, and he wanted people to think he was important. HATED. HIM. Susannah wasn't perfect–not by a longshot–and her stubbornness wasn't always endearing. Oftentimes it was annoying and irritating, because she pushed people away for no reason at all. She ignored family and friends in pursuit of her dream, and blamed them when things didn't go her way. She was quick to apologize and make amends, but you can't always undo the damage words alone can cause, which brings me to Harry. Easy-going, fun-loving Harry was one of the highlights for me, and I adored him from the start. His grand gestures and enthusiasm were contagious, and he never failed to make me smile. He makes his feelings known from the beginning, and is patient while Susannah figures out what she wants from their relationship. Eventually, he tells her they need to define what they have, because hanging out in limbo was hurting him. Thankfully, Susannah decides to give in to her romantic feelings, but while their relationship was a whirlwind of fun and new love, it was also filled with strife. They are both dealing with personal struggles, which I won't get into here, but that largely affects their relationship. I will say that this book addresses bipolar disorder, and the impact it can have on people's lives. I thought the author handled the effects of being bipolar with skill and compassion. Jarzab explains it in a way that is thorough and understandable, without making me feel like she was info-dumping. The facts and revelations happened naturally, and in a manner that conveyed its complexities without making it a focal point of the story. It was a prominent part of a character's life, but it didn't define them. It was simply a part of them, like their hair color, or shoe size. I really loved the way it was addressed and that it wasn't over-simplified for the sake of the story. There is a large family focus, which I also loved. Both of the main characters have parents that really care about them, and want what's best for their children. Susannah's parents have sacrificed over the years to make her dreams a reality, but they don't begrudge the money or time spent on their daughter (or having to wake up before dawn nearly every morning to take her to practice). They were supportive, but also quick to point out when she wasn't being kind, or failed to notice what was happening around her. Harry's parents are also supportive and understanding, and clearly wanted the world for their son. Somehow the author made the relationship between Susannah and Harry feel like it was an insta-love, but also a slow-burn romance. Susannah knows what she feels for Harry, but isn't sure she wants to act on those feelings. Harry has been clear about what he wants from the start, but he patiently follows Susannah's lead and lets her decide how much she's willing to give. Again, she's a little selfish here (wanting his affection, but not willing to allow herself to be distracted), and I hated that it felt like she was stringing him along for a while. Finally, if you're looking for a sweet HEA, that's not what this is. Their road is a hard one, and it will definitely make your heart hurt, but you'll also understand what they're going through and want what's best for everyone. It's complicated doesn't even begin to describe what this book is, but it's messy in some of the best ways. I was so invested in their lives, and really wanted them both to be happy and successful. Breath Like Water will break your heart, make you feel a wide range of emotions, but ultimately satisfy you in the end. Susannah and Harry might live in a world full of uncertainty, but there was always hope. (★★★★☆) Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Bloglovin' | Amazon | Pinterest

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elliot A

    Thank you to the publisher, Inkyard Press, for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I read most of the book in one day, staying up until 2 o’clock in the morning just to finish it. It wasn’t because I was so hooked on the story, instead I kept seeing all this potential and held out hope that the story might improve or at least find its centre. I checked out a few other reviews in this story and I must warn you, this is going to be a very Thank you to the publisher, Inkyard Press, for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I read most of the book in one day, staying up until 2 o’clock in the morning just to finish it. It wasn’t because I was so hooked on the story, instead I kept seeing all this potential and held out hope that the story might improve or at least find its centre. I checked out a few other reviews in this story and I must warn you, this is going to be a very unpopular opinion coming your way. According to these said reviews there was all this stuff that was still meant to happen before the story came to a conclusion and I waited patiently (I know, very uncharacteristic of me) to see where the author was taking this story and me as a reader. I can confirm that yes, a lot happens and that is exactly one of the issues I had with it; too much is going on. More on that a little later. For now, I need to try and focus on making sense of the characters, at least enough to bring my opinion across in a relatively coherent and intelligible way. I didn’t get the protagonist. Creatively speaking, she contradicted her own personality traits and characteristics. Speaking as a reader, I have to admit it was impossible to relate to her at all. And I tried…for 400 pages. She was rude, selfish, self-centred, a control freak and a mess that couldn’t see past her own nose. All of these are fine to have in a character, but I suspect that the reader was supposed to feel for her and with her. I couldn’t do that. There was not even one remotely redeemable quality that could have enticed me to do so. And, again, I tried. There are stories that have unlikeable characters, but there are meant to be unlikeable and the reader gets to see their struggle (the typical person vs themselves plot) that has us slowly root for this character, feel for them and with them, hoping they could make the changes they want to make in order to better their lives. Not in this one. Plus, I wasn’t quite sure what most of the secondary characters were supposed to accomplish in relation to the protagonist. None of them were ever allowed to get close to the protagonist, except for one, you’ll get to read a lot about that particular character. There were no real bonds, nothing that made the protagonist seem human. I think I know why the author chose to do so; it just didn’t work very well. Moving on, because I can go on forever, the narration was just too much. It was narrated in the first-person view, which is fine, it’s meant to give the reader greater insights into the protagonist’s mind and emotions, but in this case, it was too much. Again, it accomplished the exact opposite of what it was meant to accomplish. We were supposed to get close to the protagonist, but the narration was so convoluted that it became tiresome and tedious to read. Every single scene had a very long description of how the protagonist felt and what she thought. Too much. Also, the narrative style was much more mature than the protagonist was. It clashed and gave the illusion the one narrating wasn’t actually the one present in the story. It felt off. As I said in the beginning, this had a lot of potential. I appreciated sensitive and difficult issues being addressed in a young adult novel, but there were so many of them. The story tried to wear too many hats, tried to address too many issues at once and it got messy and tiresome to follow. I know, in real life we have to deal with a whole bunch of issues at once, too, but for the purpose of story writing it isn’t the best approach. The story gets clogged up and loses itself and at the end I wasn’t even sure what I had been reading any more. Overall, there was enough potential to make this a wonderful, raw, gritty and powerful young adult story, but it lost itself along the way. As I said, there were some issues that I appreciated having been addressed and for that I’m giving this book an extra star in my rating. I just wished the author could have decided on a few and really go with them. Sadly, this one wasn’t for me. ElliotScribbles

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alyson Stone

    Book: Breath Like Water Author: Anna Jarzab Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars I would like to thank the publisher, Inkyard Press, for sending me an ARC. I will just go ahead and put this out there: I didn’t really enjoy the beginning of the book. However, I could sense something about this one that I knew if I kept on reading that I would come to enjoy it. I was right. Once I got into the book, I was in love. I loved the characters and the impact that this one left on me. This book may seem light hearted Book: Breath Like Water Author: Anna Jarzab Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars I would like to thank the publisher, Inkyard Press, for sending me an ARC. I will just go ahead and put this out there: I didn’t really enjoy the beginning of the book. However, I could sense something about this one that I knew if I kept on reading that I would come to enjoy it. I was right. Once I got into the book, I was in love. I loved the characters and the impact that this one left on me. This book may seem light hearted at first, but it’s not. It gave me all kinds of Sarah Dessan feels. I love Susannah and her drive to reach her goals. She was once on top of the world-literally, she’s a world champion swimmer-but has kind of fallen off the leader board. She wants to go the Olympics and will let nothing get in her way of reaching her dream-not her coach, not the past, not injuries, and, certainly not, a boyfriend. I like that she knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. She is also Hispanic, so we get to see what people of colour deal with in high level sports. Not only that, but she doesn’t come from money and we get to see her family struggle a little bit financially. I like this part. Here we have a diverse book that hasn’t lost the story. As the story goes along, we get to see her grow and change in ways that she didn’t think she would. We really get to see her question everything and this impacts her decisions later in the book. Harry is our male lead. He’s sweet and caring. Plus, he falls in love with Susannah. The way he tries to win her over will just make you feel good. He’s also a swimmer, but he’s not in it for the same reasons as Susannah. He has a secret, one that he is trying to keep under control. He is dealing with bipolar disorder and is struggling. We get to see his highs and lows. Not only do we get to see the impact that it has on him, but the impact it has one those around him. We see his family struggle with it and go into dark places with him. Susannah tries to understand and wants to be there. It is Harry is, I believe, really does cause Susannah to kind of take a step back and reexamine her life. No, I’m not saying that Harry tries to make her give up her dreams. What I am saying is that I think he is the reason that she kind of takes a step back and looks at the important things in life. Like I said, Anna’s writing just didn’t pull me in right away. I couldn’t really connect with it at first. However, I could see something in it that I knew I was going to connect with. She kind of starts this out as being your typical young adult teen romance. I am not really a big romance reader, so I really thought that I had made a mistake in agreeing to read this book. However, as the story goes on, we get more and more layers. What we end up with is a story that will leave an impact on you. It will make you step away and just think. I like books like this. I like books that start out with such a happy feel, but end up leaving you crying. It tells me that the author has done their job and done it well. Anyway, this book comes out on May 19, 2020. If you are looking for a hard hitting book, then go ahead and pick it up. You won’t be sorry. Youtube: https://youtu.be/_97sjUeukX4

  9. 4 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Mimi Koehler Every once in a while, I pick up with no expectations whatsoever. I don’t read about it online; I don’t look up reviews. I just go into it blindly. And every once in a while, a book surprises me by exceeding all the expectations I didn’t have. Breath Like Water was one of those books. Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Mimi Koehler Every once in a while, I pick up with no expectations whatsoever. I don’t read about it online; I don’t look up reviews. I just go into it blindly. And every once in a while, a book surprises me by exceeding all the expectations I didn’t have. Breath Like Water was one of those books. Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lacey

    Review coming soon!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ahana M Rao (Heart’s Content)

    You can find this review of Breath Like Water on my blog, Heart's Content! Received an Advanced Reader’s Copy from the publisher, Inkyard Press (HarperCollins), via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! I can say, safely, that we get exactly what we read in the synopsis and more. Breath Like Water is a story about support and struggle, about conflict and care, of being self-absorbed and being selflessness. It was also about fights that help you grow and those that bring you down You can find this review of Breath Like Water on my blog, Heart's Content! Received an Advanced Reader’s Copy from the publisher, Inkyard Press (HarperCollins), via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! I can say, safely, that we get exactly what we read in the synopsis and more. Breath Like Water is a story about support and struggle, about conflict and care, of being self-absorbed and being selflessness. It was also about fights that help you grow and those that bring you down and finding the difference between the two. I think this was one of the more subtler and–to me at least–one of the most important topics: what failure actually means and how one’s perception must supersede that which is observable on the surface. There were very many poignant moments in Breath Like Water and the author does a fantastic job in keeping you with the story at all times. At no point did I feel that the pace of the plot had dragged, slowed down or sped up. There were very many surprises along the way and I can safely say I predicted absolutely nothing until the very end. I loved how every character who was introduced was given their own role, scene-space and had their own impact on the protagonist, leading her onward in her journey. Susannah read as someone who was both young and not; she had that perfect balance in personality of someone who practiced discipline and focus all their lives, and at the same time, the youthfulness of someone who was a teen and trying to figure out the ropes of life and see the ups and downs for what they are while navigating the many roads that come in one’s journey. Harry, on the other hand, really tugged on my heartstrings. His was a story I wasn’t prepared for and I was so blindsided that his words moved me to tears. Susannah’s connection with Harry was evident from the first moment they met and I truly enjoyed their interactions; the only issue I struggled with briefly was the constant reiteration of their connection that the protagonist kept insisting we read every time she thought of Harry. Their relationship wasn’t perfect and I loved seeing them find out how to be someone’s partner and what that entailed. Something I will always always always support is good parent-child relationship rep. I absolutely adored them in this book and I was very very glad for it. I definitely loved all the support that the protagonists received from their family and that this support was constant and filled with nothing but love. The friendships in this book, was in my opinion, realistic. We all go through ups and downs in our friendships and there are some friends with whom we can safely speak only about certain things and there are those with whom we can say anything at all we wish. There is also mention of racism in this book and the protagonist and her family deal with it as they have anything else in their lives: with fortitude and hard work. Four and a half stars. I highly recommend this book. ❤ ❤

  12. 4 out of 5

    Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)

    "But I'm starting to understand the power of individual moments. The joy that can be found when you're not too distracted by the faraway horizon to appreciate the beauty of where you're standing." Breath Like Water is a beautiful, moving story about reaching for your dreams, discovering new ones, and finding people to support you along the way. Susannah Ramos was once a promising Olympic hopeful, but between an overbearing coach and an injured shoulder, she's worried her swimming care "But I'm starting to understand the power of individual moments. The joy that can be found when you're not too distracted by the faraway horizon to appreciate the beauty of where you're standing." Breath Like Water is a beautiful, moving story about reaching for your dreams, discovering new ones, and finding people to support you along the way. Susannah Ramos was once a promising Olympic hopeful, but between an overbearing coach and an injured shoulder, she's worried her swimming career highlights might be in the past. When Harry Matthews joins her club, she knows she doesn't need the distraction, but the two grow closer and Susie begins to wonder if she can have her swimming career and the boy too. Things I Liked I loved the way Anna Jarzab wrote about water and swimming. As someone whose been swimming for longer than I've been walking (only for fun, not competitively in any capacity) I just loved it. And I loved seeing swimming as a sport here, it's not one we usually see focused on in stories. I find it so easy to center myself in the waters and it was great seeing Susie's relationship with swimming evolve. Susie's relationship with Harry was so wonderful to see develop. They started with a strong friendship base and progressed into a romance. I bought their development, because I could see it progress. They have so much genuine care and support for each other it was wonderful to see. We got some really great conversations about pressure, anxiety, and identity. Susie's doing her all, but she's worried she doesn't know who she is without swimming, and if she doesn't make Olympic trials all her family has sacrificed is for nothing. It was wonderful seeing Susie and Harry so openly discuss his bipolar disorder and his experiences. And Susie's sister Nina coming out to her family as pansexual was a really great moments even though it was a very small part of the story. Things I Didn't Like While I loved so much about Susie, her stubbornness could get frustrating. Especially when she neglected her injured shoulder in favor of proving a point. But her stubbornness and determination helped her to never give up and that was admirable too. The story has a very cyclical feeling that I loved - everything felt important like it was a part of something or leading to something. It's uplifting and empowering and at times it's heartbreaking, but you are so invested in these characters you want the best for them in everything. Breath Like Water is a story that effortlessly flows from one scene to the next, creating a world around these characters you easily come to care deeply for. I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jen Ryland

    I requested this because I'd enjoyed Anna Jarzab's multiverse YA, so requested a copy. I was surprised (but happily) to get a bittersweet contemporary story about women in sports, mental health, family relationships, balancing relationships with goals and achievement, and more. Susannah Ramos was a world champion swimmer as a tween, but as she grew a woman's body, her self-confidence and swimming began to falter. Susannah's swimming program hires Beth, a new female coach with new ideas about how I requested this because I'd enjoyed Anna Jarzab's multiverse YA, so requested a copy. I was surprised (but happily) to get a bittersweet contemporary story about women in sports, mental health, family relationships, balancing relationships with goals and achievement, and more. Susannah Ramos was a world champion swimmer as a tween, but as she grew a woman's body, her self-confidence and swimming began to falter. Susannah's swimming program hires Beth, a new female coach with new ideas about how Susannah might be able to embrace her new body and improve her times. At the same time, Susannah meets Harry, a fellow swimmer who seems to have some big issues of his own out of the pool. There was a lot to love about this book. The structure is a countdown to the Olympic trials, so the gives the book most of its plot structure, as Susannah battles physical and metal setbacks to try to make the team. I wasn't a student athlete (I was on the swim team, but for only a few weeks. My sister did continue, so I used to know my way around a swim meet.) I'll be honest: as a mom, I thought Harry was trouble, both for Susannah's swimming dreams and in general. When I found out about his struggles, I was a little bit more sympathetic. The book does raise issues of women as caregivers and how hard it can be to balance our empathy toward others with our own dreams and ambitions. I did like the way the book handled this aspect of the story. I did think this book felt long at times (it was over 400 pages) and sometimes there were motivational speeches that felt a bit heavy-handed to me; I thought the messages were there without being over-emphasized. Definitely recommend this to those who love books about sports and those who are looking for books about characters tacking mental health issues. If you have no interest in sports, then this might not be the book for you. And while there is romance in the book, it's not the main focus of the story. Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review! Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Let's be friends on Bookstagram!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    First I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Harlequin Teen, Inkyard Press, Anna Jarzab, NetGalley, and Amazon Kindle for this ARC and this blog tour opportunity. Anna Jarzab is a new YA author to me that I was introduced to via this request and I couldn't be happier to share my thoughts. Our main character was a young Mexican female teen named Susannah who was going through growth spurts and changing into a woman's body. As such, her talent in swimming also changed and soon DNF's became apparent with a c First I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Harlequin Teen, Inkyard Press, Anna Jarzab, NetGalley, and Amazon Kindle for this ARC and this blog tour opportunity. Anna Jarzab is a new YA author to me that I was introduced to via this request and I couldn't be happier to share my thoughts. Our main character was a young Mexican female teen named Susannah who was going through growth spurts and changing into a woman's body. As such, her talent in swimming also changed and soon DNF's became apparent with a coach who was happy to put her down and not offer support. Olympic champions never quit and neither does a strong feminine character who knows her worth and holds her value above and beyond what the haters may say. She built a platform on the negatives and changed them into a staircase to bigger positives with a new female coach that pushed her to be her best in every aspect. It didn't hurt to also have a romantic flare with Henry but sadly he had some underlying issues and couldn't be her everything as she may have hoped. This novel touches on several sensitive topics while making readers feel every emotion through every vein. It didn't take long after leaving it all on the line to walk back into it with her head held high determined to take off from the word, "GO." Just an absolute remarkable read that I truly enjoyed as a thriller reader. Thank you to Anna, the pub, NetGalley, and Kindle for this blessing.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    3.5/5 stars

  16. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    For full blog tour review, visit teresacrider.wordpress.com/2020/05/13... A huge thank you to NetGalley, Anna Jarzab, Harlequin TEEN, and Inkyard Press for the opportunity to not only review Breath Like Water in exchange for an honest review, but to have been invited to be a part of the blog tour for this book! First and foremost, I absolutely adored this book; Breath Like Water is a heart-wrenching page-turner that is impossible to put down. One of the unique aspects of this book is that it is a For full blog tour review, visit teresacrider.wordpress.com/2020/05/13... A huge thank you to NetGalley, Anna Jarzab, Harlequin TEEN, and Inkyard Press for the opportunity to not only review Breath Like Water in exchange for an honest review, but to have been invited to be a part of the blog tour for this book! First and foremost, I absolutely adored this book; Breath Like Water is a heart-wrenching page-turner that is impossible to put down. One of the unique aspects of this book is that it is a YA novel specifically revolving around the sport of swimming. Sports novels for a young adult audience feel very sparse, like there really aren’t that many out there, let alone ones about swimming, so that in itself already makes this book stand out. The characters in the book feel like real people, dynamic, which really drives this tale home in the heart of the reader. Susannah can be selfish, but only one thing has ever driven her: swimming. She wants to qualify for the Olympics. That is all she has ever wanted or knows, with the loving support of her family. When she meets Harry and starts to fall in love with him, she must keep her feelings and a possible relationship at bay, or everything she has worked for in swimming might be jeopardized. But she’s only human, so she gives Harry a chance. On top of that, the swimming coach she has, Dave, is a complete asshole and seems to try to dampen Susanna’s spirits any chance he gets. When new assistant coach Beth arrives on the scene, Susannah is skeptical at first, saying only Dave can get her to the Olympics. After working with Beth and Harry both, Susannah learns there are people in her life who might just be better for her when it comes to supporting her goals. As Susannah and Harry test out their relationship, she worries that something strange might be going on with him, based on something she heard from one of his prior girlfriends. This won’t stop Susannah. For a sixteen-year-old girl, this love is more than just a crush, and Harry feels the same, and together they agree: “When you win, I win.” Despite what seems to be the most fated romance in the world, the forces of the universe threaten to tear the two apart. One of the aspects I love about this book is the educational aspect of swimming and the Olympics. This is a fun way to learn about the sport. This book also explores bipolar disorder in an educational way, demonstrating to young readers how bipolar can affect someone’s life, and what the disorder looks like to those who may not know. What seems like a happy-go-lucky sort of book takes a dark twist as it explores many of the issues young people are faced with, and the way it is presented is deeply real. This is just a phenomenal book that I would recommend to anyone, absolutely anyone. I am not an easy person to bring to tears when it comes to reading, but there were at least three chapters straight where I could hardly read through the tears. How many books can hit their reader in the pathos like that?

  17. 4 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    2.5 STARS Susannah, a world champion swimmer at fourteen, dreams of making the Olympics, despite her years of struggling since. Dave, her harsh coach doesn’t think she has the skill. Beth, the new assistant coach sees something in Susannah and soon she’s on track for a comeback. For the first time she’s distracted by a boy with a complicated set of circumstances. BREATH LIKE WATER is an uneven story of competition, self-esteem, first love, mental illness, family and friendship. Anna Jarzab checked 2.5 STARS Susannah, a world champion swimmer at fourteen, dreams of making the Olympics, despite her years of struggling since. Dave, her harsh coach doesn’t think she has the skill. Beth, the new assistant coach sees something in Susannah and soon she’s on track for a comeback. For the first time she’s distracted by a boy with a complicated set of circumstances. BREATH LIKE WATER is an uneven story of competition, self-esteem, first love, mental illness, family and friendship. Anna Jarzab checked all the components of a good novel, a likable main character, a diverse case of secondary characters, plot etc but for me they didn’t come together in a satisfying pay off for any of the subplots. I’m not talking about the open ended conclusion to BREATH LIKE WATER, but the way in which it was handled. Without spoiling, the future epilogue opens more questions about the intervening years than it answers. Pages of explaining (telling) and extraneous dialogue slowed down the pace. The swim competition and training with Beth was my favorite part of the story. Dave’s verbally abusive behavior should have been better addressed. The dysfunctional romance that placed Susannah in the role or caretaker also wasn’t really addressed. Readers who enjoy sports will probably like BREATH LIKE WATER.

  18. 4 out of 5

    dani

    i was living for the concept, the sport and the passion. but, unfortunately, susannah wanted to be punched many, many, times. she was stubborn, selfish and unbearable. she, then, fixed her mistakes, however, she made them a LOT. on the other hand, we have harry. harry was wonderful. he brought happiness whenever his character appeared. he was warm, kind and sensible. he transformed the book for me. overall, i liked it and adored numerous things, yet susannah frustrated me which is why the book do i was living for the concept, the sport and the passion. but, unfortunately, susannah wanted to be punched many, many, times. she was stubborn, selfish and unbearable. she, then, fixed her mistakes, however, she made them a LOT. on the other hand, we have harry. harry was wonderful. he brought happiness whenever his character appeared. he was warm, kind and sensible. he transformed the book for me. overall, i liked it and adored numerous things, yet susannah frustrated me which is why the book doesn't deserve a 5 star...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    I really really enjoyed this book! It seriously brought me back to my competitive swimming days, and I found myself on the edge of my seat with anxiety while reading the swim meet scenes, so many feelings I had for years while competing bubbles to the surface and I felt the characters anxiety and excitement. It was wild that reading those scenes brought back so many visceral memories of what it’s like stepping up to the block for a race. I highly highly recommend this book if you were ever a com I really really enjoyed this book! It seriously brought me back to my competitive swimming days, and I found myself on the edge of my seat with anxiety while reading the swim meet scenes, so many feelings I had for years while competing bubbles to the surface and I felt the characters anxiety and excitement. It was wild that reading those scenes brought back so many visceral memories of what it’s like stepping up to the block for a race. I highly highly recommend this book if you were ever a compatible swimmer in your teens, or if you just like good YA fiction, because this was great!

  20. 4 out of 5

    T. Rosado

    DNF at 46% Once the protagonist became involved with the love interest, the story started to lack authenticity. The conversations and actions of the characters suddenly became more mature than previously written and it didn’t correlate with their age or experience. Once I started to cringe and roll my eyes, I lost interest. It probably didn’t help that I finished one of the most authentic and relatable YA books immediately prior to this one.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Janet (mommy.the.reader)

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐! Breath Like Water has a spot on my 2020 Top 10 list for sure. 💕 I have to admit, my connection to this book took me by surprise. Not that I expected to not enjoy it, I wouldn't have picked it up if it didn't sound interesting, but generally storylines centered around sports and competition don't hold the greatest appeal for me, so I always hope for something more in those books. But wow, not only did Breath Like Water, by Anna Jarzab, bring so much of that "more," but I actually loved all ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐! Breath Like Water has a spot on my 2020 Top 10 list for sure. 💕 I have to admit, my connection to this book took me by surprise. Not that I expected to not enjoy it, I wouldn't have picked it up if it didn't sound interesting, but generally storylines centered around sports and competition don't hold the greatest appeal for me, so I always hope for something more in those books. But wow, not only did Breath Like Water, by Anna Jarzab, bring so much of that "more," but I actually loved all the swimming and Olympic training elements. I knew the Olympics were hard work, I just didn't realize how much that dream pulls from an athlete, and their family and relationships, all at such a young age. I especially appreciated the author's respectful and realistic attention to mental health. The approachable emotional intelligence in this book is what really sets it apart from other great books I've read. I don't have a single criticism. It is perfect. 💜 Breath Like Water is a smart, compelling, YA contemporary romance pageturner that will appeal to both teenagers and adults. (I received a free copy in a Goodreads Giveaway.)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This book was terrific. It was a moving story of a girl who just wants to swim and reach the Olympics and finds out what is truly important in life. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cait | GoodeyReads

    Thank you to Inkyard Press and Netgalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own! DEEP WATERS. BLOG || INSTAGRAM I picked this up on a whim for a blog tour because the summary had easily pulled me in. Add in a beautiful cover and I had some raised expectations. I really did end up enjoying this book and loved the tough messages it talked about. Harry and Susie were a great match. I liked both of their characters and the relationship between them. It was unique to most contemporaries I read that in thi Thank you to Inkyard Press and Netgalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own! DEEP WATERS. BLOG || INSTAGRAM I picked this up on a whim for a blog tour because the summary had easily pulled me in. Add in a beautiful cover and I had some raised expectations. I really did end up enjoying this book and loved the tough messages it talked about. Harry and Susie were a great match. I liked both of their characters and the relationship between them. It was unique to most contemporaries I read that in this case, the couple actually got together before the halfway point! I loved this. Gave me a lot of time to enjoy them, watch the relationship develop and grow as the months passed. Susie was a fairly well-rounded teenage character. I appreciated that when she made mistakes, she knew when to say sorry and also really had some enlightening moments for her. I felt like I got to see her really grow up and make some hard choices and thought it all was well handled. Susie never seemed childish (like some YA book characters), but like a older teen who was going into the real world soon and had to decide what would be best for her. At times I felt there were a few misplaced moments. Namely, the love scene. I didn’t think it worked as well as intended. I know this book was a lot about growing up, yet it didn’t need a sex scene to culminate everything. It was also placed at an odd interval. This issue aside, the overall relationship, dates, etc. between Susie and Harry were lovely. A big component of this book was mental health. Harry and Susie had to work through mental, physical and emotional situations to overcome the pressures of life. It addressed different conditions and treatments. And while the book did feel heavy at times, it also felt hopeful, knowing the sun would shine again. I loved Susie’s family and her friend Amber. Incredibly supportive, occasionally awkward, and all around a lovely and tight-knit group. They made me smile and added another aspect that made me love this book more. This book may [in general] be about swimmers trying to get to the Olympics, but it holds so many more gems than that. I loved the way the Olympic Trials were written and the way the author told Susie’s story in that moment. It allowed for a beautiful sentiment in doing what’s best for you and knowing you have to take care of yourself before you can help someone else. Overall audience notes: - Young adult contemporary romance - Language: a little - Romance: kisses / make-outs; one love scene (very little detail, mostly a fade-to-black scene) - Trigger warnings: bipolar disorder, self-harm (specifically cutting), depression, anxiety, and verbally abusive coach

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bella

    As a person whose only known swimming all her life and wanting to be in the olympics, Susannah fears her body is slowing her down as she gets older. She thinks about the championship she won at 14 years old and if she can reach her potential again. Swimming demands so much out of young people and she's scared to fail. Two people enter her life that will rearrange her life and career around. A coach that could help her reach that dream and a new fellow swimmer named Harry. Susannah is such an amaz As a person whose only known swimming all her life and wanting to be in the olympics, Susannah fears her body is slowing her down as she gets older. She thinks about the championship she won at 14 years old and if she can reach her potential again. Swimming demands so much out of young people and she's scared to fail. Two people enter her life that will rearrange her life and career around. A coach that could help her reach that dream and a new fellow swimmer named Harry. Susannah is such an amazing character. She's mature, strong, and trying to fight those nagging demons in her head. Harry on the other hand is dealing with his own demons. He's bipolar. Dealing with constant mood swings and anger throughout his life. He falls in love with Susannah but, he's afraid his mental condition might scare her away. This book is far from swimming competitions and the stress from it. It's about friendship, hope, being opened to new experiences in life and trusting people. I loved how Susannah and Harry connected despite their differences. Sorta hit close to home as my significant other also is bipolar. What an amazing story of two young people and their struggles with life and family. I truly enjoyed the ride this book took me on. Special thanks to NetGalley, and Harlequin Teen/ Inkyard Press for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Preethi

    I was expecting this book to be just a sports romance book, but it was actually much more than that. Both our main characters are swimmers, but they swim for very different reasons. Susannah wants to go to the Olympics, whereas her love interest Harry swims more for fun (and another reason which is technically a spoiler so you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is). They do fall in love quite quickly, but it didn’t feel like insta-love. Even after they become boyfriend and girlfriend t I was expecting this book to be just a sports romance book, but it was actually much more than that. Both our main characters are swimmers, but they swim for very different reasons. Susannah wants to go to the Olympics, whereas her love interest Harry swims more for fun (and another reason which is technically a spoiler so you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is). They do fall in love quite quickly, but it didn’t feel like insta-love. Even after they become boyfriend and girlfriend there are a lot of issues that they have to deal with before getting to their happy ending. Overall, this was a really good book with a solid romance.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emily ~ breatheeasybooks

    LONG REVIEW AHEAD! TW: depression, in depth discussion of bipolar disorder, past and present on page self harm, underage drinking, and verbal abuse from an authority figure Positive content: race and sexuality diversity (Black and Mexican rep, gay and pansexual rep), supportive and present parents of both MC’s, sex positivity, therapy positivity Wow! Just, wow. There was so much more to this book than I ever could’ve expected. I’m blown away by the tough subject matters and the way the author hand LONG REVIEW AHEAD! TW: depression, in depth discussion of bipolar disorder, past and present on page self harm, underage drinking, and verbal abuse from an authority figure Positive content: race and sexuality diversity (Black and Mexican rep, gay and pansexual rep), supportive and present parents of both MC’s, sex positivity, therapy positivity Wow! Just, wow. There was so much more to this book than I ever could’ve expected. I’m blown away by the tough subject matters and the way the author handled all of it. Without getting too in depth and spoilery, we see a lot of rude awakening moments and subsequent character growth in the female MC. Although she had a lot of growth, becoming very self aware of her selfishness, I think it’s realistic that she didn’t completely grow out of it or let it go — even with its few team events, swimming is a very independent sport, and with that independence and self-reliance comes that natural pairing of selfishness. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and the author shows that. She shows a lot of personal growth and growth as an athlete despite all the struggles she faces, and she serves as good inspiration for young readers who may be inspiring athletes themselves. The second major storyline throughout the entire story is mental health and it’s the other topic that I think the author handled incredibly well. I do not suffer from bipolar disorder, nor do I know anyone who does, so I can’t speak from personal experience, but my experience of reading other books with good and bad mental health representation has me believing this is one of the good ones. There is a lot of open and honest conversation regarding the illness, and we see the character struggle with it on page throughout the entire book. Unfortunately, we do see the character’s struggles culminate into a serious trigger warning moment, but it’s real and full of raw emotion making it very eye opening to someone who doesn’t personally know what it’s like. We see how it truly effects the character, but we also see how it effect those around them who love them and it’s heart breaking and awe-inspiring at the same time. One of the best things about all of this though, is something we unfortunately don’t see as often as we should in YA novels, and that’s present, supportive, caring parents and parental figures. Both MC’s have both parents/and a step-parent in their lives, 100% supportive of their sports dreams and their mental and physical health. We see on page sex positive and therapy/mental health positive discussions between parents and children and it was a beautiful thing to see. Spoilery real talk: (view spoiler)[ Point #1: This is a story about dreams, chasing them, changing direction, and letting go of old ones to find new ones. But it’s also about the immense pressure there is to achieve them, from yourself and others, and the toll it can take on your health. That pressure can be debilitating — it may not happen immediately, but it can wear you down until you’re a husk of yourself and no longer find any enjoyment out of your dream. There’s nothing wrong with being motivated and determined and stubborn when going after what you want, but if you lose sight of who you are and your health along the way, then there’s no longer any success that matters because you lost something as well. Something more important than the win. Sometimes it’s great to push through and fight for your dream, but sometimes it’s equally ok for you to let your dream go and find another one. There’s no shame in letting go, even after you’ve fought so hard. And there’s no shame or pressure to return to the dream after some time away if that’s what you truly want. And that’s what this book shows us. Point #2: This is also a story about mental health and the effect it can have on relationships, particularly romantic ones. Yes, we see how it effects familial relationships, but the main focus on this book is how it effect the 2 MC’s fledgling relationship. When they first start dating, we don’t know about his bipolar disorder, and this leads to a lot of questions and some doubt but once there’s enough trust for him to open up to her, understanding falls into place. While she’s not truly able to understand what he goes through, she’s supportive and caring, showing him that his mental illness doesn’t define him to her. When we reach the pinnacle trigger warning moment of the story, the author does an amazing job or showing the reader that while love is essential in a supportive relationship, it’s not a cure for mental illness, and the MC’s break up so that he can focus on his recovery. He puts himself first so that he can be better for himself, and maybe someday better for them as a couple again. And his recovery and improvement is not a fast process — he has daily struggles, good and bad days, and it’s all incredibly real and raw and exhausting. Much to my sadness, but ultimate appreciation to the author and story, they don’t get back together by the end of the book. AND THAT’S OK! We’re told that he does get better with a mix of medication and therapy that’s works for him and we’re left with a positive ending showing that the couple’s time together isn’t completely over and that their time will come. (hide spoiler)] I praise the author for her ability to make this so much more than a “typical YA romance”! It’s packed full of raw emotional hardships, realistic mental health struggles and triumphs, and undying love and support from friends and family. It was an emotionally exhausting read, but one I certainly won’t forget anytime soon! Special thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin TEEN (US and Canada), Inkyard Press, and Anna Jarzab for sending me an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Deep_Abyss

    The truth is, I was still the center of my own uni verse, locked in a prison of my own making. I couldn’t find a way to break free of it. Throwing myself against the bars of my cage won’t accomplish anything, and neither will pushing away everyone I love. There has to be a better path. I hope that I can find it, and that- if I do- I’ll have the courage to take it. This book is definitely one of my favorites. I can say that I had a fun time reading it. Each page was full of glossy and graceful The truth is, I was still the center of my own uni verse, locked in a prison of my own making. I couldn’t find a way to break free of it. Throwing myself against the bars of my cage won’t accomplish anything, and neither will pushing away everyone I love. There has to be a better path. I hope that I can find it, and that- if I do- I’ll have the courage to take it. This book is definitely one of my favorites. I can say that I had a fun time reading it. Each page was full of glossy and graceful descriptions and each moment was like gliding through the water, which is part of what this book is based upon. Don’t believe me? “Failure is an intersection,” I repeat softly. I’ve never thought of it like that. To me, failure has always been a wall I slam myself against over and over again, desperate to force myself through it. Changing course never felt like a real option. But if my single-minded focus has made me selfish, and turned me into a person I don’t want to be, what value will success even have? I seem to exist only in the places where he’s touching me; the rest of me is as weighted as a feather on the water. Harry is a current that’s bearing me away, far from the shore of everything I’ve ever known, into the heart of a boundless, long forgotten sea. Thoughts fly out of my head like dandelion seeds in a strong breeze, coasting away gently until the only thing I can focus on are physical: the warmth of this skin, the soft slip of his hair sitting through my fingers, the taste of his mouth- minty fresh, like he just popped an Altoid, which he probably did. This book is not easy to read. I spent a few time’s scanning a few passages at least two to three times just to try and understand what the main character was trying to say. It wasn’t really a comfortable experience. However, I felt I spent this time underwater and got to know this world this book built itself around and as I dove deeper and deeper, I finally got to the heart of it all. It gets better. You have to put in effort though. The story follows our main character Susannah Ramos as she explores her life through swimming and aims to accomplish her dreams. She meets another swimmer on the team, Harry. The two face conflict as they figure out their own lives on the sidelines. I will admit, I didn’t like Susannah in the beginning. She was selfish and had a narrow minded view on her life, only seeing swimming as one thing that was important to her and shut everything away. In doing so, she hurts herself and brings pain to others as well. Through all this pain, she starts to discover that she shouldn’t be placing her dream as the only thing to live for. It doesn’t define her. She knows that’s there other things that she can look to. It’s only through all this though, that’s she able to see herself in a clear light. While she swims, she suffers a left shoulder injury that tears and has to deal with all sorts of problems: breaking up, her dreams, her boyfriends bi- polar disorder and everything else. The pressures too much, but eventually, Susannah reaches for the surface, breaking free of what held her back. I have to admit, I loved all the complex passages, as overbearing to read as they were, they still have added more depth and weight to the story. I just feel like they could have been written in a smooth and graceful way. Like swans gliding on a pond. The romance in here makes you emotional. Susannah and Harry and the obstacles that keep them apart, they feel raw and realistic. True and tragic. I felt for them every once in a while, and I loved their chemistry. They were written in a way that we can’t even tell what happened. So, hand in hand, I have to say, this book is definitely a favorite. I would recommend it, but only if you like to read books with romance and lots of things to learn about. This one punched hard and has to be one of the best YA books I read for this year. As Susannah would say...”I’m ready.”

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rajiv

    [BLOG]::[YOUTUBE]::[TWITTER]::[INSTAGRAM] This was a very surprising read because I thought the book was ok in the first half, but LOVED it in the second half. Usually, most books that I read start off with a bang and maintain/lowers momentum as it progresses. Initially, “Breath Like Water” seemed ok when I started reading. The story has a nice premise but nothing much really happens in the first half. Don’t get me wrong. It felt like a decent story where two teens meet and fall in love. But, it [BLOG]::[YOUTUBE]::[TWITTER]::[INSTAGRAM] This was a very surprising read because I thought the book was ok in the first half, but LOVED it in the second half. Usually, most books that I read start off with a bang and maintain/lowers momentum as it progresses. Initially, “Breath Like Water” seemed ok when I started reading. The story has a nice premise but nothing much really happens in the first half. Don’t get me wrong. It felt like a decent story where two teens meet and fall in love. But, it seemed like the run of the mill contemporary romance book. However, I felt like the story picked up as soon as soon as Susannah learns of Harry’s secret. From then on, I couldn’t put the book down! Moreover, I really loved the whole swimming/Olympics theme of the story. I really liked Susannah and Harry as the main characters. Susannah is focused on her goals, and it was fun to see how she juggles her relationship with Harry. Even though they have their own difficulties, I loved how they lifted each other during the tough times. The author highlighted their struggles beautifully and so realistically that you feel their pain. I also liked the supporting characters like Beth, Amber, Jessa and Nina. Dave is a character you love to hate! I really despised that he got away with treating people in his team that way. I wished Susannah or Beth has put him in his place more frequently in the story. On a side note, I wished we had seen more of Jessa as she seemed like a very interesting character. Overall, “Breath Like Water” is one of those books that slowly grew on me, and went from ‘meh’ to ‘a-meh-zing’!

  29. 4 out of 5

    KayCee K

    3.6 Stars - Breath Like Water was one of the few books I've read about swimming. I did enjoy that part of the book. I liked the world of training and what that is like for a young swimmer. I also enjoyed seeing her dreaming and having to make choices for things that would affect said dream. I liked learning about what it's kinda like and the coaches, but I do wish we got to see more team stuff. Susannah does have friends on the team but I wanted more team stuff. I am someone who enjoys watching t 3.6 Stars - Breath Like Water was one of the few books I've read about swimming. I did enjoy that part of the book. I liked the world of training and what that is like for a young swimmer. I also enjoyed seeing her dreaming and having to make choices for things that would affect said dream. I liked learning about what it's kinda like and the coaches, but I do wish we got to see more team stuff. Susannah does have friends on the team but I wanted more team stuff. I am someone who enjoys watching the Olympics and I liked this little sneak peep of what it could be like wanting to become an Olympics team member. I thought that this book was going to be more about her and the journey of her being able to keep swimming, but that way just one path of this book. Another path of this book I enjoyed was her family. I found that they are strong relationships, that they are there for her and want what's best for her and so on. I have to say that there is something that happens towards the end of the book, that I wish was more of the book, I am also hoping that these two characters are their own book, I would love to see who this relationship comes about and plays out as well. When Harry came into her life I thought I knew where this book was going and I am surprised and happy that it didn't go that way. I did find that some parts of the relationship were a little rushed during some parts of the book yet other parts felt right and real. There is a HUGE thing about Harry that I didn't see coming right away but once things started happing I knew there was something going on with him but wouldn't have guessed what it turned out to be. Small spoiler in the next few lines! It has to do with his mental health, and I was surprised by how much that played into the book. I haven't read a YA book that deals with this. I think it covered/handle these topics well. Spoiler done! This book read as if there are two different stories wrapped together. I liked the characters and the plotting was well done; the writing style paints strong photos. It's filled with a lot of emotions and realizing that health both physical and mental health matters. Overall this is a bubbly, hard-hitting story of health and relationships.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gaele

    At first, I thought this story would focus only on Susannah and her struggles with coaches, parents, expectations and results as she works toward her own personal bests in swimming. And, there is plenty of that in this story - told in a rather cyclical pattern that mimics (and feels) very much like lap swim training. But, the story quickly becomes so much more as Susannah meets another swimmer, Harry, who becomes her everything as they both battle injuries, expectations, issues from pressure and At first, I thought this story would focus only on Susannah and her struggles with coaches, parents, expectations and results as she works toward her own personal bests in swimming. And, there is plenty of that in this story - told in a rather cyclical pattern that mimics (and feels) very much like lap swim training. But, the story quickly becomes so much more as Susannah meets another swimmer, Harry, who becomes her everything as they both battle injuries, expectations, issues from pressure and isolation, and fears about meeting (or failing to meet) their goals. Gentle and unassuming, the friendship and support that they get from one another quickly blossoms into more: a love that is far more mature than their ages or experience would suggest. With insets of training routines, the ups and downs of finding a goal when very young and simply focusing on it, perhaps to the detriment of other things. The determination and work-ethic involved, and the little jealousies and pitfalls that happen when milestones are reached, perhaps unevenly. What emerges from all of the emotions, the struggles and the dramas is the ability to put lessons learned in one place (the pool) to work in other aspects of your life: learning to let go and break free of the expected as you push onward to the next hoped for goal. A lovely read that is nuanced, deep and emotionally captivating as the issues the two discover, and the way they support each other, allows them to rediscover their own love for swimming, and for themselves. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. Review first appeared at I am, Indeed

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