Title: Breath Like Water
Author: Anna Jarzab
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: May 19, 2020
“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.
Susannah’s dream is to go to the Olympics. She has a tough coach, but she knows he can turn her into an Olympic athlete. In the year before her Olympic trial, another coach is brought into her school with a completely different training method. Susannah meets a boy, Harry, who gives her a life outside of the pool. She also has something happen to her that is potentially life changing. Susannah and Harry both have struggles that they have to balance on her road to the Olympic trials.
I’ve never been an athlete, so stories about sports and athletes are completely new to me. There was so much tension leading up to all of Susannah’s swim competitions. I felt myself getting nervous for her, because I couldn’t imagine myself doing what she did. I found this world of competitive swimming quite scary, both mentally and physically.
The second half of the book was dark and emotional. I don’t want to give away the plot, but there are some possible trigger points about mental health and suicide. These are things that can happen to anyone, not just competitive athletes, so the story isn’t just about sports. It’s also about the pressures with growing up and discovering your place in the world.
This is a powerful and emotional story.
Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Every Reason We Shouldn’t by Sara Fujimura
Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally
About the Author:
Anna Jarzab is a Midwesterner turned New Yorker. She lives and works in New York City and is the author of such books as Red Dirt, All Unquiet Things, The Opposite of Hallelujah, and the Many-Worlds series. Visit her online at annajarzab.com and on Twitter, @ajarzab.
Have you read Breath Like Water? What did you think of it?