How to Breathe Underwater
Kate’s father has been pressuring her to be perfect for her whole life, pushing her to be the best swimmer she can be. But when Kate finds her dad cheating on her mom, Kate’s perfect world comes crashing down, and Kate is forced to leave home and the swim team she's been a part of her whole life.Now in a new home, new school, and faced with the prospect of starting over, Kate isn't so sure that swimming is what she wants anymore. But when she decides to quit, her whole world seems to fall apart. But when Kate gets to know Michael, the cute boy that lives across the hall, she starts to think that starting over might not be so bad. There's only one problem: Michael has a girlfriend.As the pressures of love, family, and success press down on her, can Kate keep her head above water?

How to Breathe Underwater Details

TitleHow to Breathe Underwater
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 14th, 2018
PublisherMacmillan/Swoon Reads
ISBN-139781250136114
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Romance

How to Breathe Underwater Review

  • Simant ♥ Flipping Through the Pages
    January 1, 1970
    Full review on: Flipping Through the PagesHow to Breathe Underwater is a beautiful book taking you through self-discovery and realization. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It takes you through love and loss and what a thoughtful book it is.This story is about Kate who is a state-championship winner in swimming. She has spent the last 10 years of her life swimming and competing to please her father, who is also her swim coach. But her father betrays her and her family. Kate moves to a new Full review on: Flipping Through the PagesHow to Breathe Underwater is a beautiful book taking you through self-discovery and realization. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It takes you through love and loss and what a thoughtful book it is.This story is about Kate who is a state-championship winner in swimming. She has spent the last 10 years of her life swimming and competing to please her father, who is also her swim coach. But her father betrays her and her family. Kate moves to a new city with her mom. She tries to decide what swimming really means for her.She realizes that while she loves swimming and water, she really hate competing. She was doing all of the competing to just please her father who made her work harder every time. Now that she doesn’t have to please him anymore, she quits swimming in her new school. She has to find a new path for her and she is trying to understand all the changes that occurred in her life after she moved to the new city.I really loved the overall journey of Kate from her self-realization to achieving the things that actually mattered to her. She proved to be a strong character as the story progresses. She made mistakes like all teenagers do. But she was never afraid of consequences and was always ready to face them. Through all of her struggles, she learns to love and to open her heart.Michael was the love interest of Kate who lived down the hall in her building. She hadn’t known at first that he had a girlfriend and she started liking him. But when she found out about his girlfriend, it was too late for her to retreat her feeling. Between swim classes and salsa lessons, she falls for him and so does he.I totally shipped this couple and their romance was so adorable. Before they were romantically involved, they were friends and there were some quite cute moments in that friendship. Michael had a habit of smoking, because of her mother, but Kate helped her in quitting it. Both had their own problems to deal with and in this way, they found solace in each other’s company.I loved all the side characters. They were very well developed.I really liked how well Vicky Skinner has included so many heavy themes in this otherwise simple story. The issues are talked about as drama but in actual they never felt dramatic? Michael’s mom was in terrible condition because of smoking and he also was habitual to it. This shows how parents actions can make impressions on a child’s life. There are lots of teen-relevant issues shown like dealing with parents’ divorce, father-daughter relationship, falling for your friend’s guy, moving in new town and experiencing new love, and I think each of these things has perfectly been captured in the story.Overall, this is a sweet and painful story of one girl’s quest to find herself and starting her life fresh. With so many important issues handled, Vicky Skinner has shown a story dealing with love and loss in its various forms. If you like reading contemporary with love, loss, drama and challenging relationships, then this book is for you. Kate would make you love her.
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  • Karlita | Tale Out Loud
    January 1, 1970
    Full Review at Tale Out Loud | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramOnce more, I decided to test my reading choice and went blind on this book. And it seems like I had another fantastic, unforgettable experience because I was instantly hooked the moment I started reading the book.This story shows how everything turned out differently for Kate because she found herself caught in the middle of knowing who she really is and what she truly wants in life. Her love-hate relationship with the pool and memori Full Review at Tale Out Loud | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramOnce more, I decided to test my reading choice and went blind on this book. And it seems like I had another fantastic, unforgettable experience because I was instantly hooked the moment I started reading the book.This story shows how everything turned out differently for Kate because she found herself caught in the middle of knowing who she really is and what she truly wants in life. Her love-hate relationship with the pool and memories of her father only gave her anxiety and panic episodes, and soon became a traumatic event for her that she needs to overcome.Like everyone else, Kate experienced the same effects of toxic stress dealt from having helicopter parents. Her character is a real depiction of those children, young adults and sometimes, even adults who was put under an enormous amount of pressure and expectations by their parents who gear them up towards success.I love how genuine her character was. Kate was a sixteen year old who struggled being the new girl, trying to adjust with her new life whilst fighting a crush over someone’s boyfriend, added a teenage feels that I’m sure most of us experienced when we were in high school. She also learned to be free from every expectations and gain not her father, mother or even her sister’s approval but her own, which was brave and admirable.On the other hand, I understand why Lily, Kate’s older sister, ditched her own wedding even if she knew how much she loves Tom. The divorce of her parents gave her too much doubt that she feared her own relationship would end up to be like theirs. She may always be there for Kate but in the end, both of them are just the same—drowning, struggling to keep up with the wave of life.That same goes with Michael. His tremendous love for his mother was truly touching and heart breaking and yet scary because he might be taking good care of his mother, but he wasn’t taking good care of himself. The pain both him and Kate experienced was what brought them together making the slow burn romance sweet and tragic all at the same time. And although his relationship with Kate somehow started as awkward, I love how in every furtive glance, comforting gestures and simple touch, the chemistry between them could steal each page time.Michael’s character also shows how smoking may gave emotional comfort but like any other kind of addiction, the effect was totally frightening. He may have fought it once with Kate’s help but the moment he admitted he went smoking again but thriving to be better, was a real life story.The issue about using drugs in the world of sports was also brought through Harris’ character that rooted from peer pressure. He wanted to be as good as Kate that he resorted the easiest way he knew.The emotional depth pulled in each character including the supporting ones was what made this book easy to read. From Harris, Patrice to Coach Masterson and Kate’s mother, Vicky Skinner was able to write a story that vibrated a deeper connection between her readers and those of her characters.The writing style brought me into a new journey of emotions, making me feel what they feel. And considering this, the story ended quite satisfying and eventful given that everyone may not have their own happily ever after but rather, the author leave the characters at their own pace.How to Breathe Underwater is a story that renders how we go on freestyle when it's too much and giving our best stroke when it is not enough. It is a heartfelt, moving story about pain, loss and new beginnings.***Thank you to NetGalley, MacMillian Children’s Publishing Group – Swoon Reads, Xpresso Book Tours and Vicky Skinner for providing me an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review!
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  • Samantha (WLABB)
    January 1, 1970
    Kate spent the last ten years of her life working to be the best in order to earn her father's love, until he betrayed her and her family. Forced to start over in a new town, in a new school, in a new home, she had to figure out what swimming really meant to her, and if it even still belonged in her life.• Pro: I am a fan of feeling the feels, and Skinner definitely delivered. Kate's anguish with separating swimming from her father was palpable. Her emotions were raw and real, and I really felt Kate spent the last ten years of her life working to be the best in order to earn her father's love, until he betrayed her and her family. Forced to start over in a new town, in a new school, in a new home, she had to figure out what swimming really meant to her, and if it even still belonged in her life.• Pro: I am a fan of feeling the feels, and Skinner definitely delivered. Kate's anguish with separating swimming from her father was palpable. Her emotions were raw and real, and I really felt her pain as she struggled with trying to remember why she swam or if she ever enjoyed it at all. • Pro: Kate also wrestled with who she was without swimming. I love journeys of self discovery, and Kate had a long journey ahead of her. But I had faith in Kate. She had a lot more inner strength than she thought she did, and I found myself rooting for her to find herself and find some peace. • Pro: Michael and Kate together was romance gold for me. They had a great connection, and I really felt the stirrings of love between them. The situation was a little bit awkward, but I thought Skinner built a good enough case to explain the hows and whys, and I was ok with all of it. • Pro: The relationship between Kate and her sister was pretty wonderful. The whole family was kind of falling apart, but they were all still there for each other. • Pro: The final chapters were really strong for me. There were a lot of really joyful things that happened, which left me in a happy place. I was really glad with the path Skinner chose for these characters. • Pro: I am a fan of sports in books, and I was really glad that swimming was featured quite prominently in this story. The life of an elite athlete fascinates me, and getting a peek into their lives is always so eye-opening. Overall: A sweet, touching, painful, and sometimes fun story of one girl's quest to find herself and begin anew. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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  • Maggie
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, my heart. What a deep, thoughtful look into love and loss in its many forms. Everyone can relate to Kate and Michael's struggles and triumphs in some way or another, even if you're not a star swimmer or above-average salsa dancer. :) I can't wait for this book to be out in the world so that I can recommended it highly (and face it out at every bookstore I see it at!)
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Prior to starting Vickey Skinner's How to Breathe Underwater, I hadn't heard too much about it. However, I can never resist a pretty cover and a synopsis that screams romance and contemporary goodness so I eagerly dove in. The result? How to Breathe Underwater was one heck of a treat! Romantic, emotional, and funny, How to Breathe Underwater managed to wow me the whole way through. How to Breathe Underwater introduces Kate, a high school junior, who isn't having the best year. She's dealing with Prior to starting Vickey Skinner's How to Breathe Underwater, I hadn't heard too much about it. However, I can never resist a pretty cover and a synopsis that screams romance and contemporary goodness so I eagerly dove in. The result? How to Breathe Underwater was one heck of a treat! Romantic, emotional, and funny, How to Breathe Underwater managed to wow me the whole way through. How to Breathe Underwater introduces Kate, a high school junior, who isn't having the best year. She's dealing with family drama, friend drama, and starting all over at a new school. She's trying her best to be positive, but it's hard to do when everything seems to be going to wrong. I adored Kate from the get-go. She was sweet and kind, and I loved seeing her bloom in her new environment. I also appreciated how she always tried her best to do the right thing. Sometimes it all still blew up in her face, but you could tell she was always coming from a good place. Michael, the love interest in this, was SWOONY as heck! From the moment he was introduced I was praying he would be the one. He was the perfect mix of moody and light, and I loved the chemistry between him and Kate. It flowed well, and, more importantly, it made it easy to root for them! In addition to Michael and Kate, Vickey introduces a variety of other characters - Kate's friends, family, etc. Every single character brought something special to the book, and I loved pretty much every single one of them (well, besides Kate's dad...he was a bit of a jerk...scratch that a HUGE jerk). Vickey did a great job of developing everyone, and while I wish there had been more of them, I was 100% content with what I got. The plot in this mainly involves romance and creating a new life when everything gets turned upside down. I always love a starting fresh story line, and that rang true here. It was exciting to be there every step of the way with Kate. The romance in this had so much wonderful build up - there were so many times I was like "just kiss already!" but let me tell you, the wait was worth it in the end! Overall, summer may soon be coming to an end, but that doesn't mean there isn't time to fit some more summer reading in! How to Breathe Underwater should definitely be on your end of summer reading lists. It's sweet, heartwarming, and charming - I simply adored it and I think many others will as well!
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  • Ms. Nguyen
    January 1, 1970
    Kate's world is turned upside down when her dad (and swim coach) is caught making out with a swim mom in his office.. in front of everybody. Her mom uproots her to be closer to her engaged sister.. and the rest is.. a boring, cliched story.I skimmed the last few chapters of this book because I just didn't want to waste precious reading time. Kate is a character that's hard to like or empathize with. The writing is mediocre and just nothing special. The insta love is cringey and silly. And the co Kate's world is turned upside down when her dad (and swim coach) is caught making out with a swim mom in his office.. in front of everybody. Her mom uproots her to be closer to her engaged sister.. and the rest is.. a boring, cliched story.I skimmed the last few chapters of this book because I just didn't want to waste precious reading time. Kate is a character that's hard to like or empathize with. The writing is mediocre and just nothing special. The insta love is cringey and silly. And the competing plot lines makes for a plot driven story-- not a complex character analysis.
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  • Amelia Brunskill
    January 1, 1970
    This book takes a heartfelt look at how it can feel to move to a new school, have a crush on someone who is already spoken for, and deal with parental expectations that have become more of a burden than a blessing. I enjoyed the characters, and I also appreciated what felt like an insider's look into the world of competitive swimming.
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  • Dewey
    January 1, 1970
    While there were small portions of this that I enjoyed, I think my favorite thing about it was that it was short enough to finish reading in a few hours on my plane ride to Washington DC. Just reading the synopsis clues you in on what the book will be like--kind of choppy, not always very well thought out, and a little repetitive. This book had a lot going on. Kate's dad cheats on her mom, resulting in chapter one: Kate moves to Portland with her mom. In the aftermath of The Affair, (view spoile While there were small portions of this that I enjoyed, I think my favorite thing about it was that it was short enough to finish reading in a few hours on my plane ride to Washington DC. Just reading the synopsis clues you in on what the book will be like--kind of choppy, not always very well thought out, and a little repetitive. This book had a lot going on. Kate's dad cheats on her mom, resulting in chapter one: Kate moves to Portland with her mom. In the aftermath of The Affair, (view spoiler)[we get Kate despising her dad and quitting swimming because everything good about it is now outweighed by the bad. We also see Kate alternately worrying about her mom and her mom basically not existing, Kate helping her sister leave her husband-to-be at the alter and then watching her obviously struggle with depression. We meet Michael and learn about his mom's bad health. We discover, after Kate has fallen hard in a matter of minutes for him, that Michael is dating Patrice, *gasp* one of the two girls Kate met in her first five minutes at school and almost immediately became best friends with. After this revelation, we are repeatedly treated to Kate's conflicting emotions over wanting to be friends with Patrice versus wanting to be with Michael...although if we're being real, this is more Kate lamenting the fact that Patrice is dating Michael so she can't be. Finally, throughout the book, we are witness to Kate struggling to keep her relationship with her long-time best friend alive after it immediately fell apart the second she moved. (hide spoiler)] With so many big conflicts, there wasn't enough time to devote to all of it, and it left everything feeling rushed and under-developed. (view spoiler)[Then, of course, there's Kate being the shittiest friend ever. After she meets Patrice, the reader is treated to multiple references to how unbelievably kind she is. Kate not only finds out Patrice is dating Michael, she later learns from Michael's best friend that the poor girl has been into him for basically her whole life. Then Michael dumps Patrice after she stays with him all night at the hospital and within a matter of hours declares his feelings for Kate and makes out with her in his kitchen. Later that day, Kate spends time with Patrice and sees how upset she is. She tells Michael about it, and Michael says that they can wait a bit to start dating if Kate thinks it would be better for Patrice. Kate, in true amazing friend form, is like, "nah, dude, why should I wait to spare my friend's feelings? Let's do this thing." Like.......are we supposed to feel bad for her when Patrice calls her out and everyone is being mean to her? I do feel bad for her when the swim team calls her a slut, because that's pretty much always a fucked up thing to do to someone, but beyond that...Kate was a total dick. She kinda had it coming. (hide spoiler)](view spoiler)[Next up...Michael being described as "too nice" to break up with Patrice even though he didn't have, and had never had, feelings for her, as though this makes him some kind of fucking white knight. Ugh. Just no. It's not a nice thing to agree to go out with someone that you don't like. It's not nice to continue dating them so you can use them when you're bummed out about your mom and ignore them the rest of the time. It's not nice to not break up with someone that you don't care about to spare their feelings. Nothing about that situation made him a nice guy, and it floors me that Kate was privy to Patrice's side of their relationship and didn't have a problem with it. What's more, I think the book would have been better without the needless, forced bit of love triangle drama. Why must we constantly pit two girls against each other in a quest for the same guy? Why is this such a go-to conflict? Be more creative. (hide spoiler)]I could go on and on about the things in this book that got under my skin, but it feels like overkill. At the end of the day...I was intrigued by the premise of this book, but it squandered its potential. With so many amazing books out there, this one is lackluster. There are better options out there. Read one of those.
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  • Samantha Hastings
    January 1, 1970
    It’s definitely a book to dive into! Kate is a likable and relate-able character who is dealing with her parent’s messy divorce, moving, a new love, and swimming. Kate is angry at her father (who is also her former swim coach) for pressuring her to swim so hard in hopes of gaining his elusive approval. The author gives a realistic and important look at the pressure parents can put on their teens when they compete in sports. Kate has to decide for herself if she wants to compete in swimming or ju It’s definitely a book to dive into! Kate is a likable and relate-able character who is dealing with her parent’s messy divorce, moving, a new love, and swimming. Kate is angry at her father (who is also her former swim coach) for pressuring her to swim so hard in hopes of gaining his elusive approval. The author gives a realistic and important look at the pressure parents can put on their teens when they compete in sports. Kate has to decide for herself if she wants to compete in swimming or just enjoy the water. Meanwhile, her best friend isn’t answering her calls, her sister got cold feet on her wedding-day, her mom is sad, and the boy that Kate likes already has a girlfriend. The book is packed with excellent character development and Kate’s ultimate resolution rings true. The book also explores the themes of grief, mourning, and forgiveness in a thought-provoking, but not preachy way.
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  • Katy Upperman
    January 1, 1970
    Three Awesome Things About HOW TO BREATH UNDERWATER1. Fully developed cast. While Kate is the protagonist of this debut, she's not the only character with layers and flaws and problems. Her parents, sister, love interest, and friends all have challenges that play out alongside Kate's. I appreciate when a story feels as complicated as real life, and HTBU definitely does. 2. Sweet, slow-burn romance. Love doesn't come easy for Kate and her v. cute salsa dancing neighbor, Michael, which means that Three Awesome Things About HOW TO BREATH UNDERWATER1. Fully developed cast. While Kate is the protagonist of this debut, she's not the only character with layers and flaws and problems. Her parents, sister, love interest, and friends all have challenges that play out alongside Kate's. I appreciate when a story feels as complicated as real life, and HTBU definitely does. 2. Sweet, slow-burn romance. Love doesn't come easy for Kate and her v. cute salsa dancing neighbor, Michael, which means that when they finally begin to work things out, the payoff is so worth it. 3. Skillful prose. For a book with a lot of heavy themes, HTBU remains a smooth and endearing read. Vicky infuses the novel with thoughtful commentary and just the right amount of humor, making it feel like a wonderful escape.Check this one out when it debuts August, 2018!
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  • Rebecca June
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Vicky Skinner, Swoon Reads, and Xpresso Book Tours for a free eArc of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review was originally posted on my blog, June Reads Books."Michael didn't expect anything from me. My father, my mother, even Lily, they all expected something from me, whether I was ready to give it or not. But Michael just looked at me like he was waiting. He was waiting to see what I would do next, what I would say next, who I would be in the next ten minutes" (p. 9 Thank you Vicky Skinner, Swoon Reads, and Xpresso Book Tours for a free eArc of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review was originally posted on my blog, June Reads Books."Michael didn't expect anything from me. My father, my mother, even Lily, they all expected something from me, whether I was ready to give it or not. But Michael just looked at me like he was waiting. He was waiting to see what I would do next, what I would say next, who I would be in the next ten minutes" (p. 90).After Kate's father successfully ruins Kate's life by getting caught cheating by the WHOLE swim team, Kate's mother moves them out to Seattle to be close to her college-age sister, Lily. Not only does Kate need to deal with a wave of hurt, she also needs to get used to a new city, a new school, and being away from her best friend. Can anyone do that gracefully? Luckily, Kate's mom is one of those people persons and has made friends with people in their building before they're even unpacked--including this super cute boy named Michael.Michael from the get-go is kind and funny. Even though Kate's mom has already told him everything anyone needs to know about Kate, he still wants to know more and really invests in her. He's one of those characters that radiates sunshine and you just can't be sad when he's in the scene. Unfortunately, his life presents it's own set of challenges, specifically his mother, who's cough just keeps getting worse and worse.It's clear that Kate and Michael deal with their struggles in different ways--Kate is angry at her dad and scared of life without swimming, terrified of learning how to breath again. She tries to make the most of her situation by making friends, but her emotions are fairly close to the surface. Michael pushes his emotions down, instead focusing on being positive and having fun. As they wrestle through the hand life has dealt them, I loved seeing it shape who they are, how to support each other, and how they feel about each other. My heart couldn't get anymore full.While Kate has a lot of anger and lashes out sometimes, I found all the characters to be redeeming and show positive growth. Skinner's writing is captivating and uplifting, while still facing the conflicts head-on. Everything about this book is feel-good and I'm all about it.
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  • Candyce Kirk
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsHow to Breather Underwater sucked me in from the start. This author's writing style is really enjoyable. We see a lot of books in the YA genre about teenagers that end up having some family problems. This was the first one I read where the main character starts questioning her passion for the sport she thought she loved.Kate is really hurt when she finds out her father has been cheating on her mother. Her mother moves them to another city and this turns her life upside down. Another sch 3.5 starsHow to Breather Underwater sucked me in from the start. This author's writing style is really enjoyable. We see a lot of books in the YA genre about teenagers that end up having some family problems. This was the first one I read where the main character starts questioning her passion for the sport she thought she loved.Kate is really hurt when she finds out her father has been cheating on her mother. Her mother moves them to another city and this turns her life upside down. Another school, home and new swimming team. That's when things get tricky though, she starts freaking out at the thought of swimming or even being in a pool.Not only is she in a new location, but her schedule is different as well. No more intensive swimming schedule, diet and more time for a social life. Kate meets Michael (her neighbor) and they connect. He has some problems of his own, buts she trusts him.I loved reading about Kate trying to adjust to her new life and how she feels. Of course she's hurt and doesn't know what to think of her father anymore, let alone swimming. Her best friend is in a different own and constantly swimming with her father and she feels a bit betrayed.I loved Michael's character and he was very strong for a boy his age. Dealing with family issues will do that I guess, but not everyone can handle that. He's also a rock for Kate when things fall apart for her. I think that made it easier for Kate to decide not to swim for awhile and think about what she really wanted.Kate's journey was a very interesting one and I am happy this author wrote it. Even though her relationship with her Dad became hurtful, she became closer with her mother and sister. The unconditional love they had for each other was very touching.There were a few things that bugged me though, I felt like we missed some information about Michael. I know this was Kate's story, but Michael was a big part of it as well. His story would've been so much more real if maybe we got his POV as well.Kate's sister has some issues of her own and in ways I didn't completely feel that it fit in this story. While it did, it didn't get a lot of attention, so it kind of felt out of place. Even though I loved how her story ended!Also, the way Kate is treated when her friends think she was cheating with Michael. Yes, it may have seemed that way and things may have gone fast, but I hated how she was treated. Then again, I know that high school can work this way.All in all, I did enjoy Kate's journey and this story. I wouldn't even mind reading another book to see how all of these characters are doing in college. I even think Ben should get his own story, haha.
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  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    There's a lot to unravel here, so bear with me. I'm still in awe of the profound emotional roller coaster I just experienced with this heartfelt story. Skinner has a way with words that elicits your emotions and keeps you engaged page after page. Kate is a fairly average teenager, save for one big exception, she's the best swimmer in the state. With her dad as her coach constantly pushing her to do more, be better, work harder, etc. there's a lot of emotional baggage tied into her sport. When Ka There's a lot to unravel here, so bear with me. I'm still in awe of the profound emotional roller coaster I just experienced with this heartfelt story. Skinner has a way with words that elicits your emotions and keeps you engaged page after page. Kate is a fairly average teenager, save for one big exception, she's the best swimmer in the state. With her dad as her coach constantly pushing her to do more, be better, work harder, etc. there's a lot of emotional baggage tied into her sport. When Kate's life turns upside down after her dad's affair becomes public, it's more than just a relocation. It is the first time Kate really questions whether she wants to keep swimming now that she's not striving for her father's attention.I imagine switching schools after growing up with the same team is difficult in itself, then add the pressure of being "the best", any kid would have a hard time. Kate manages to navigate her new circumstances with less than stellar grace and a few bad choices to makes things more challenging. Crushing on the boy next door is adorable and sweet, but navigating through an existing girlfriend and trying to make new friends does not make it easy. Kate's struggles with her new family life are an integral part of the story. Divorce is a difficult topic to write about, but Skinner does an exceptional job keeping things just the right amount of heavy without feeling overwhelming. It was important that we see how the divorce is affecting Kate's mom and sister as well. The camaraderie of their shared heartache is a refreshingly honest look at the emotional toll divorce can have on a family. Michael and Kate's friendship is the bright light in an otherwise tumultuous world. There's one particular scene that stands out in my mind where they sit in the hallway across from each other in the middle of the night eating ice cream. That sweet moment of friendship made me wish I had a neighbor like that, especially as I suffered from insomnia in high school too. I found their story endearing and frustrating at the same time. It is a splendid story fraught with awkward moments, sweet gestures, and a fair amount of hardship. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy a heartfelt look at what strengths lie in moving on and forgiveness.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    This book was full of feelings! It was really well written and it was easy to sympathize with the main character Kate. Her dad was caught cheating, so Kate's mom decided to move them to Portland to start a new life. Kate went through tons of growth in this book. She was a really amazing swimmer who swam on her dad's team. When she was away from him, she had to decide if that was something she actually wanted. Her struggle with determining how she wanted to proceed with swimming was realistic and This book was full of feelings! It was really well written and it was easy to sympathize with the main character Kate. Her dad was caught cheating, so Kate's mom decided to move them to Portland to start a new life. Kate went through tons of growth in this book. She was a really amazing swimmer who swam on her dad's team. When she was away from him, she had to decide if that was something she actually wanted. Her struggle with determining how she wanted to proceed with swimming was realistic and heartbreaking. She also had ups and downs in all of her relationships. She left old friends, made new friends, met a boy she likes, and found out said boy has a girlfriend. Kate and Michael had a really great relationship. I really enjoyed their interaction, but the fact that he had a girlfriend made it a little difficult to get behind their relationship 100%. I really loved her relationship with her sister. They were extremely close and we're really there for each other in some difficult times. Overall, this book was really good. It was heartbreakingly sad in so many ways, but it was well worth the read.I received an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group Publishing via NetGalley.
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  • Lisa Super
    January 1, 1970
    The perfect end-of-summer read to enjoy by the pool. I flew through this one and highly recommend for someone wanting a romance that’s light and hopeful, but still deals with some darker issues that give it a little edge. I also adored the sibling relationship between Kate and Lily.
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  • Meghan
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVE this book! I LOVE the characters! I love how there are issues and drama in this book without being dramatic. Every one of us has gone through something like one of these characters. And we need a book like this to know we’re not alone. To know we’ll get through. There’s a teen out there right now who needs this book. It can change lives.
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  • Alexis Neuville
    January 1, 1970
    Great story that made me laugh, cry, and super happy. Has a lot going on within the pages, but does a really good job at handling all the different subplots.
  • Caitlin
    January 1, 1970
    In author Vicky Skinner’s novel ‘How to Breathe Underwater’ readers follow in the strokes of Kate who has spent her life being a competitive swimmer. Kate has her whole life figured out, but when her dad, who is also her swimming coach, cheats on her mom, Kate and her mom leave and move to the city of Portland. Kate has to start everything over—new life, new school, new friends, and new…love interest? Kate quits swimming, which is a big blow since it was the one thing she had, her mom is sufferi In author Vicky Skinner’s novel ‘How to Breathe Underwater’ readers follow in the strokes of Kate who has spent her life being a competitive swimmer. Kate has her whole life figured out, but when her dad, who is also her swimming coach, cheats on her mom, Kate and her mom leave and move to the city of Portland. Kate has to start everything over—new life, new school, new friends, and new…love interest? Kate quits swimming, which is a big blow since it was the one thing she had, her mom is suffering from depression, and her sister decides to cancel her wedding—all due to Kate’s father’s actions. Kate tries to find other things to occupy her mind. And then she meets Michael, the boy across the hall and quickly they become friends. Things are finally starting to look up. As Kate and Michael build their friendship, Kate must jump another hurdle when she finds out Michael has a girlfriend. Maybe things aren’t looking so great. Can Kate overcome the ghosts of her past and look towards a brighter future? And without swimming, her one crutch, can she keep her new life from drowning too?Vicky Skinner does a great job of creating relatable and honest characters. Each character has flaws, and faces problems and challenges which builds a complex story with deep character growth and development. Through its characters, ‘How to Breathe Underwater’ deals with tough topics in a lighthearted and humorous way.For fans of complex stories and relationships that like a bit of sports mixed in, ‘How to Breathe Underwater’ is surely a book for their shelves.
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  • Shawn
    January 1, 1970
    If you like romance and new beginnings, you'll love Kate. She and her mom have just moved to a new city and a new school after a scandal tore their family apart. As Kate struggles to come to terms with her father's infidelity, she abandons the one thing she's always had -- competitive swimming. Her father was her coach and she can't look at a pool without seeing him. As Kate starts her new (non-swimming) life, she meets the literal boy next door, her across-the-hall neighbor Michael. The two for If you like romance and new beginnings, you'll love Kate. She and her mom have just moved to a new city and a new school after a scandal tore their family apart. As Kate struggles to come to terms with her father's infidelity, she abandons the one thing she's always had -- competitive swimming. Her father was her coach and she can't look at a pool without seeing him. As Kate starts her new (non-swimming) life, she meets the literal boy next door, her across-the-hall neighbor Michael. The two form a fast friendship, and Kate realizes she's falling for him. But Michael has a girlfriend, and Kate has enough on her plate without thinking about boys. She's doing all she can just to keep her head above water.I particularly loved the writing in this book. It was sweet and subtle. Kate and Michael's relationship feels natural as it takes time to grow. Life can be messy and miserable, but that doesn't mean we can't get through it. And that's what Kate teaches us as she picks up the pieces of her life and tries to make a new picture with them.
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  • Kathryn Berla
    January 1, 1970
    Kate is a competitive swimmer whose identity has unfortunately become indistinguishable from her achievements in the water. When it all comes tumbling down, Kate has to start over at the age of 17, discovering who she is without the foundation that's shaped most of her life. Of course there's love and it's an intensely personal story, but it's much more than that. Her journey of self-discovery is at times painful but ultimately redemptive. She makes mistakes like we all do. Ms. Skinner never por Kate is a competitive swimmer whose identity has unfortunately become indistinguishable from her achievements in the water. When it all comes tumbling down, Kate has to start over at the age of 17, discovering who she is without the foundation that's shaped most of her life. Of course there's love and it's an intensely personal story, but it's much more than that. Her journey of self-discovery is at times painful but ultimately redemptive. She makes mistakes like we all do. Ms. Skinner never portrays her to be a perfect human being and that's where the real interest lies. Kate doesn't run away from her mistakes, she faces up to them. And out of her pain comes growth, compassion and the willingness to open her heart to love.
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  • P.A. Pursley
    January 1, 1970
    I am not a huge relationship based book reader but this one was great! The relationships felt real and maybe because it hit a little close to home is why it made me cry. The story is well-written and takes on relationships between friends, parents, and lovers. I look forward to reading more by Vicky Skinner!This book is about Kate who is uprooted from her home and shoved into a new school trying to find new friends and her place in a new city. It truly is about learning how to breathe when you f I am not a huge relationship based book reader but this one was great! The relationships felt real and maybe because it hit a little close to home is why it made me cry. The story is well-written and takes on relationships between friends, parents, and lovers. I look forward to reading more by Vicky Skinner!This book is about Kate who is uprooted from her home and shoved into a new school trying to find new friends and her place in a new city. It truly is about learning how to breathe when you feel like you are drowning! Loved it!If you enjoy YA, swimming, dancing, and books about challenging relationships...this book is for you!
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  • T.M. Hall
    January 1, 1970
    I'm loving the spate of sporty YA novels out there at the moment. This one is in the elite world of swimming, and I like that swimming is at the foreground rather than in the background. But then the teen-relevant issues covered (like falling for your best friend's guy, dealing with divorce and dad-daughter relationships, and experiencing first love) compliment the setting, and make them original and interesting. By the end I was up until 1am to finish because I had to know what was going to hap I'm loving the spate of sporty YA novels out there at the moment. This one is in the elite world of swimming, and I like that swimming is at the foreground rather than in the background. But then the teen-relevant issues covered (like falling for your best friend's guy, dealing with divorce and dad-daughter relationships, and experiencing first love) compliment the setting, and make them original and interesting. By the end I was up until 1am to finish because I had to know what was going to happen. Strong female heroine, great romance, great teen angst issues. Loved it all the way.
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  • Teresa
    January 1, 1970
    ****3.5 Stars****This book grew on me as soon as I put it down. Kate is someone that I think everyone can relate to in some way....doesn't everyone struggle with deciding what they want vs. what their parents want for them at some point in their life? (If this hasn't happened to you then I guess this book won't resonate with you as much as it did me). Throw in a cute boy that she isn't sure she can have and Vicky Skinner has written a fun, touching book that had me rooting for Kate until the las ****3.5 Stars****This book grew on me as soon as I put it down. Kate is someone that I think everyone can relate to in some way....doesn't everyone struggle with deciding what they want vs. what their parents want for them at some point in their life? (If this hasn't happened to you then I guess this book won't resonate with you as much as it did me). Throw in a cute boy that she isn't sure she can have and Vicky Skinner has written a fun, touching book that had me rooting for Kate until the last page. Thanks to Swoon Reads for the ARC!
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  • Jennifer H.
    January 1, 1970
    This one made me all kinds of nervous! A story - that at its core is raw and real - but also shows how sometimes second chances come around because we weren't ready the first time.
  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, so it’s time for another BookCon ARC review! This is one that I picked up kind of randomly from Swoon Reads, but I usually love Swoon Reads books, so I was pretty excited. Unfortunately, it really fell short for me.The problem is that the entire book is one cliche after another. The other problem is that the characters are huge cliches. The third problem is that Kate is an idiot. I was actually going to give this book two stars because it’s not like it’s the worst thing I’ve ever read, but Okay, so it’s time for another BookCon ARC review! This is one that I picked up kind of randomly from Swoon Reads, but I usually love Swoon Reads books, so I was pretty excited. Unfortunately, it really fell short for me.The problem is that the entire book is one cliche after another. The other problem is that the characters are huge cliches. The third problem is that Kate is an idiot. I was actually going to give this book two stars because it’s not like it’s the worst thing I’ve ever read, but then I couldn’t come up with a single thing I liked about it, so one star it is.I feel like a lot of the problems I had with this book would be considered spoilers, and since this is an ARC review, I don’t want to do that, so here are some sentences about what I disliked, sorry that some of them are super vague:• The love interest, Michael, is a Cute Boy Who Smokes and that’s it, that’s his character. Over 362 pages, he really isn’t expanded much from that initial impression.• Kate calls her dad “Coach,” which is the weirdest thing and I couldn’t get over it.• Kate is also really dumb, like she doesn’t know what an administrative assistant is and she wonders what the “curious” orange-red pasta sauce is and it’s… wait for it… marinara, definitely the most exotic of all the pasta sauces.• Michael has a girlfriend, which is not a spoiler since it’s in the synopsis that I should have read before picking up this book.• I feel like age differences really aren’t that big of a deal once you’re a legal adult, but a six-year age difference when you’re only sixteen years old is a lot and it’s never once addressed.• There’s this random scene where a group of girls attack Kate for hanging out with Michael and it just doesn’t make any sense.• There are just really strange sentences that shouldn’t have made it past an editor.• Every boy is in love with Kate because why not.• The BIG PLOT TWIST involving Kate’s best friend from before she moved is so painfully obvious that I actually rolled my eyes at the big reveal.• Every character is incredibly overdramatic. (“She turned and left me there, alone with my peanut butter and my own guilt.”)Some quotes that I actually liked so I can end this review on a semi-positive note:• “Patrice kept talking. She must not have realized that I was dying.”• I groaned, pressing the heels of my hands into my eyes. “Just leave me here. I’m such a mess.”“Messes aren’t so bad. People who have it all put together are overrated.”• “Is there a limit to how much you’re allowed to complain about something? I don’t remember them passing that law. I have a feeling people wouldn’t stand for it.”
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this! I'm a sucker for a YA contemporary that features sports of any kind. At the beginning, I assumed the book would be about Kate and swimming. I knew some sort of wrench would be thrown into that, but I didn't know what. Needless to say, I didn't expect her dad to be caught cheating. And it was almost surprising that he really turned out not that great of a person after seeing how obsessed Kate was with the sport and the pool and the water.But her move to Portland is where the story r I loved this! I'm a sucker for a YA contemporary that features sports of any kind. At the beginning, I assumed the book would be about Kate and swimming. I knew some sort of wrench would be thrown into that, but I didn't know what. Needless to say, I didn't expect her dad to be caught cheating. And it was almost surprising that he really turned out not that great of a person after seeing how obsessed Kate was with the sport and the pool and the water.But her move to Portland is where the story really begins. I pretty much loved Michael from the start—just like Kate. I didn't love his smoking habit, but understand how it fits into the story with his mother's illness and later passing. (And I find it so cute that he ultimately quits because of Kate.) Everything from their swimming/dancing lesson arrangement to the slow burn between them was absolutely swoon-worthy, and I couldn't get enough. I will say I don't love how quickly they got together and how it unfortunately hurt Patrice in the process, but I'm not overly fussed about it as everything worked out in the end. Can I also say I really enjoyed Ben as a character. I really want to know more about his story—maybe a companion with him at Stanford or something? I'd read it.I can't finish this review off without talking about Harris. His steroid use was another aspect I kind of called near the beginning but didn't actually think would happen. I feel like the why for him could have been fleshed out a little bit more. Also, I thought the fact that basically the entire team knew and was OK with this illegal activity and cheating and was totally OK with it and even shunned his girlfriend for ultimately telling was pretty unrealistic. I think most athletes are for clean sports, and there's no way the people Harris was beating out for spots in the relay and at meets knew and didn't care about him cheating to get ahead.Steroid storyline aside, I really did enjoy this book and think it was a great debut for Skinner. It's definitely going on my read again list.
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  • Rachel Jing
    January 1, 1970
    A good book but weird pacing. The ending seemed very rushed, with everything happening at once and everything being resolved at once. I feel like the biggest issue with this book is that there were too many problems being tackled, so none of them were really explored too in-depth. Here is a brief list of ALL the hard situations this book portrays:- Parental expectations - Cheating - Liking someone who is in a relationship - Steroid use - Illnesses - Death - Addictions- Abandoning fiancée at the A good book but weird pacing. The ending seemed very rushed, with everything happening at once and everything being resolved at once. I feel like the biggest issue with this book is that there were too many problems being tackled, so none of them were really explored too in-depth. Here is a brief list of ALL the hard situations this book portrays:- Parental expectations - Cheating - Liking someone who is in a relationship - Steroid use - Illnesses - Death - Addictions- Abandoning fiancée at the altar - Moving towns and leaving best friends- Realizing you don’t like doing the one thing you’ve done your entire life See???? I don’t know why Vicky Skinner tried to incorporate ALL of these issues. I feel like at least half of the things previously mentioned could’ve been saved for another book. **Also, 75% of these issues arose in the LAST 50 PAGES.** This is what I mean by weird pacing - it was just overwhelming, and became such a plot-driven book that I didn’t really end up connecting with the characters. Like Michael was cute and he and Kate had a cute relationship, but very cookie-cutter; nothing that made me completely obsessed.Overall, it was an interesting book, and none of the characters really annoyed me to the core. So that’s good. But if you do pick up this one, be prepared to get hit by Murphy’s Law: everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
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  • Chloe
    January 1, 1970
    Review3.75 🌟 🌟 🌟 💫How To Breathe Underwater tells the story of Kate. It starts with a boom, her father is cheating on her mother and she finds out in the middle of a swimming practice. Her life changes drastically, she has to move to a different city and start again. That's when she meets Michael, her neighbor and they develop a friendship.Kate has mixed feelings about everything that's happening, thinking about every decision she has made. She's learning to be herself and that's very authentic Review3.75 🌟 🌟 🌟 💫How To Breathe Underwater tells the story of Kate. It starts with a boom, her father is cheating on her mother and she finds out in the middle of a swimming practice. Her life changes drastically, she has to move to a different city and start again. That's when she meets Michael, her neighbor and they develop a friendship.Kate has mixed feelings about everything that's happening, thinking about every decision she has made. She's learning to be herself and that's very authentic and I like when characters are realistic.The chemistry is easy and fast between Michael and her, they connect like they've known each other their whole lives.The book in itself is good, I'd consider it a fall reading, so perfect for the months ahead, but the drama was easy to spot since the beginning (for myself). I saw what was going to happen when I read the first chapters so later when it happened I wasn't very surprised. However, you read about a teenager growing up faster than she should be and making mistakes.I recommend it for those who like to read young adult and romance.
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  • Chrissie Morrison
    January 1, 1970
    Kate was an amazing swimmer.  She even held the state record in the 200-yard freestyle.  But, she she made it a point not to make a big deal about her swimming prowess when she started at her new school.  Why?  She wanted to avoid extra attention for a while because she needed to focus on adjusting to her new life.  You see, Kate's whole life blew up because her dad, aka Coach Masterson, was caught cheating on her mom.  Kate had to move, change schools, and leave her old swim team behind.  Aside Kate was an amazing swimmer.  She even held the state record in the 200-yard freestyle.  But, she she made it a point not to make a big deal about her swimming prowess when she started at her new school.  Why?  She wanted to avoid extra attention for a while because she needed to focus on adjusting to her new life.  You see, Kate's whole life blew up because her dad, aka Coach Masterson, was caught cheating on her mom.  Kate had to move, change schools, and leave her old swim team behind.  Aside from keeping up with school work and making new friends, she had a whole lot on her plate.  Kate was doing her best to keep her mom from falling apart, helping out with her sister Lily's wedding, and even kinda falling for Michael -- the boy across the hall in her new apartment building...  With so much change already coming her way, Kate thought that maybe it would be easier to just start over and reinvent herself; leave swimming behind.  But was she really ready to move on, or was she only thinking about quitting because swimming was so closely linked to her dad? Happy Reading!
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  • Moa (The Reading Faery)
    January 1, 1970
    How to Breathe Underwater was a really sweet story. The characters were all okay, the main character was relatable, the plot was interesting and the romance was sweet. But I felt like there was something missing, that something that makes a book imppssible to put down, that something that literally makes you feel everything the characters are feeling. It might've been because I was a bit annoyed with the main character at times. But it was an enjoyable read.I have mixed feelings about Kate. She How to Breathe Underwater was a really sweet story. The characters were all okay, the main character was relatable, the plot was interesting and the romance was sweet. But I felt like there was something missing, that something that makes a book imppssible to put down, that something that literally makes you feel everything the characters are feeling. It might've been because I was a bit annoyed with the main character at times. But it was an enjoyable read.I have mixed feelings about Kate. She was relatable, and my heart really ached for her and what she was going through with her parents' divorce and her dad. But she did a lot of things that annoyed me a lot. She made a lot of mistakes that could've been easily avoided, and at times, I felt she wasn't all that nice to her friends. But mostly, I liked her well enough.I loved Michael, though. I think boys next door are way underrated. He's just really nice and sweet, and he's a great friend. And he can dance! As a dancer, I have to admit I can't resist a guy who can dance. If things don't work out between Kate and Michael, I can totally take him.The romance was really sweet. I love friends-to-lovers romance, and I loved seeing the romance grow between Kate and Michael. And I loved how Michael was always there for Kate, no matter what was going on with her, and he really wanted to help. And she was there for him, too. I just think they're really sweet together.The plot was good. It was very well-paced, and while at times it felt like there was a lot going on, almost too much, it all added to the plot in the end and was important for the story.How to Breathe Underwater is a really sweet, but heartbreaking story about healing. I loved how Kate wasn't the only one who was struggling with healing, but every single character had their own problems they were struggling with, their own scars they were healing from. In my experience, that's rare in books, because most of the focus is on the main character, and I really loved that about this book. Overall, it was an enjoyable read, and I would definitely recommend it.
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