Title: Breath Like Water
Author: Anna Jarzab
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: May 12, 2020
“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