Underwater by Marisa Reichardt is the deeply moving story of what happens to a teenager named Morgan–as well as her community–after a senseless high school shooting rips their world apart. Scars run deep, and the invisible ones might be the hardest to heal.
When you think of “shut-ins” high school juniors don’t come to mind, yet that’s exactly what Morgan has become. She hasn’t left her apartment in months. Instead, she clings to the predictable environment she can control: online homeschooling, grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, and never stepping foot across her threshold. As Morgan moves further and further away from normalcy, the chances of her ever thriving again seem to fade…until a new neighbor from Hawaii moves in next door. Will Evan be the nudge that helps Morgan get better, or will he terrify her further?
What I found fascinating about Underwater is its duality. On one hand you have the most horrible high school trauma you could ever imagine happening to a teen combined with a bizarre agoraphobia/panic attacks/depression situation. On the other hand you have something that probably a lot of people have fantasized about in the deep recesses of their mind even if they would never admit it, the chance to escape from everything in your life that stresses you out, retreat to your living room couch and watch television. No friends, no worries about weight, no push to exercise, no traffic, no communication with anyone or anything that would suck. When you look at Morgan’s life that way, shutting herself away doesn’t seem so bad.
There are so many discussion points in this book worthy of further conversation! Underwater is a deep and thoughtful book that YA readers of all ages will love.