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Breathing Underwater is a sparkly, moving middle grade novel from Sarah Allen, and a big-hearted exploration of sisterhood, dreams, and what it means to be there for someone you love. Olivia is on the road trip of her dreams, with her trusty camera and her big sister Ruth by her side. Three years ago, before their family moved from California to Tennessee, Olivia and Ruth b Breathing Underwater is a sparkly, moving middle grade novel from Sarah Allen, and a big-hearted exploration of sisterhood, dreams, and what it means to be there for someone you love. Olivia is on the road trip of her dreams, with her trusty camera and her big sister Ruth by her side. Three years ago, before their family moved from California to Tennessee, Olivia and Ruth buried a time capsule on their favorite beach. Now, they’re taking an RV back across the country to uncover the memories they left behind. But Ruth’s depression has been getting worse, so Olivia has created a plan to help her remember how life used to be: a makeshift scavenger hunt across the country, like pirates hunting for treasure, taking pictures and making memories along the way. All she wants is to take the picture that makes her sister smile. But what if things can never go back to how they used to be? What if they never find the treasure they’re seeking? Through all the questions, loving her sister, not changing her, is all Olivia can do—and maybe it’s enough.


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Breathing Underwater is a sparkly, moving middle grade novel from Sarah Allen, and a big-hearted exploration of sisterhood, dreams, and what it means to be there for someone you love. Olivia is on the road trip of her dreams, with her trusty camera and her big sister Ruth by her side. Three years ago, before their family moved from California to Tennessee, Olivia and Ruth b Breathing Underwater is a sparkly, moving middle grade novel from Sarah Allen, and a big-hearted exploration of sisterhood, dreams, and what it means to be there for someone you love. Olivia is on the road trip of her dreams, with her trusty camera and her big sister Ruth by her side. Three years ago, before their family moved from California to Tennessee, Olivia and Ruth buried a time capsule on their favorite beach. Now, they’re taking an RV back across the country to uncover the memories they left behind. But Ruth’s depression has been getting worse, so Olivia has created a plan to help her remember how life used to be: a makeshift scavenger hunt across the country, like pirates hunting for treasure, taking pictures and making memories along the way. All she wants is to take the picture that makes her sister smile. But what if things can never go back to how they used to be? What if they never find the treasure they’re seeking? Through all the questions, loving her sister, not changing her, is all Olivia can do—and maybe it’s enough.

30 review for Breathing Underwater

  1. 5 out of 5

    Reading_ Tam_ Ishly

    "One of the worst parts about depression is that it's not like an outside illness, where you can see the broken nose or the red swollen nose. It's an inside illness where you have to know the subtle signs." Such a wholesome book about sisters. My heart is happier after reading this awesome book! This book represents depression in a way the young readers and adults alike can relate and understand. The characters are convincing and quite realistic. I love how the writing discusses the condition well "One of the worst parts about depression is that it's not like an outside illness, where you can see the broken nose or the red swollen nose. It's an inside illness where you have to know the subtle signs." Such a wholesome book about sisters. My heart is happier after reading this awesome book! This book represents depression in a way the young readers and adults alike can relate and understand. The characters are convincing and quite realistic. I love how the writing discusses the condition well and how people close to the person take care and watch out for the signs without overwhelming them. The book handles well the situations how people under such situation cope and struggle. I will always need a good mental health based fiction and non-fiction. It's because of such books that I can understand myself better and understand better what people in similar conditions go through. The representation is quite accurate. It's heartbreaking yet I can get it so well. The siblings in the story are awesome. And yes, they are so right. Songs and music really do help when nothing else can. And yes to photography. Damn, I can relate to so many things in this book! Instagram? I cannot even ☺️ I am an enthusiast. Everyday. I just wish there were more distinct parts of the character, Ellie, the friend. But I do appreciate the plot and the writing for not letting the adult characters loom over everywhere.

  2. 5 out of 5

    ahaana ☽

    loved the sisterly bond and dynamics!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Thirteen year old Olivia is thrilled to be on a road trip to San Diego with her aunt, uncle, and older sister Ruth. With her new camera, she wants to recreate the photography treasure hunt she and Ruth created together when they took the same route three years ago moving to Tennessee. Things are different now, though-- lately Ruth has been having a harder time with her depression, and Olivia is worried she will fall into The Pit again. She wants to look out for her big sister, but trying to unde Thirteen year old Olivia is thrilled to be on a road trip to San Diego with her aunt, uncle, and older sister Ruth. With her new camera, she wants to recreate the photography treasure hunt she and Ruth created together when they took the same route three years ago moving to Tennessee. Things are different now, though-- lately Ruth has been having a harder time with her depression, and Olivia is worried she will fall into The Pit again. She wants to look out for her big sister, but trying to understand can be difficult. Breathing Underwater is such an important novel, unveiling not just the struggles of a mental illness, but the complex and powerful relationship between sisters who mean the world to each other. Beautiful, poignant, and loving.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    This is one of the best books I have read this year, and, although I did keep in mind my twelve-thirteen year-old students when I read it, it can and it should be read by people of any age. The way Sarah Allen captured what it's like to live and love a family member suffering from depression is so poignant and authentic. She also managed to do so much more and that is to show what it's like to grow into yourself and begin to own your own feelings, realise that the different ways in which we see This is one of the best books I have read this year, and, although I did keep in mind my twelve-thirteen year-old students when I read it, it can and it should be read by people of any age. The way Sarah Allen captured what it's like to live and love a family member suffering from depression is so poignant and authentic. She also managed to do so much more and that is to show what it's like to grow into yourself and begin to own your own feelings, realise that the different ways in which we see the world create it's beauty. Thirteen year old Olivia, who is passionate about photography, and her older sister Ruth are going on a road trip with their parents' friends in an RV. Olivia would like this trip to become a Treasure Hunt that would recreate the hunt she and Ruth did in the past and remind them of happier times. Olivia tries so hard to be upbeat and keep her complex feelings under control not to upset Ruth or worry their mum. She is trying to understand her own limits (influence over other people's choices, responsibility, anger, frustration, creativity ) and this mysterious thing called sisterly love. It is difficult to imagine a better setting for a coming of age/self-discovery story than a road trip. Olivia is a talented photographer and she has a good eye for anything unusual: an angle that suddenly makes her see an ordinary object in a different light, a special detail that helps you understand the meaning of a place at a deeper level, a connection which isn't obvious unless you've had a similar experience yourself. Ruth is musical - on their treasure hunts she used to come up with perfect playlists- and Olivia comes up with a heartwarming idea- she adds song title captions to her snaps, captions that bring together the sisters' unique ways of seeing the world and creates a perfect fusion that is so meaningful for both of them. The book is written from Olivia's point of view and Sarah Allen manages to keep the first person narrative exactly that. Olivia has to rely heavily on her powers of observation to see the signs of Ruth having a downturn, because she is trying to do everything possible to make her sister feel better. Even a hint of smile on Ruth's face can make Olivia happy. There isn't a hint of omniscience that so often creeps into first person narratives. No, Olivia has to work out things on her own. She really doesn't know what her sister or her mum thinks, she has to rely on their words or their body language, or take a guess, and this is one of the things that make this book so authentic. It doesn't limit your ability to relate to other characters, though. I wish I could interview Sarah Allen just to get a glimpse into her creative process and how she came up with this perfect ending. I felt I became Olivia for a brief moment- my heart was full of emotions I couldn't express with words, but I had a picture in my mind that I will treasure. Thank you to Giselle from Xpresso Book Tours, NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathie

    Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book. ALL THE STARS!!!! I can't remember the last time I read a book that had such a profound impact on me. I can't even write a review because I'm at a loss for words to express my thoughts and feelings about it. It's introspective, insightful, and such a very important book. It will definitely make my top reads of 2021, and is a must-add to all middle school collections. Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book. ALL THE STARS!!!! I can't remember the last time I read a book that had such a profound impact on me. I can't even write a review because I'm at a loss for words to express my thoughts and feelings about it. It's introspective, insightful, and such a very important book. It will definitely make my top reads of 2021, and is a must-add to all middle school collections.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader

    This book was really as heavy hitting on the emotions as it appeared it would be at first glance. I think that MG books that include diversity are just underrated, in this case this book gave spotlight to depression, focusing on mental health and loving someone who has depression. Our protagonist is this wonderfully loving younger sister, she’s not perfect by any means but her love for Ruth is not ‘soured’ because Ruth has depression and I think a lot of times it’s so easy to show only the darke This book was really as heavy hitting on the emotions as it appeared it would be at first glance. I think that MG books that include diversity are just underrated, in this case this book gave spotlight to depression, focusing on mental health and loving someone who has depression. Our protagonist is this wonderfully loving younger sister, she’s not perfect by any means but her love for Ruth is not ‘soured’ because Ruth has depression and I think a lot of times it’s so easy to show only the darker side of things. Allen instead shows the hope that Olivia has that she can do something to make her sister smile again. It’s more than that though, it’s that Olivia loves Ruth just as much on her very bad days as on her good days, that she knows that there will be days that she cannot help and that does not diminish her love. The road trip these sisters take with their cousins sets out to be a recreation of one of her most treasured memories with her sister. But Olivia learns to be flexible and instead shares in different yet no less impactful experiences with her sister and the road trip doesn’t magically cure anything either. They have their highs and lows and the bond between them was very well written. A book doesn’t need a magic fix and Allen showing that no matter what some times things will not be helped is just as important to impart onto young readers. 5/5 Cups of coffee from me for this absolutely beautiful and slightly heartbreaking MG book that comes out tomorrow! Thank you so much to Xpresso Tours, the publisher, and NetGalley for an eARC of this in exchange for my honest review as part of the tour.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Courtni K

    Breathing Underwater is a wonderfully-written, heartwarming tale of two teen sisters trying to hold on to and pursue what's important to them while balancing a difficult situation. 16-year-old Ruth has been battling depression and 13-year-old Olivia has taken it upon herself to be a watchful caretaker of sorts-- without being obvious or annoying her sister. They're embarking on a cross-country road trip following a similar route to one they took 3 years prior. Olivia is hoping to recapture some Breathing Underwater is a wonderfully-written, heartwarming tale of two teen sisters trying to hold on to and pursue what's important to them while balancing a difficult situation. 16-year-old Ruth has been battling depression and 13-year-old Olivia has taken it upon herself to be a watchful caretaker of sorts-- without being obvious or annoying her sister. They're embarking on a cross-country road trip following a similar route to one they took 3 years prior. Olivia is hoping to recapture some of the magic of those days and rekindle the closeness she had with her sister. I especially appreciated the enthusiasm and optimism of Olivia who has ambitions to be an adventuring National Geographic photographer. It's fun to see the characters take in some iconic cities and experiences in the US. It treats the subject of depression thoughtfully, especially for the intended middle-grade audience.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ruei (Ruei's Reading Corner)

    Full Review & Blog Tour: https://rueisreadingcorner.blogspot.c... Three years ago, Olivia and her older sister, Ruth, moved across the United States. Fast forward to now, Ruth's depression has gotten worse and she's shut herself out from the world. As Olivia, her aunt, uncle, and Ruth travel back to California on the same route, she is determined to make things better for her sister. Olivia misses her sister a lot. Even though she knows that it is not Ruth's fault that she's sick, she still wishe Full Review & Blog Tour: https://rueisreadingcorner.blogspot.c... Three years ago, Olivia and her older sister, Ruth, moved across the United States. Fast forward to now, Ruth's depression has gotten worse and she's shut herself out from the world. As Olivia, her aunt, uncle, and Ruth travel back to California on the same route, she is determined to make things better for her sister. Olivia misses her sister a lot. Even though she knows that it is not Ruth's fault that she's sick, she still wishes that they would talk and interact more. Instead, she spends her time watching for signs of sickening symptoms and does her best to avoid them starting up. More and more often, Ruth's world seems to distance itself from Olivia's. Olivia has planned the perfect way on this RV trip to bring back happy memories for Ruth. Her depression is bad and Olivia's worried that she'll fall into The Pit more and more often. Although getting cured is still a long way, she still hopes this trip and the memories will make things better. This book was written well. Even though this book is targeted towards younger audiences, I feel like depression was told in an appropriate way. It was touching to see Olivia and Ruth's relationship grow throughout the story. One thing I loved was how close the family was in the book. Even though communicating was sometimes difficult, Olivia's entire family stuck together and they all tried to find ways to help Ruth. Not only that but her aunt and uncle also helped which I think provided Ruth with more support even though she might not have said so. Overall Breathing Underwater is a great book I recommend to everyone, even older people. Beware though, that you may tear up while reading this amazing book. **Thank you so much to NetGalley and Xpresso Tours for sending me an Advanced Reader's Copy in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour!**

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley.com and the publishers to read and review. "One of the worst parts about depression is that it's not like an outside illness, where you can see the broken bone or the red swollen nose. It's an inside illness where you have to know the subtle signs." Olivia and Ruth moved across the country 3 years ago with their parents, and after the move, Ruth seemed to change. Her depression got worse, and now Olivia is scared her sister is never going to be th I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley.com and the publishers to read and review. "One of the worst parts about depression is that it's not like an outside illness, where you can see the broken bone or the red swollen nose. It's an inside illness where you have to know the subtle signs." Olivia and Ruth moved across the country 3 years ago with their parents, and after the move, Ruth seemed to change. Her depression got worse, and now Olivia is scared her sister is never going to be the same as she was before, when they played pirates together and had treasure hunts. On a trip across country again, this time for a visit, Olivia makes a plan to try to bring her sister back to the joyful person she was before. Somehow, she wants to get the magic of their last trip to come back, and help draw Ruth back out of the darkness. Breathing Underwater is a Middle Grade book, but it handles the subject of depression in a mature way. It isn't sugar coating the things that Ruth is going through, nor does it hide the way that depression can affect the people around the one who's battling it. Ruth is angry sometimes, her mind goes in what she calls "tidal waves", and she gets overwhelmed. Words "feel like broken glass in her veins" when things are particularly rough. Olivia just wants to help her sister be happy again, but when even medications can't always do that, it seems like nothing can. That doesn't mean this story is hopeless. It's not. Though real and true to what it's putting out there in the world, it reminds us that there is always hope. That sometimes being loved can be a balm that soothes, even though it can't heal. This book broke me. I cried, and I spent 20 minutes writing a message to my mom about it. About a certain thing that Ruth said that summed up perfectly what my relationship with my mom was when I was Ruth's age (16). I'm not going to put it here, because it's important to read it in the book itself... but know that when I say this book got things so right? I mean every word. I just finished it, and I'm crying again, and I am so grateful for it. Grateful for a book that is geared toward a younger audience that says that depression is hard on everyone around it. That it's okay to be angry about it. That it's okay to be scared or happy or worried if someone you love is depressed. That hope can still exist in the darkness depression lays over a family. The publishing date for Breathing Underwater is March 30, 2021. Put it on your lists of anticipated reads. Pre-order it. Pick up a copy when it comes out. Put this book out into the world in a significant way, because it deserves it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Darla

    We can't control the waves and the tide. But we can swim in them. I love a good road trip book! Olivia and her older sister Ruth are travelling from Tennessee to California in an RV. They stop at places like New Orleans, Houston, and Las Cruces. Along the way Olivia has a treasure hunt planned, hoping to cheer up Ruth who suffers from depression. She is going to use her camera with the following themes: New, Old, Magical, and Gold. Olivia has ideas about where to get the perfect picture to match We can't control the waves and the tide. But we can swim in them. I love a good road trip book! Olivia and her older sister Ruth are travelling from Tennessee to California in an RV. They stop at places like New Orleans, Houston, and Las Cruces. Along the way Olivia has a treasure hunt planned, hoping to cheer up Ruth who suffers from depression. She is going to use her camera with the following themes: New, Old, Magical, and Gold. Olivia has ideas about where to get the perfect picture to match her theme, but Ruth is unpredictable and often guides the group in another direction. I loved seeing Olivia flex and find ways to match photos to the theme for the stop. Frankly, I would LOVE to see some of those photos in real life. They sound simply fantastic. This book is a good read to give kids a window into life with a loved one suffering depression. How much can they do to help? What is their responsibility in caring for that person? And how can they communicate their love and concern in the right way? Another fantastic middle grade title from Sarah Allen! Thank you to Macmillan and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus This reminded me a bit of LaFleur's Counting to Perfect, with the road trip and the sister with problems. Perfect for fans of Pla's The Someday Birds, O'Shaughnessy's The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane, Gemeinhart's The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, or King's The Year We Fell From Space. E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus This reminded me a bit of LaFleur's Counting to Perfect, with the road trip and the sister with problems. Perfect for fans of Pla's The Someday Birds, O'Shaughnessy's The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane, Gemeinhart's The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, or King's The Year We Fell From Space.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    This little book packs a punch. I cannot remember reading a book that manages to tug my heartstrings the way this one did. Despite being a quick read, BREATHING UNDERWATER makes every word count. Thirteen-year-old Olivia is excited for a road trip in an RV in more ways than one. The main one being that she wants to unearth a treasure chest she and her older sister buried before they moved from Californian to Tennessee. She hopes the memories will bring her sister, Ruth, out of her depression. "One This little book packs a punch. I cannot remember reading a book that manages to tug my heartstrings the way this one did. Despite being a quick read, BREATHING UNDERWATER makes every word count. Thirteen-year-old Olivia is excited for a road trip in an RV in more ways than one. The main one being that she wants to unearth a treasure chest she and her older sister buried before they moved from Californian to Tennessee. She hopes the memories will bring her sister, Ruth, out of her depression. "One of the worst parts about depression is that it's not like an outside illness, where you can see the broken bone or the red swollen nose. It's an inside illness where you have to know the subtle signs." While this is a middle-grade book, it does cover the heavy topic of depression through the eyes of a thirteen-year-old girl in such a mature and skilled way. Olivia is young, but she understands the signs to watch out for when her sister goes into one of her dark moods. Olivia genuinely loves her sister and will do anything to get her to be happy again all while understanding her illness. She doesn't question it. She doesn't tell her sister to "just smile" or "think happy thoughts." She knows the effects of depression on the maturity of an adult. And this is what's so heartbreaking. I can count on one hand how many books I've read in my life that have made me...sigh. Not sigh in a boring way, but because I cared so much about these sisters that I wished I could reach through the pages and hug them. This book releases on March 30th, but I suggest you preorder it now. I'm in awe of this story and the beauty of sisterhood and love among anguish. I cannot tell you how incredible this book is so, this review will have to do.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    This book was received as an ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group - Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thought expressed in this review are completely my own. From the title alone I was expecting more of an adventure story but when I read that there is a struggle with mental illness specifically depression and Olivia is determined to bring joy in her sister Ruth's life by uncovering their time capsule filled with so many memories. Olivia later This book was received as an ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group - Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thought expressed in this review are completely my own. From the title alone I was expecting more of an adventure story but when I read that there is a struggle with mental illness specifically depression and Olivia is determined to bring joy in her sister Ruth's life by uncovering their time capsule filled with so many memories. Olivia later realizes that no matter how hard she tries, she can not change her sister or control her depression but she can love her sister just the same and still bring joy into her life. Everyone can relate to the struggle with depression and how no matter what they will always have a strong family support system. This book should be in every household, classroom, and library and there are many life lessons to be learned in this book. We will consider adding this title to our JFiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    Thank you NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for an eARC in exchange for review. All opinions are my own, as usual. TW: Depression Wow. Fun fact about me: I rarely cry when reading books. The only book I cried while reading in 2020 was my 5th favorite book of the year. This is only the second book I've read in 2021 and I'm pretty sure this is going to be in my top 10 for the year. There's kind of a major reason why this book got to me, but I can definitely see many people getting teary eyed o Thank you NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for an eARC in exchange for review. All opinions are my own, as usual. TW: Depression Wow. Fun fact about me: I rarely cry when reading books. The only book I cried while reading in 2020 was my 5th favorite book of the year. This is only the second book I've read in 2021 and I'm pretty sure this is going to be in my top 10 for the year. There's kind of a major reason why this book got to me, but I can definitely see many people getting teary eyed over this. Breathing Underwater follows 13-year-old Olivia and her 16-year-old sister Ruth on a cross country trip with some family-friends. Olivia is the light of her family, always the one to cheer people up, while Ruth suffers with diagnosed depression. I think this is an incredible middle grade book to introduce kids into the struggles of depression. Olivia, as well as the family-friends taking the girls on the road trip, is all around a great role model for how to comfort someone without patronizing them. It also has the super important message that depression is no one's fault. If I could give this book all the stars in the world for a rating, I would.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jess Redman

    A beautiful, tender story of sisterhood, depression, music, art, road trips, & what it looks like to support someone you love while still taking care of yourself—all with Sarah Allen's signature optimism & spirit of fun. A beautiful, tender story of sisterhood, depression, music, art, road trips, & what it looks like to support someone you love while still taking care of yourself—all with Sarah Allen's signature optimism & spirit of fun.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sara Milioni di Particelle

    **I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours as part of a blog tour, in exchange for an honest review.** The story begins in Olivia's bedroom, where she is packing her things to go on a week-long trip with her uncles and her sister to try to make her feel a little better. This is because Ruth suffers from depression and there are good days but days when it feels like inside a Pit. It is for this reason that Olivia is so happy to organize the photographic treasure hunt through an RV tr **I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours as part of a blog tour, in exchange for an honest review.** The story begins in Olivia's bedroom, where she is packing her things to go on a week-long trip with her uncles and her sister to try to make her feel a little better. This is because Ruth suffers from depression and there are good days but days when it feels like inside a Pit. It is for this reason that Olivia is so happy to organize the photographic treasure hunt through an RV trip to San Diego, the same one the two had done three years earlier when they were about to move to Tennessee. What will happen during their journey? Will Olivia make the trip memorable and make her sister smile by remembering the good times they had together? Remembering how beautiful life is and how much stronger you can be together? The plot is very simple that gives a sprint start to this reading and that invites you to throw yourself into this reading. A sweet and tender plot, which intrigues me and which prompted me to want to read this story together with the visual presentation of the cover. The cover is wonderful and I find it fits perfectly for this volume. Both because within the story there are references to the aquarium that the two will visit as well as the fact that the two have dived together. Also nice is the reference to the fact that Ruth is with her dark clothes and her hair with a particular cut that finds herself sharing the music with her sister, for once, instead of constantly coming alone within the volume itself; plus the fact that Olivia is leaning over Ruth's shoulder and not the other way around which shows how much Olivia cares about her sister. The title links back to the cover and leaves a much broader sense than it seems. The fact of breathing underwater, the difficulty that comes with it and juggling in a sea of ​​uncertainties gives the cover and the title the perfect combination for this story. Not only for the journey of the two but the very meaning of depression and how similar it can seem to trying to breathe underwater, in the darkest moments. The setting of the story is a camper on which we will be traveling through the American states, passing through Texas as well as many other interesting places, passing from Knoxville to San Diego in a modern and contemporary era at the time of Instagram and social media. popular, like today. I watch Ruth trace a finger across the wood grain of the table, and I wonder what’s going on behind her tired eyes. I know there have got to be happy memories in there. The Ruth from those pictures is in there somewhere. My plan for the next week—my plan for this trip— will be to remind her . And tomorrow, the plan begins. Tomorrow, we go on a Treasure Hunt. The characters in this story are not many, we focus mainly on the two protagonists even if we will also get to know a little bit of the girls' two uncles, especially Ellie, of which we will be able to understand something important about her past. Olivia is a 13-year-old who loves photography and beautiful music as much as she loves her sister. He likes to post his shots on Instagram and share them as a travel diary of his adventures, even the smallest ones, capturing the essence of things. But the most important thing for her is Ruth and to do something for her and to try to make her smile as she once did, sharing the pirates, the photographic treasure hunt and the beautiful adventures. Although Olivia gives her all she finds herself in serious trouble and realizes how fragile her sister is as herself. Olivia suffers a little from the situation, especially with her parents who worry much more easily about Ruth than about her but hold on for her sister and because she loves her. Ruth is a very closed sixteen-year-old girl who loves music and beautiful photographs that her sister can take, despite being much smaller than her. Ruth suffers from depression and has moments of down in which she closes in on herself and does not want to eat much or talk, which her sister calls La Fossa, and the moments of Up in which she is more open and expansive. She has a very unique haircut and loves to wear heavy hoodies that cover her head and can hide. Two interesting and strong protagonists, who will know how to involve you and that you will know how to appreciate. The central focus of this story is not just the caravan ride and the treasure hunt, but the depression and how important this journey is, according to Olivia, to her sister Ruth and that she believes it helps her sister. The style used is very delicate and simple, which can be read within a few hours even for those who do not chew English very well (I speak Italian of course). It is a very light and fluid story despite the fact that the story deals with a very heavy and equally delicate subject. There are two implications to this story: one is positive and the other is negative despite the fact that I speak as a person who liked the book a lot. The positive aspect is very trivial but not so obvious between two sisters. The love between the two sisters and the difficulties they find themselves facing together, one holding the hand of the other even if at times they don't seem to get along very well and Ruth seems closed due to depression. Olivia tries to share as much as possible and organizes this trip especially for her, to show her all the love she has for her and her gratitude just because she is her sister. It is an absolutely positive feeling and I find that it has been transmitted at maximum power making it genuine and spontaneous, as it should always be. The other side of the coin, which is the downside, is Ruth's disease. Depression is a treacherous disease, which creeps underneath and which is sometimes even difficult to notice. I can say this because I have suffered from it - not at levels to take particularly heavy medicines - but I have been through it too and I still realize it when I have moments that bring me down. So it is not a feeling unknown to me and it is also for this reason that I decided to throw myself on this book because I was intrigued by the subject and I like these strong and important themes. In some moments, rather than suffering from depression, Ruth seems to have the classic period that every teenager has that closes in on herself and needs her moments of hers. On other occasions, however, her illness seems to be more evident, and it almost seems to be real. So I appreciated the effort and the calibration of the author on this but in some moments it is rather minimal and not very real in terms of emotional impact with the actual disease. Another point, the weight given to Olivia: managing her sister and herself. The fact that Olivia feels almost guilty of her sister's illness, so much so that she has to organize the trip - which I do not doubt is a wonderful thing - but that the parents agree by putting everything on the shoulders of the younger daughter who obviously begins to suffer from the weight of what he has in front of him as the hours and days pass in contact with his sister Ruth. Just as I dislike the fact that Olivia tries to make her sister feel guilty about her tattoo. I did not like her words at that moment but I postponed it since it is a thirteen-year-old protagonist who demonstrates and should demonstrate her age in these circumstances. In many others, especially for some reasoning it seems bigger but I find that she has been well calibrated. On the other hand, however, I appreciated the fact of the parents aware and close to their daughter, ready to help her, as well as the uncles, ready to do anything for their nieces, an aspect not just in these stories, which is often put aside or even find the distant or absent parent / relative. However, the thing that strikes me most in a totally positive light is how this story manages to insinuate itself in the heart by touching the right chords, talking to us from the heart, conquering us with Olivia's words towards the world, the situation and with the love for her sister. . It is a very sweet and exciting story that I appreciated and that I would gladly reread because she knows how to enter you and hit you straight to the heart, despite what has been said and the complications that arise in dealing with issues of this type. The book is a pleasant story for children that I feel I can recommend especially in schools, given the delicate and very current topic. A story that I can recommend to children but also to adults who want to delve into a unique story under the surface of the water. I had not yet read anything by Sarah Allen, although a book has already been published previously in Italy, Coraggiosa come una ragazza (What Stars Are Made of). The author takes us on a traveling journey through the photographs, the music and the indissoluble love of two sisters who support each other and will continue to do so forever. A story to read! The vote for this book: 4 stars. Review online this friday, 2th April 21 on my blog: http://milionidiparticelle.wordpress.com

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tonja Drecker

    With care, feeling and depth, this book dives into the problems of depression and the wonders of sisterly love. Olivia has gotten everything ready for the trip with her aunt and uncle in the RV back to their old 'home' in California. But it's not just the usual vacation joy that's got her wound up. Olivia's older sister suffers from depression, and Olivia hopes the trip will remind her of some of the joys of life. Not only has Olivia prepared a travel pirate hunt similar to the one her sister mad With care, feeling and depth, this book dives into the problems of depression and the wonders of sisterly love. Olivia has gotten everything ready for the trip with her aunt and uncle in the RV back to their old 'home' in California. But it's not just the usual vacation joy that's got her wound up. Olivia's older sister suffers from depression, and Olivia hopes the trip will remind her of some of the joys of life. Not only has Olivia prepared a travel pirate hunt similar to the one her sister made for her years ago when they moved, but she wants to end it by digging up a treasure they buried together before the move. Olivia's determined and can only hope her plan succeeds. This book holds heart. Tons of it. Olivia is a very special girl, who...as her uncle says...has a talent for finding little things which will cheer a person up. She's extremely empathetic and holds her sister in very high regard without the slightest bit of ill thoughts about her sister's depression. But then, all the characters in this book are tuned in with love and care, never crossing borders or pushing her sister too far. Their concern is inspiring and wholesome in every way. Olivia also packs personality. She has a carefree spirit and a playful manner, which makes her very fitting to the age group. Of course, she grows concerned and thinks about many things, but there are little quirks and whimsical thoughts, which keep her rooted into the age group. The idea of a pirate treasure hunt is something which wins over, and her interest for photography with dreams of making the perfect photos adds just the right amount of interesting to her personality. She's simply a fun character. The story weaves around depression. Olivia's sister's actions and moods are never over the top but remain realistic. They play along with quiet subtleness and small snarky comments. But it's still obvious, through tiny glimpses, that despite the wall around her mentally, she's the same caring person as Olivia knows and loves, and this adds the needed shine of hope. While I appreciate the depth and really enjoyed getting to know the characters, this heavy concentration on Olivia's thoughts did slow down the pacing at times. During the first twenty-five percent of the tale, nothing really happens outside of the beginning miles of their RV trip. It spins around Olivia's constant watch of her sister, thoughts of her photos and hoping her hunt works. I did find myself skipping sentences more and more until things moved along at a bit quicker pace. The upper end of middle grade readers will appreciate this one more than the younger side (up age 11 or so). This one full points on diving deep and helping readers to understand depression much better with characters which are hard not to love. I received an ARC through Netgalley and found Olivia to be an amazing character.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    The human mind can be a mystifying place, especially when the tendrils of mental illness begin to infiltrate it. Olivia is thirteen years old, the younger sister to sixteen-year-old Ruth, and an avid photographer. She dreams of being the youngest and greatest contributor National Geographic has ever had, and she spends her days scoping out ways to show others the world she sees. When the sisters get to travel back across the country to their hometown of San Diego by RV with their mother’s cousin The human mind can be a mystifying place, especially when the tendrils of mental illness begin to infiltrate it. Olivia is thirteen years old, the younger sister to sixteen-year-old Ruth, and an avid photographer. She dreams of being the youngest and greatest contributor National Geographic has ever had, and she spends her days scoping out ways to show others the world she sees. When the sisters get to travel back across the country to their hometown of San Diego by RV with their mother’s cousin and his wife, Olivia sees this as the perfect opportunity to remind Ruth of the joy that she seems to have lost. An epic treasure hunt, miscommunications, and emotional turmoil color the journey, connecting the girls in a way they will never forget. Depression is the pervasive enemy in this story about two sisters who have grown apart in its wake. Olivia spends her days watching Ruth for any signs of impending trouble and doing everything she can to make sure Ruth is okay. Even when she feels sad, anxious, or angry herself, Olivia suppresses these emotions so her sister and their parents can worry about only one daughter. Readers observe Olivia’s heartbreaking inner thoughts as she struggles to be eternally optimistic. Olivia’s photographic observations are one of the primary threads of the book, a visual representation of the realization that everyone sees things differently. Despite her best efforts, Olivia does not control Ruth’s feelings and can only express life as she sees it. This is an important message for readers and Olivia alike as the story emphasizes the healing power of love through incongruous observations. Ruth’s love of music is another powerful theme in this story, serving as an anchor for her through both her good and bad days. Whether classic rock or classical music, Ruth has an innate need to hear music throughout the day. When Olivia finds a way to bring her photographs and Ruth’s music together, it reflects the strength of the bond the girls share. This story is a spellbinding examination of how two sisters survive the unpredictability of depression. Anyone with a sibling or close friend suffering from this mostly invisible affliction will find support in Olivia’s behavior and feelings throughout this story. Heartwarming and emotional in its execution, Breathing Underwater lovingly captures the nuanced beauty of sisterhood.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Olivia is on a cross country trip with her older sister, Ruth, her aunt and uncle with her amazing new camera at her side. Their ultimate destination is San Diego, the city Olivia and Ruth left behind three years ago when they moved to Tennessee. During those three years, Ruth’s depression has worsened, and Olivia is determined to use this trip to help her sister find her old self. Your heart will go out to all of the characters in this story. Olivia loves her sister so much and will do anything Olivia is on a cross country trip with her older sister, Ruth, her aunt and uncle with her amazing new camera at her side. Their ultimate destination is San Diego, the city Olivia and Ruth left behind three years ago when they moved to Tennessee. During those three years, Ruth’s depression has worsened, and Olivia is determined to use this trip to help her sister find her old self. Your heart will go out to all of the characters in this story. Olivia loves her sister so much and will do anything to prevent Ruth from falling into THE PIT, which frequently happens on her bad days. This means Olivia puts tremendous pressure on herself to anticipate Ruth’s needs (is she eating properly, is she sleeping) and to constantly be cheerful and positive. Every once in a while, we get a glimpse of the real Ruth Olivia misses so much; the music lover who constantly writes songs, longs to become a composer and is a great big sister. Unfortunately, her depression often causes her to instead take out her frustrations and darkness on Olivia, which breaks Olivia’s heart. Luckily, Oliva’s late night talks with her Uncle Eddie help her to better understand Ruth and to gain confidence and courage in her quest to help Ruth. He especially helps her when he shares his belief that Olivia’s superpower is finding neat, pretty things to make people happy or excited. Finally, Aunt Ellie is amazingly patient and understanding of both Ruth’s depression and Olivia’s desperation to make Ruth happy again. This is such a powerful story. It offers comfort, hope and understanding to middle graders who are living with someone suffering from depression. Oftentimes that middle grader may wonder if, despite all they try to do to support their family member, if they really matter, just as Olivia wondered about Ruth. Ruth’s reply to Olivia was so comforting, “you’re my...my no-filter person...my free person.” In other words, Ruth knows Olivia will always love her, so Ruth can always be herself with Olivia. This offers an encouraging thought to the middle grade reader. Perhaps their family member feels the same. This is a must buy for middle school libraries and counselor’s book shelves. It’s available 3.31. Preorder it now!!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Judy Beetem

    I read this book in one sitting and had to take a few days off to soak it all in. Breathing Underwater is the very well-written story of two sisters on a road-trip across the U.S. Olivia is an avid photographer and hopes to work for National Geographic when she grows up. Ruth, the older sister, is less than thrilled and spends most of the trip in her berth in the RV writing songs while hooked up to an Ipod. They are travelling in an RV driven by their uncle and aunt from Tennesse to California w I read this book in one sitting and had to take a few days off to soak it all in. Breathing Underwater is the very well-written story of two sisters on a road-trip across the U.S. Olivia is an avid photographer and hopes to work for National Geographic when she grows up. Ruth, the older sister, is less than thrilled and spends most of the trip in her berth in the RV writing songs while hooked up to an Ipod. They are travelling in an RV driven by their uncle and aunt from Tennesse to California where they will be met by Olivia's mother and father at the place they called home three years before. Olivia's plan is to recreate the photos she and Ruth took on their move to Tennessee. She's hoping her photos and the lure of uncovering a treasure chest they buried before they left California will help Ruth out of the dark places she's been spending so much time in lately. Olivia is trying her best to take photos that will help Ruth smile and help Ruth remember what it felt like to be happy. The trip, along with gentle guidance from family, allows the girls to explore their relationship and helps Olivia to find some answers as well as to be heard through the cloud of Ruth's depression. Sarah did a beautiful job exploring the family and the effects of depression on Ruth as well as the family. She handles the depression with honesty and compassion, as well as making Olivia's desperate hope to help and heal seem very real. I think everyone should read Breathing Underwater. I loved reading it and learned a lot. Perfect for middle school through high school as well as adults. I appreciate the chance to read the ARC from Net Galley - this is one of my favorites!!!

  21. 5 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    2.5 STARS Thirteen-year-old Olivia tries to help snap her older sister Ruth out of her depression on a cross country trip with their aunt and uncle. BREATHING UNDERWATER is a book that tries too hard, not unlike narrator Olivia. Olivia’s obsessed with trying to make her sister un-depressed. Their parents subtly tasked Olivia, who seems more like a ten-year-old than teen, with watching over her older sister. While Olivia has a fairly good understanding of depression, nobody’s helped her understand 2.5 STARS Thirteen-year-old Olivia tries to help snap her older sister Ruth out of her depression on a cross country trip with their aunt and uncle. BREATHING UNDERWATER is a book that tries too hard, not unlike narrator Olivia. Olivia’s obsessed with trying to make her sister un-depressed. Their parents subtly tasked Olivia, who seems more like a ten-year-old than teen, with watching over her older sister. While Olivia has a fairly good understanding of depression, nobody’s helped her understand that she can’t cheer someone up and out of depression. Olivia is extremely well-meaning and although she has her own interest in photography and nature, she seems to lack friends and peer acquaintances. She reminded me of needy kids, who want others to like them so much they inadvertently push other away trying too hard. The kids who radiate “please like me” so strongly others run in the opposite direction. BREATHING UNDERWATER dances around the concept that depression is an illness and sufferers are still responsible for their behavior, but doesn’t do a good enough job showing the impact on Olivia, who takes unkindness as “it’s just the depression” too often she enables Ruth’s behavior. I really wanted to like Olivia, but her earnestness was written in such a heavy-handed way I didn’t. The pace of BREATHING UNDERWATER was incredibly slow for a MG book. Though Olivia was thirteen, I don’t think most kids her age will be able to relate to her. Younger kids will be bored with the many descriptions of photography and taking specific shots and they likely won’t relate to the older songs Ruth enjoyed which is why I rounded down.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Kohlmeier

    Breathing Underwater by Sarah Allen Breathing Underwater is a Middle-Grade book about two sisters, Olivia (13 - the story is told from her perspective) and Ruth (16). Ruth battles depression which started to show shortly before the family moved across the country 3 years ago. The sisters are on an RV trip back to their hometown with their aunt and uncle, and Olivia has planned a surprised photo/music scavenger hunt to recreate the one the sisters did on their move 3 years ago, and hopefully cheer Breathing Underwater by Sarah Allen Breathing Underwater is a Middle-Grade book about two sisters, Olivia (13 - the story is told from her perspective) and Ruth (16). Ruth battles depression which started to show shortly before the family moved across the country 3 years ago. The sisters are on an RV trip back to their hometown with their aunt and uncle, and Olivia has planned a surprised photo/music scavenger hunt to recreate the one the sisters did on their move 3 years ago, and hopefully cheer up Ruth. This story really centers around Ruth’s depression and Olivia’s desire to keep Ruth from a really dark place, The Pit, as she calls it. Olivia is actually very anxious herself and worries very much about her sister. She is also a naturally optimistic person and can typically find the good in any situation or person. Yet, she takes so much on herself trying to make everyone cheer up and feel her joy. Breathing Underwater covers a heavy, important topic and doesn’t sugar-coat anything. I do think it is light enough and easy enough to understand for the middle-grade audience and it is, again, an important topic. I appreciate how the family works together and shows a lot of love, flexibility and understanding,and how therapy, medication, and other coping mechanisms are discussed. Depending on maturity level and prior-knowledge, a follow-up discussion could be helpful for some young readers. Thank you to the publisher, author, and netgalley for the advance e-copy of the book

  23. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

    I find it hard to express all of the love I have for this book, but I will be singing its praises everywhere I can. I have so much highlighted on the now tear-streaked pages because it is full of so much beauty, life and hope. This is a story of a 13 year old girl trying to cheer up her depressed older sister on a cross country road trip. But it's also about her uncovering her own confidence, creativity, voice, and letting go. Olivia's desperate desire to help her sister Ruth but not knowing how I find it hard to express all of the love I have for this book, but I will be singing its praises everywhere I can. I have so much highlighted on the now tear-streaked pages because it is full of so much beauty, life and hope. This is a story of a 13 year old girl trying to cheer up her depressed older sister on a cross country road trip. But it's also about her uncovering her own confidence, creativity, voice, and letting go. Olivia's desperate desire to help her sister Ruth but not knowing how to is so sweet and heartbreaking. The subject matter of depression is handled delicately but realistically. The characters and story pulse with so much heart that it's impossible not to internalize Olivia's hope, worry for Ruth, and love them both. I only wish there were more chapters so I could live in their world a bit longer. The author did a wonderful job at highlighting surprising universal truths. You know those moments where you read something and think "It's not just me! This character does or thinks that too. I wonder if everyone does?" I experienced three of these revelatory gifts in Breathing Underwater. I wouldn't be surprised if some readers experience even more. This book made me desperately wish Olivia's Instagram page existed as well as Ruth's playlists. This is a heartfelt gem of a story for all ages.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    Animated bookstagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CKPlghMga... Lyrical and affecting, Sarah Allen’s BREATHING UNDERWATER (3/30/21) is a literal and figurative journey for two sisters that overflows with hope and love. Sixteen year old Ruth is battling depression and Olivia, 13, wants nothing more than to bring her sister back from the dark place Ruth seems to be sinking into. Olivia has meticulously planned a scavenger hunt on their road trip with unwavering optimism that the photographic treasur Animated bookstagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CKPlghMga... Lyrical and affecting, Sarah Allen’s BREATHING UNDERWATER (3/30/21) is a literal and figurative journey for two sisters that overflows with hope and love. Sixteen year old Ruth is battling depression and Olivia, 13, wants nothing more than to bring her sister back from the dark place Ruth seems to be sinking into. Olivia has meticulously planned a scavenger hunt on their road trip with unwavering optimism that the photographic treasures they collect will bring back the happiness they felt three years prior before a move across the country. Sarah Allen has written such a heartfelt, honest story about a tough topic that approaches middle grade readers with such grace and respect. I loved this story of sisterhood and how Olivia dealt with unsettling feelings of confusion, disappointment, and concern for her big sister. Ruth is never without her iPod and the music aspect of this story brings an added layer to help decipher the strong emotions that each sister is experiencing. With its gorgeous, contemplative cover that so brilliantly depicts the beautiful story within, BREATHING UNDERWATER will absolutely capture your heart.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kailee’s Book Nook

    To begin, as an older sister, I was drawn to this book right away. Olivia and Ruth are sisters on a road trip. Years ago, before Ruth fell into The Pit, the sisters took a road trip that incorporated a cross-country scavenger hunt. While Ruth’s depression has been getting worse, Olivia hopes replicating their previous scavenger hunt will be just what Ruth needs. This book incorporates sisterhood and adventure. It resonated with me from the very beginning and I really connected with it. I loved a To begin, as an older sister, I was drawn to this book right away. Olivia and Ruth are sisters on a road trip. Years ago, before Ruth fell into The Pit, the sisters took a road trip that incorporated a cross-country scavenger hunt. While Ruth’s depression has been getting worse, Olivia hopes replicating their previous scavenger hunt will be just what Ruth needs. This book incorporates sisterhood and adventure. It resonated with me from the very beginning and I really connected with it. I loved all characters involved, especially Aunt Ellie, and appreciate the lens with which we observed Ruth, who is living with depression. I felt the love, care and concern Ruth’s family and friends have for her. On the flip side, I saw the hurt in Olivia when she couldn’t make things better for her sister. “How waiting and watching, being able to offer no tangible comfort, feels like being on a stationary bike trying to catch up to someone far ahead who’s calling out for help. How I’d jump at the task of climbing Everest if only it meant bringing my family, bringing Ruth, some peace.” Breathing Underwater had a quick, yet satisfying ending. This book is filled with beautiful quotes as well. One I will treasure for a long time. CW: mental health issues (specifically depression)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alena

    Olivia is a thirteen-year-old; she is excited for having a road trip with her sister and family, a few years ago they made the same trip and were the most happy memories. Olivia wants to recreate those memories and made her sister happy again. Ruth is the oldest and battles with depression; some days are good, and sometimes she gets into what they name The Pit; Olivia hates it, she only wants to help her sister. This is a story about sisterhood, Olivia misses her old relationship with her sister, Olivia is a thirteen-year-old; she is excited for having a road trip with her sister and family, a few years ago they made the same trip and were the most happy memories. Olivia wants to recreate those memories and made her sister happy again. Ruth is the oldest and battles with depression; some days are good, and sometimes she gets into what they name The Pit; Olivia hates it, she only wants to help her sister. This is a story about sisterhood, Olivia misses her old relationship with her sister, and she keeps monitoring her sister for signs that she is getting worse. She has this perfect plan that if they recreate old games everything will be fine, but things don't go as planned. Ruth finds refuge in music. Olivia in photography (I would love to see Oli's Instagram and Ruth's playlist.) Olivia sees the world in a special way and wants to share it with the world, especially with Ruth, Olivia always seems optimistic and complacent but in reality she always pays attention to her sister and forgets about her when in reality she matters as much as Ruth, and her family will show her. It is a beautiful, very realistic and educational book, perfect for everyone.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    Breathing Underwater, the middle-grade contemporary by Sarah Allen, beautifully explores the experience of a young girl named Olivia as she learns to best interact with her older sister, Ruth, who struggles with depression. The story takes place as Olivia and Ruth join their aunt and uncle in a cross-country drive, with the final destination being a beach cave where the two sisters buried a treasure box once years before. Olivia and Ruth are both nuanced, realistic characters with their own quir Breathing Underwater, the middle-grade contemporary by Sarah Allen, beautifully explores the experience of a young girl named Olivia as she learns to best interact with her older sister, Ruth, who struggles with depression. The story takes place as Olivia and Ruth join their aunt and uncle in a cross-country drive, with the final destination being a beach cave where the two sisters buried a treasure box once years before. Olivia and Ruth are both nuanced, realistic characters with their own quirks and interests that adds to their complexity as characters. Olivia believes it’s her responsibility to keep Ruth happy and healthy, and out of “the Pit” of depression that Ruth sometimes falls into. As the story progresses, Olivia learns that she doesn’t have to be everyone’s source of optimism and sunshine all the time and how to care for herself the right way while still supporting her sister in a healthy way. This book had some beautiful, deep sentences that were a joy to read. This book can be enjoyed by people of all ages, and should be read by anyone who has a family member or friend who struggles with depression. I give this book five stars.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sascha

    Breathing Underwater by Sarah Allen is a tender middle-grade novel about Ruth, a 16-year-old suffering from depression and her younger sister Olivia who wants nothing more than to connect with Ruth the way they used to. Olivia is hoping that this road trip with their Aunt and Uncle will remind Ruth of all the fun they had three years ago on the road trip that brought them from California to Tennessee. While the surprises that Olivia plans for Ruth don’t work out as she would have liked, Olivia g Breathing Underwater by Sarah Allen is a tender middle-grade novel about Ruth, a 16-year-old suffering from depression and her younger sister Olivia who wants nothing more than to connect with Ruth the way they used to. Olivia is hoping that this road trip with their Aunt and Uncle will remind Ruth of all the fun they had three years ago on the road trip that brought them from California to Tennessee. While the surprises that Olivia plans for Ruth don’t work out as she would have liked, Olivia goes with the flow. Olivia as the narrator spoke and frequently behaved like she was several years younger than 13, which I found distracting but this probably would go unnoticed by most middle grade readers. The topic of depression is dealt with with great sensitivity and is conveyed in such a way that middle-grade readers should come away with a better understanding. As well, the reader sees that depression wears different faces, comes with different symptoms, and that it’s not one size fits all. This is an important message. Just because someone looks fine on the outside doesn’t mean that they are fine on the inside. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alisha

    I love how this book tackled a big subject! The way it describes depression is so spot on. I think this book will help people understand how others struggle or how they even struggle themselves. It didn't make it seem like it was something to be ashamed of and it was written truthfully and raw. I really connected with both Ruth and Olivia in the story. I deal with my own depression and anxiety like Ruth but I also try to keep everyone happy like Olivia does. I did get a little bored and felt lik I love how this book tackled a big subject! The way it describes depression is so spot on. I think this book will help people understand how others struggle or how they even struggle themselves. It didn't make it seem like it was something to be ashamed of and it was written truthfully and raw. I really connected with both Ruth and Olivia in the story. I deal with my own depression and anxiety like Ruth but I also try to keep everyone happy like Olivia does. I did get a little bored and felt like it was drawn out a little bit in a couple parts but I still really enjoyed it. For being a middle grade, it helped me explain some of the things I'm going through and how my actions and words affect others when I'm at my low points. I really recommend this if you are trying to figure out how to talk to your middle schoolers about mental health or just want to understand a little bit more yourself. Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for a copy of the arc in exchange for an honest review!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    More reviews and book-ish content @ AndreaRBooKs on FB, AndreaRBooKs on IG & Andrea RBK Breathing Underwater by Sarah Allen is a middle-grade novel just overflowing with emotions in such a wonderful way. The story is about two sisters on a road trip with their aunt and uncle. Olivia has seen her sister Ruth navigate depression her whole life. She sees Ruth's depression is especially bad, and she wants to help. She devises a scavenger hunt to remind Ruth of good times. She hopes these moments will More reviews and book-ish content @ AndreaRBooKs on FB, AndreaRBooKs on IG & Andrea RBK Breathing Underwater by Sarah Allen is a middle-grade novel just overflowing with emotions in such a wonderful way. The story is about two sisters on a road trip with their aunt and uncle. Olivia has seen her sister Ruth navigate depression her whole life. She sees Ruth's depression is especially bad, and she wants to help. She devises a scavenger hunt to remind Ruth of good times. She hopes these moments will bring joy to her sister as they search for treasures that allow them to reminisce. This was an honest and emotional look at what it's like to navigate someone else's mental health struggles. It was told in a way that was accessible to the target audience, but also got someone many years past that audience in her feels. Thanks to NetGalley for the early look at this March 2021 release!

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