Saturday, 14 March 2015

Review: Girl Underwater by Claire Kells

An adventurous debut novel that cross cuts between a competitive college swimmer’s harrowing days in the Rocky Mountains after a major airline disaster and her recovery supported by the two men who love her—only one of whom knows what really happened in the wilderness.

Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, she took swim lessons at her community pool and captained the local team; in high school, she raced across bays and sprawling North American lakes. Now a sophomore on her university’s nationally ranked team, she struggles under the weight of new expectations but life is otherwise pretty good. Perfect, really.

That all changes when Avery’s red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She is one of only five survivors, which includes three little boys and Colin Shea, who happens to be her teammate. Colin is also the only person in Avery’s college life who challenged her to swim her own events, to be her own person—something she refused to do. Instead she’s avoided him since the first day of freshman year. But now, faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never could’ve imagined.

In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but.

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: March 31st 2015 by Dutton

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Dutton via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is March 31st 2015.

I broke one of my rules with this book.  I usually go out of my way to avoid anything related to airline crashes.  I don't read books related to the subject matter and I have never seen any movies where it occurs.  I fly frequently but do not particularly like it so I don't want to subject myself to the worse case scenario.  I hoped I did not regret it with this story.

You know what?  I didn't.  I still do not want to visualize this type of event however I found myself caught up in this story and what would happen.

You know pretty early who the initial survivors are but what you don't know is what fate awaited each (with the exception of 2) or what happened in the remote landscape while they waited to be rescued.  This story plays out gradually through Avery's memories and is well told.

What was more impactful for me was the story of how Avery was trying to cope in the aftermath of the event.  While she was clearly struggling and refusing help I wanted to know how this would pay out with the relationships in her life and her relationships with the other survivors.  I wanted to know if and when she would actually heal emotionally.  I was also drawn to Colin's story and how that would play out.

There were some points throughout the book where I got a little confused with the transitions between the before and after and had to re-read a few passages to keep things straight.  I also questioned at a couple points what had happened based on the dialogue that occurred.  There however were minor and I still enjoyed the story.

I am glad that I broke my rule and gave this story a chance.  It was a touching portrayal of people dealing with a life altering event.  I would recommend this story.

About the Author

From her Goodreads profile

I'm a writer, a second-year resident, and a bagel eater. Seriously, I can't start my day without a hot bagel and a Diet Coke (from the fountain only - and yes, this means I'm out there walking those San Francisco hills at dawn to get it!). I don't have many other quirks. That's not true. I have many. Thanks for stopping by and I hope I haven't confused/scared you.

I love a good story - fiction, non-fiction, mystery, spy novel, romance, Young Adult. I'll read anything with a good story at its core. As a writer, I live by the same rule.

GIRL UNDERWATER is my first novel, coming in March 2015 from Penguin/Dutton.


  1. memories, so it is not set after the crash?

  2. It does take place after the crash but you learn about the events of it through memories or flashbacks