Anna Jarzab makes her first appearance with a YA story about dreams, expectations and pressure in
Breath Like Water
At first, I thought this story would focus only on Susannah and her struggles with coaches, parents, expectations and results as she works toward her own personal bests in swimming. And, there is plenty of that in this story – told in a rather cyclical pattern that mimics (and feels) very much like lap swim training. But, the story quickly becomes so much more as Susannah meets another swimmer, Harry, who becomes her everything as they both battle injuries, expectations, issues from pressure and isolation, and fears about meeting (or failing to meet) their goals.
Gentle and unassuming, the friendship and support that they get from one another quickly blossoms into more: a love that is far more mature than their ages or experience would suggest. With insets of training routines, the ups and downs of finding a goal when very young and simply focusing on it, perhaps to the detriment of other things. The determination and work-ethic involved, and the little jealousies and pitfalls that happen when milestones are reached, perhaps unevenly.
What emerges from all of the emotions, the struggles and the dramas is the ability to put lessons learned in one place (the pool) to work in other aspects of your life: learning to let go and break free of the expected as you push onward to the next hoped for goal. A lovely read that is nuanced, deep and emotionally captivating as the issues the two discover, and the way they support each other, allows them to rediscover their own love for swimming, and for themselves.
Title: Breath Like Water
Author: Anna Jarzab
Genre: Coming of Age, Contemporary Teen Fiction, Contemporary YA Fiction, Depression, Family Saga, Friendship, Mental Health, Romantic Elements, Teen Reads, Young Adult
Published by: Inkyard Press
Published on: 19 May, 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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Susannah Ramos has always loved the water. A swimmer whose early talent made her a world champion, Susannah was poised for greatness in a sport that demands so much of its young. But an inexplicable slowdown has put her dream in jeopardy, and Susannah is fighting to keep her career afloat when two important people enter her life: a new coach with a revolutionary training strategy, and a charming fellow swimmer named Harry Matthews.
As Susannah begins her long and painful climb back to the top, her friendship with Harry blossoms into passionate and supportive love. But Harry is facing challenges of his own, and even as their bond draws them closer together, other forces work to tear them apart. As she struggles to balance her needs with those of the people who matter most to her, Susannah will learn the cost—and the beauty—of trying to achieve something extraordinary.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.