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Breathing Underwater (Breathing Underwater #1)

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,466 Ratings  ·  843 Reviews
Like father, like son.

Intelligent, popular, handsome, and wealthy, sixteen-year-old Nick Andreas is pretty much perfect on the outside, at least. What no one knows not even his best friend is the terror that Nick faces every time he is alone with his father. Then he and Caitlin fall in love, and Nick thinks his problems are over. Caitlin is the one person who he can con
Paperback, 263 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by HarperTeen (first published April 24th 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 13, 2008 Jlawton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-teen-reads
Breathing Underwater is a staple in my clasroom. This book is written so well that it becomes the hook for my non-reading students. I learned about the thought process of someone that abuses mentally and physically. I also learned about why someone might stay in an abusive relationship. I found myself having empathy for the main character even though he had made large mistakes.
May 03, 2008 Brandy rated it it was ok
I know if I don't try to type out my feelings now, I will lose what I am thinking/feeling.

I don't want to say that I didn't like the book, but I have very few good things to say about it. Yes, it captured my interest and I read it quickly. I wasn't ever bored and anxiously waited to see how it ended. There were so many things that I didn't like though.

1. I don't like books that are written for YA that try to "capture" what it is really like in high school. I don't want my kids reading those kind
Kerry Cerra
Jun 27, 2010 Kerry Cerra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
In this extraordinary novel by Alex Flinn, we experience a violent teen relationship from the point of view of the boy who beats his girlfriend. Nick is everyone’s friend and seemingly has a perfect life. What his friends don’t know is that his father is abusive. Before he knows it, Nick finds himself following in his dad’s footsteps as he becomes both verbally and physically abusive to his girlfriend Caitlin. When Caitlin’s parents file a restraining order against him, Nick is forced into a fam ...more
Apr 12, 2009 Thomas rated it it was amazing
"Breathing Underwater" is about sixteen year old Nick Andreas who leads a double life, most of the time he is a charming, straight-A earning football player. However, the guys in his anger management class and his ex-girlfriend Caitlin know differently. They know that Nick is actually an abusive person who has lived under the poor influence of his father. This book details his struggle to find himself in the mask of anger that has been controlling him for awhile now.

I honestly did NOT want to li
Jun 07, 2012 TinaB rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
A fast simple read that was gripping, shocking and honest.

Was this really challenged to be banned from a school? This is exactly the type of book that teen girls should be reading......yes he's hot, yes he's popular and sexy, but he's mean, he's controlling and he hits you, this is not a romantic relationship you want to be in.

Even though the entire book is from the abusers POV and Flinn gave us hope for his character by the end, she made her girl SMART and able to do the right thing once the da
May 07, 2008 Annette rated it liked it
Recommends it for: teens and adults
Recommended to Annette by: Tambre
Shelves: ya
It makes me sad that a book about teenage violence has become required reading for all freshman at North High,(where my kids attend). On the other hand, I'm glad that someone took the time to write a book about such a serious and much needed topic. I'm sure that the author wrote it thinking that if she could make a difference in even one person's life it would be well worth it. I feel that if the reading of this book is accompanied with a great deal of classroom discussion it could prove to be v ...more
Jan 25, 2016 Robyn rated it really liked it
This book made me think and feel so much. It could've been improved storywise and characterwise but it gets its message across really well, and the main concept of the story is portrayed perfectly.

It made you feel sad for all types of characters, while being so frustrated at them at the same time. This made me love this book.
Sep 30, 2007 Ashley rated it liked it
Sadly, this book may be a work of fiction but in many ways it isn't. I know people in similar situations or even someone like Nick. It's not fun. It's sad to think growing up in a hostile home and not having the love from your parents that you need can mold you into a certain person who lashes out on the ones who care most about them (girlfriends/boyfriends and friends). It's a hard cycle to break and there's only two routes that it could end up at. I think this book could be very helpful for ce ...more
Cassi Davila
Sep 20, 2009 Cassi Davila rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ssr
Cassi Davila
Breathing Underwater
Alex Flinn
263 pgs.
Sep. 6,2009

Nick Andreas was a confused young man. I believe he really loved Caitlin, and that he changed and was willing to love again. But I do believe Caitlin had every right to make the decision to not trust him again. I wouldn't. She was hurt and Nick did everything in his power to make her feel inferior to him. That makes me furious as a young woman reading this book, but by the end of the book i feel sympathetic towards him because h
Apr 07, 2014 Ashley rated it really liked it
Wow. This book makes me a little sick to my stomach. And it hurts. It hurts a lot. It's the story of an abusive relationship, but rather than the voice of the girl, the victim, we are in the head of the boyfriend, the abuser. And I surprisingly found myself... not sympathetic, exactly, but something. I felt for him, wished he'd open his eyes to things, realize how hurtful and cruel he was. He also demonstrated some stellar character growth. Not enough that I think Caitlin should ever go back to ...more
Mar 17, 2015 Kelli rated it it was amazing
This book explores a relationship that slips and slides between all that is harmful and also that is now non-existent- the logical consequences of Nick's wicked and controlling temper. Great story about finding yourself. The book shares how a temper out of control demands self-awareness as results burn down around Nick as he missed Caitlyn. This is a book for all girls who have overbearing boyfriends or the potential to date someone with "trouble" and bad boy written on them. I loved watching th ...more
Kristina Čechová
Jan 31, 2015 Kristina Čechová rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Jak mně se do téhle knihy nechtělo. Jak moc jsem měla dávivou předtuchu, že tohle bude další klasické počteníčko pro děvčata, ze kterého jsem už vyrostla. Jak moc jsem se spletla. Kniha byla skvělá. Rozhodně si myslím, že by se měla dostat do podvědomí hlavně mladým mužům, protože tenhle příběh doslova křičí myšlenkou "jsem násilník a neuvědomuji si to." Hlavním hrdinou je zde Nick, nechtěné dítě, o kterého se stará jeho otec. Má všechno. Peníze, auto, bydlení na pláži. Díky tvrdé výchově vlastn ...more
Loz Cook
Feb 16, 2008 Loz Cook rated it liked it
Recommended to Loz by: Adolescent fiction Class
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Audrey Henning
I really enjoyed this book, but it was quite difficult to read.

It's about an abusive relationship and it's told from the abuser's point of view.

It was a book I can relate too, mainly because I was in Caitlin's position. As someone who was in an abusive relationship/marriage for many years, this book is incredibly honest. I could feel her pain all those times that she was verbally assaulted and abused. This book was a quick read, but I did have to take a break and put it down for a few minutes at
Sep 25, 2015 Natrat rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
When you start reading this book you will feel bad for Nick, but when he writes in his journal what he has done, bye bye sympathy. This book is an emotional roller coaster for all you romance lovers. But you also will feel bad for Nick when you realize his dad is much to blame for his actions. This is my favorite book I have read so far in my years, and one of the weirdess point of view, A GUY. This book is also very good for the ladys who want to find out how guys think, I woudlnt have know how ...more
Apr 21, 2015 Onlyvickyv rated it it was amazing
This was an exquisite book. I read it in one day.
Erin White
Oct 29, 2015 Erin White rated it really liked it
The author's writing style was different from the stories I usually read. His arguments are clear and his directions are not confusing. He incorporates internal character development and external action to keep the story interesting. You kind of know how the story will end yet there are parts when you become unsure. This leads you to want to read more.

Nick is consistent with his strengths and weaknesses. His weaknesses include Caitlin and learning how to cope with his strong feelings which seem
Jan 15, 2016 Heather rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
Fascinating read for getting inside the head of an abusive boyfriend. The author's experiences with domestic abuse are noteworthy. This book taught me the signs of a controlling relationship. It also helped me understand WHY males act controlling, obsessive, abusive, etc.

I picked this book up while subbing for a Senior English class. While I'm sure it would spark conversation and lively essays in a classroom setting, I would not approve of my children reading it in the classroom setting. I like
Aug 20, 2014 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Beautiful Disaster, FSoG, Twilight, and other books with abusive boyfriends
Telling her that stuff was a mistake. It’s easier to fake it. When you fake it for sixteen years, it becomes part of you, something you don’t think about.

When a story is so perfect good it leaves you breathless, where do you start describing it? Do you start with the delicate plot that have you hanging on for every word? Or maybe with the provocative protagonist? Do you begin with the powerful message the story conveys? I don't know. At least not with Breathing Underwater. So I apologize in
Apr 18, 2015 Sylwia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-14-of-2014
Description: A teenager has to undergo a sort of domestic violence class as mandated by the courts. We follow along as he goes through the course and faces the consequences of his behaviors, and we also read-along as he keeps a journal in which he details the events of his relationship with his now-ex.

Review: I had trouble getting into this book and there were some moments where I had to push myself, but I really, really, enjoyed it as a whole. I even shed a tear or two. Our main character is ex
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 25, 2011 Brandon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-books, favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Petra Sýkorová
Někdy lidé dokážou milovat natolik, že milovanému ubližují. Někdy si to ani neuvědomují, jindy to dělají naprosto cíleně. Jenomže všechno má své hranice a někdy je potřeba si říci dost, aby to nebylo ještě horší.

Nick Andreas je šestnáctiletý kluk se spoustou peněz, studuje s vyznamenáním a mezi svými spolužáky se těší značné oblíbenosti. Tedy až do chvíle, kdy udělá osudovou chybu a uhodí svou dívku. Najednou se stane vyvrhelem. Nikdo o něj nestojí, všichni si šuškají za jeho zády a pokřikují na
Probably one of the best books on abusive relationships I've read/heard in the scheme of YA fiction. And what surprises me is that it's written in the eye of the abuser. Nick Andreas is seemingly the perfect high school student - gets good grades, plays on the football team, overall a stand up guy, at least on the surface. But Nick hits rock bottom when his girlfriend, Caitlin, files for a restraining order against Nick for hitting her. Nick doesn't believe he did anything wrong, but he faces a ...more
Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts)
Original Review posted on Bookwyrming Thoughts
Original Rating: 4.5

I suppose I'll mention this was one of the books we just finished in English. Apparently, I think that Breathing Underwater is the best book so far in the school year that was required reading. (Notice I didn't say the best book I've ever read...)

Nick seems to be a person who is quite spoiled and probably has the perfect life being handsome, popular and rich. Beneath the surface though (see what I did there?) he's abused by his
Liza Wiemer
Take thirty seconds and think about what behaviors you've picked up from a parent.
Are they positive?
Are they negative?
Would you want to change them?

Breathing Underwater is a powerful novel about abuse narrated by sixteen-year-old Nick. He lives with his abusive father but hides that abuse from everyone. His anger, vulnerability, helplessness against his father grows. Until he falls in love with Caitlin, a girl who doesn't exactly have the greatest self-esteem. At first, she's deeply flattered b
Oct 26, 2014 Andrea rated it really liked it
This book seemed to be in the point of view of the "villian". This was a new concept to me, most of the books I read are in the point of view of the protagonist or "good guys." Of course, it's not black and white. I wouldn't say the character was evil, but he was a teen struggling from issues that led to some serious consequences. It was interesting to see how he dealt with his past and present so he can move on.

The book starts out with hearing the verdict of his trial. He has to continue to go
Michael Mc
May 15, 2013 Michael Mc rated it really liked it
My rating for Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn is 4 out of 5 stars.

Meeting the girl of his dreams Nick decides to ask her out. She says yes not knowing that Nick has a dark past with his dad, and resembles his dad’s behavior. After starting the perfect relationship it ends as it begins. Nick and his friend Tom just hanging out like good friends do.What I really like about this book is that it has really great messages and really pulls you in to the point where you don’t want to put it down. Fl
Tierney Denning
May 29, 2013 Tierney Denning rated it really liked it
I thought this was a great read. Breathing underwater was a sad and eye opening book. Nick was a strong young man who was going through rough times on his own; stumbled into trouble. I think that part of the reasons why he was abusive was because of his father. Through out the book it was interesting to see his changes in his journal entries also. The authors style of writing was different from most books i have read. Every week nick would write in this journal and the author made the print as i ...more
Yoanny Gonzalez
Yoanny Gonzalez
Breathing Underwater
Alex Flinn
263 pages

I f this book had gone one more chapter their would be a lot of things that could had happend. One thing that could happend was that Nick and Tom would become best friends againg like they were before but this time they would connect more they would understand each other more and tell each other more stuff then before. Another thing is that now Nick would understand and respect girls more he will understand how they feel and f
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The Ultimate Teen...: Breathing Underwater - Alex Flinn 2 9 Jul 28, 2013 05:42AM  
teen abuse in relationships 2 43 Jun 10, 2013 10:16AM  
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NOTE: If you would like to contact me, please visit my Facebook, Twitter, or website or e-mail me (, but DO NOT MESSAGE ME THROUGH GOODREADS. While I have a bio on Goodreads as a service to my readers, I do not visit Goodreads on a regular basis. Like literally twice a year.

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I was born on Long Island and grew up on a street called Salem Court. This probably influenced m
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“Anyone else feel like that? Like your life's a big act. Like you're trying to be a man when you're just a scared kid, trying to keep under control when you really want to scream, cry, maybe hit someone. Ever feel like you're breathing underwater, and you have to stop because you're gulping in too much fluid?” 65 likes
“It's easier to fake it. When you fake it for sixteen years, it becomes part of you, something you don't think about.” 28 likes
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