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Breathing Under Water

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,073 ratings  ·  184 reviews
Nineteen minutes and eleven seconds separated us at birth. On the official documentation, he is older . . . Although it really has nothing to do with age. What it really means is that I am, and have always been, second.

Ben and Grace Walker are twins. Growing up in a sleepy coastal town it was inevitable they'd surf. Always close, they hung out more than most brothers and
Paperback, 310 pages
Published July 12th 2016 by Hatchette Australia
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  1,073 ratings  ·  184 reviews

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Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Breathing Under Water was immaculate. An emotional journey of teen grief, familial despair and those left behind. Grace has always lived within twin Ben's shadow, content in the role of Ben's sister, while Ben is on the verge of a professional surfing career. Ben and Grace share a tender and loving sibling connection and although Ben is popular and free spirited, he ensures Grace is never left behind. But the time has come for Grace to forge her own path into the world and when Harley Matthews r ...more
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sophie Hardcastle is a young author to watch. In this, her debut novel, she has been compared to John Green and other YA heavy-hitters, but I think she has written this novel with a level of authenticity that completely outshines them. Her characters talk, think and act like the 17/18 year olds that they are meant to be. It's very refreshing. She also writes beautifully. And although this is an Australian story it has an international feel, which I think should successfully translate to other ma ...more
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ben and Grace are close, they share everything, a love of surfing, their friends with most of their time being spent together. Ben is the sun and Grace is the moon, Ben is the light and Grace the shadow. Through the book you meet their parents and close friends, another major character for me is the surf itself, it is a beautiful, intense and looming character through the book.

From the blurb you know something is going to happen that there will be some trauma, I got to about 30% of the way throu
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aussie-ya, borrowed
What an emotional roller coaster!

I feel a little bit broken after reading Breathing Under Water. It was so gut wrenching, so heart wrenching. I found it a hard to breathe while reading this book, so intertwined had I become with the main characters Grace and Ben and the huge life changing event they have to go through.

From the first pages I was drawn in and could hardly put this one down. All the characters leapt off the page and sunk under my skin, making me care deeply for them. And although
Karen ⊰✿
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: towerteams_vi
This is a book of grief, depression and regret. Most of time I felt like I was underwater.

Sophie Hardcastle has a talent for writing. Sometimes it the flowery descriptions feel a little forced, but for the most part I think her style is quite beautiful. It is just that her chosen subject matter (although possibly cathartic for her) is so very sad that it is quite difficult to read a whole book enveloped in sadness.

The cover claims that if you love Rainbow Rowell, John Green, or Melina Marchetta
Ryan Buckby
Aug 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This book is beautifully written, the surfing scenes give the great Tim Winton a run for his money, gorgeous and evocative. The grief is so exquisitely written, Ben and Gracie had become important to me, and then, the disaster happened. This author has nailed the way that teenagers behave after a terrible death, the risk taking, the loneliness, the isolation. This is beautiful and lovely book. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

I'm imagining that some people will have real issu
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Just wow.

Review to follow.
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Breathing Under Water is so pure and heartwarming,that one feels it pass by like the soft touch of the ocean.It was like a song that smoothly moves from one tune to another,more like a symphony with highs,lows and the absence of it.

The book is rich with intricate details of the tiniest of events and it is absolutely beautiful for anyone who understands the literature of nature.

I can't give a summary of this book,because no summary can do it's symphony justice.You have to read it to know.
Clare Snow
This book! Spectacular from any angle.

Full review to come
Dec 02, 2016 rated it liked it
This review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews.
Thanks to Hachette Australia for providing a review copy of the book.

Breathing Under Water is an Aussie debut YA novel about tragedy and dealing with grief. I really enjoyed the first third of the book and the ending but the middle section left me feeling cold and I was unable to connect with the story or the main character.

The novel begins with a glimpse into our main character, Grace’s, life with her twin brother and their
Angela Oliver
Jul 11, 2016 rated it liked it
"Breathing Under Water" is a beautifully written, lyrically told tale that takes a tragic and heartbreaking turn. The language is rich and poetic, immersing the reader until they too, drown in the story. I was with Grace as she began her dark, downward spiral, dealing with her grief in a manner that was both destructive to her and the relationships and lives of those she cared for. I was her conscience, wishing she would see what she was doing to herself, wishing that someone would step in and s ...more
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Breathing underwater

Grace the protagonist of this book is a teenage girl living in a very ‘sleepy’ coastal area. The sea is very inviting to her and she has always loved the ocean and surfing. Her twin brother Ben is a professional surfer and is known around the area. Surfed together till the sun had set under the sea and the moon had risen. The twins are in their last year of school and the possibilities are endless.

Grace and her family have a street named after them. Their dad is a surf coach
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
i'm not emotionally ready to talk about this. it has destroyed me ...more
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
I find it hard to rate this book as there were parts I really enjoyed and parts I really disliked. The writing was good and it flowed very well, some of the descriptions almost lyrical but at the same time, it all felt a bit jumbled sometimes, just a series of scenes one after the other, jumping hours or days when it wasn't always clear.

The story itself was sad, very sad. The jumping from scene to scene, missing (for me) important details of interpersonal relationships and events, made me feel l
Steph LG
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"The sun, radiant and alive.
The moon, a mere reflection of his light."

This book was sad, beautiful and emotional all at once. I really loved all the characters and from the very beginning of the book I felt super attached to them. I can't say much without spoiling this book, but just wow, it was actually such an amazing book.

One thing that really stood out to me in this book was the way Grace compared herself to her twin, Ben; him being the sun and herself being the moon. She didn't feel lik
Judy Phin
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don't read a lot of Fiction but this was such a beautifully written book it has encouraged me to read more like it.

The storyline and the rollercoaster of emotions and different reactions experienced by each character that follows is so real and heartwarming, you really do create such empathy for the characters and it also gives you quite a different perspective of what people may go through in such hard times.

Beautiful book!
Sam Barnes
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
this just didn’t hit the mark for me. while i enjoyed the writing style, i didn’t like the characters and, due to the lack of plot, didn’t enjoy the book. it felt messy and confusing at times, and i didn’t always agree with the characters’ actions.
Yolanda Sfetsos
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-contemporary
I received a lovely ARC of this book from Hachette Australia, and got stuck into it this week.

Grace and Ben Walker are twins. They live on the coast and are very close. The twins also love the ocean. Both of them are great surfers, but Ben is so good he's got sponsors and wins competitions. Grace has always lived in his shadow, coasted while he shone like a star.

When the new boy in school catches her eye, she can't believe someone isn't blinded by Ben's charisma and sees more in her than a small
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of Breathing Under Water from Hachette New Zealand in exchange for an honest review.

When I read the publicity release of this book it said that fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell would love this book. That’s not the only reason I requested it because I’ve only really liked The Fault in Our Stars and two of Rainbow Rowell’s books. I haven’t read all of their books though. But it did give me an idea if I’d like this book and I did.

Grace’s world is torn apart when something hor
QBD  Books
Sep 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sophie Hardcastle’s debut YA contemporary novel is both beautifully written and compelling. It’s definitely one of my top picks for the year!

“I stroke up to the line-up, weak with jelly limbs, sit up on my board and wipe matted hair from my skin. My feet dangle from my board, swaying with the gentle currents. Tonight a crescent moon rests on dark water.”

The story begins centred on Grace and Ben, twins who love to surf; though Grace seems to be obscured by her brother’s success. Their relationshi
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5 beautiful stars

Nothing I will write can do this book justice. Immediately after finishing this book there were tears streaming down my face.
Amazing Ben! A true beacon of light. A caring and protective brother. A character you wish existed in real life for he would be a pleasure to meet. Always having fun and not letting anything define him.
Grace Walker. I connected with her from the first page. I felt like she was a real person and not fictional.
Grace’s grief was painful and raw. Hard to ima
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A Heartbreaking and incredibly amazing book
Kerran Olson
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-challenge
This book hit me right in the feels! I don't know if it's because I have a twin, or because I've been so focussed on uni work that I found it really easy to get completely absorbed by the story, or because I haven't got super emotional about a book in a while, but I was a wreck for at least the last quarter of this book. Even though some plot points or characters annoyed me, and sometimes the writing was a bit flowery, I still really enjoyed this story because it felt so authentic. I read Sophie ...more
Allyce Cameron
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Graine Milner
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: y10-11
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Stagg
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book! It was so sad when Grace lost her brother Ben so tragically. It was so emotional, but she and her family got through it and Grace found love.
I would recommend this book to everyone who loves to read YA. The author done good with this book and it was amazing. Keep up the good work Sophie! Keep on writing great books like this!
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it

This book was beautifully written. The first page had me hooked, and once I finished this book I felt a little broken and wanted more but I think it ended perfectly. I definitely recommend this book, It's an easy read and i was able to finish it quite quickly.
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
New to me Australian author. Very colourful language, a tale of almost adults and having to deal with the good and the bad life throws at them. Grace and Ben are twins. This is Grace’s story. Very moving and thought provoking.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
I absolutely fell under the spell of this Australian book, about a set of twins who live in a small coastal town. The author weaves a spell of the Australian summer on the beach, coupled with family and tragedy that you get slowly immersed in, like sliding beneath a wave on a hot summers day. I could smell the saltwater, frangipani and coconut oil. Feel the sun and that coastal wind, the kind that flicks sand into your face as you lay in the shade listening to the waves pound on the sand. Then i ...more
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Sophie Hardcastle is a an Australian author, artist, screenwriter and scholar, based in Oxford, England. She works as a research assistant in the English Faculty of the University of Oxford. She is the author of 'Running Like China' (Hachette, 2015), 'Breathing Under Water' (Hachette, 2016), and 'Below Deck', which will be published in Australia by Allen & Unwin, and around the world from March 20 ...more

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