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Like Water

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  924 ratings  ·  209 reviews
A gorgeously written and deeply felt literary young adult novel of identity, millennial anxiety, and first love, from the widely acclaimed author of The Mystery of Hollow Places

In Savannah Espinoza’s small New Mexico hometown, kids either flee after graduation or they’re trapped there forever. Vanni never planned to get stuck—but that was before her father was diagnosed wi
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 17th 2017 by Balzer + Bray
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Nina (LetsWasteTime)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Nicole There's quite a few mentions of sex and a few fade to black love scenes but nothing explicit.…moreThere's quite a few mentions of sex and a few fade to black love scenes but nothing explicit.(less)

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Elle (ellexamines)
This book made me feel very… raw. It’s a book that strips bare the outer machinations of a novel and heads straight for the emotional core of the protagonist. And it’s a book I absolutely loved.

I actually totally get why a lot of people didn’t like this book; Like Water has a fairly small amount of action and relies primarily off your connection to the characters. If you’re not one for character-driven reads, this is not going to be a book you enjoy. I promise.

Maybe my favorite part of this book
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
I adored the characters and the first half of this novel, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t bored to tears by the end. I’m mega bummed. :(
Kate (GirlReading)
4.5* Like Water is the kind of book that’s equally as heartbreaking as it is heartwarming. It’s a gorgeous story of grief, identity, growing up, falling in love, family, friendships and discovering who you are amongst all these things. I’d not heard anything about this going into it but I adored it. I loved the easy, comfortable writing style and found myself flying through it within two sittings. I warmed to diverse and complex characters instantly and thought the layered relationships and plot ...more
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z2017, ebook, ya
If you asked me to describe this book in a word, I would use the word "Fine"... You'll see the word quite a bit in this review and that's not a good thing. This was quite an average book, its not quite memorable or outstanding in any way. Soon it will fall into the pile of books that I have read but can't really remember.

The good things:
- Vanni. I liked Vanni (more so at the start when she was quite troubled, pessimistic and conflicted).
- I liked how there were bits of Spanish in the book, even
Jasmine from How Useful It Is
About: Like Water is a young adult fiction written by Rebecca Podos. It will be published on 10/17/17 by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, 320 pages. The genres are young adult, GLBT, contemporary, queer, and fiction. This book is intended for readers ages 14 and up, grades 9 and up.

My Experience: I started reading Like Water on 10/9/17 and finished it on 10/11/17. I like diving into this book blindly and discovering the surprises within the pages. I love the cover of this book! The h
Renee Godding
Read for O.W.L.s Magical Readathon Charms prompt: Lumos, read a book with a white cover

5/5 stars

Like Water
is the exact type of contemporary that attracts me; hard-hitting topics, a focus on family and/or coming of age, all against the highly atmospheric backdrop of (preferably) a small town... Even though I knew from the synopsis that this could be one of them, Like Water exceeded all my expectations, and can only say that I adored this book. As with many of the books that I adore, I'm goi
Sarah Elizabeth
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

This was a contemporary story about a girl who unexpectedly fell for another girl.

Savannah was a bit of a risk taker, and she liked to spend time with boys, none of whom were her boyfriend, just as a way to pass time really.

The storyline in this was about Savannah meeting a new guy called Lucas, and after spending time with him and his sister realising that it was his sister Leigh who she liked, which was
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Full review originally posted on my blog: Word Wonders

CW: Sick parent, hereditary disease, anxiety, biphobia, homophobia, ableist slur (challenged on page), drunk driving.

I’m going to be honest here… what caught my eye about this book is its cover, it’s ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS. Then I checked the synopsis and added it to my TBR. Then a friend of mine couldn’t shut up about it and made me want to read it desperately. and I finally got it for my birthday and dropped everything and read it
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
rep: bi latina mc, genderqueer lesbian li, latino side character with the huntington's disease, latinx side characters

so maybe im in love with this book & the wonderfully intense sapphic romance btwn two flawed, beautiful characters, so what
*sighs deeply*

i feel like ive been waiting years for this.
i wonder what color the spine will be.
Lea (drumsofautumn)
Video Review

4.5 stars. This was so, so beautiful. I didn't know much about this story going into it but I knew the main character, Vanni, would fall in love with a girl for the first time. Do I need more to want to read a book? Hell no. Did I get way more from this book than just that? Hell yeah.

The story is so wonderful. While it's short-ish, Podos was able to pack so many things into this novel. The romance is really just a small part. It's more so about self-discovery, not just when i
Ashley Blake
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had the great privilege of reading an early version of this book, and wow is it gorgeous. Messy, complex characters and motivations, beautiful prose, a diverse cast, and QUEER. I have so many thoughts, and I'll add to this later, but yes, yes, you want this on your 2017 TBR. ...more
Laura (bbliophile)
I loved this book a lot. Review to come.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was so good, I want to cry.

Savannah, aka Vanni, is a recent high school graduate who has no idea what to do next. Ever since her father has been diagnosed with Huntington’s she can feel her life slipping away since this disease can be genetically passed down. She has no idea if she should take the test to know if she tests positive for Huntington’s or if living in uncertainty is the better option. Vanni tries to find ways to deal with all this fear in her life, most of which involves not ta
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
"I don’t know what it means, exactly. This is all I know: I’m Savannah Espinoza, I’m eighteen years old, and Leigh Clemente is my best kiss yet."

It was cute but nothing memorable here. I really liked the main relationship. Everything else was just fine, I didn't connect with the characters, so I was a little bored at times.
Vee S
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
OMG YA'LL IS THIS BOOK ON YOUR 2017 TBR BECAUSE IT SHOULD BE. One of the most beautiful and impactful books I've ever read. And like. Idk man. It's been a long time since I've seen so much of myself in one book.

~more later~
Not at all surprised at how much I liked this. So different from Podos's first book (except that I really, really enjoy how she handles familial dynamics in both, in what a presence the fathers are) but also so good. Also digging this trend of absolutely drama-free "oh, huh, I'm bi" realizations from MCs this year - always nice to see another experience show up in YA. ...more
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: omg
This is so good. It reminds me of Ari and Dante. It made me tear up and get worried about the end, but it's so hopeful. I love it. ...more
"What are you doing tonight?"
"I hate everything but you. What do you think I'm doing?"

edit: so im changing my fave fxf contemporary to The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza because even though that one's a bit wild, i like it better than this. so yeps! this is a solid 4, though.

So, this is it. This is my favorite fxf contemporary book! It's a huge deal for me. The thing is that with all the fxf books I've loved before, like We Are Okay or Jane, Unlimited or Girls Made of Snow and Glass, the relationsh
kav (xreadingsolacex)
This novel is an underrated masterpiece.

A coming-of-age story about queer identity, discovering yourself, and the importance of supportive friends and family: LIKE WATER is a novel that waves its plot, characters, writing, and representation together effortlessly and beautifully.

We have two primary characters in this novel:
Vanni, a frightened waitress trapped in a small town because her father has been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease and she doesn’t know if she has it, too.
Leigh, a badass “g
Sierra Elmore
Content Warnings: Parent illness, ableist slurs (corrected in-text), biphobia

Known Representation: Latinx/bisexual questioning protagonist, lesbian/genderfluid (revealed later) love interest, several Latinx characters throughout.

This was an unexpected favorite! I loved reading about Vanni and Leigh's complicated, messy romance, because we need to know that love isn't something that can be tied into a neat little bow. YA doesn't often reflect this. Being lost is a large part of this novel. Vanni
Allie (alliewithbooks)
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Actual rating: 4.5/5 stars

5 billion years later I'm finally writing this review! This is the first book I finished for the Latinx Book Bingo Readathon that I've been hosting along with Paola @ Mancerelle and Sofia @ SofiainBookland. This book fulfilled the boxes of Contemporary/Romance, Bisexual MC, F/F romance, and On Cover Representation.

Like Water is about a girl named Savannah who has just graduated high school and lives in a very small town in New Mexico. Almost no one who lives in that to
Addie Dehart
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because I had heard that it was about a family with Huntington's Disease. My stepfather had Huntington's and for that reason I always feel drawn to any novel that deals with that topic. I feel as if the story covered that topic very accurately and with a lot of respect towards the topic. But unbeknownst to me this story dealt with a lot more than just HD. It also covered sexuality and gender, figuring who you are, and how to navigate adolescence and life in general. I feel ...more
Mar B
I have a new YA favorite author! This was perfectly magical!

I think I need to coin a new genre just for Rebecca’s books! They deserve a brand new genre!

I would probably call it “Magical Contemporary”.

Rebecca creates these incredibly real characters, who are living these incredibly ordinary lives and struggling with very real issues (like with Chronic and Mental Illnesses), and then... PUFF! She wraps them in this mysterious, glittering veil that makes the story so... magical!

And she does this b
In short, this book is a beautifully written one that explores so many important topics such as fluid sexuality, HD, genderqueer identity, and coming from an ownvoices marginalized author, this means so much.

Pick up Like Water soon. It won’t disappoint. Full review on my blog :)

rep: bisexual, genderqueer
May 01, 2018 rated it liked it
i would have rated this higher, because it really is well written and the author made me feel like i too was trapped in a small town. however, there was spanish left and right and only once did she include a translation. what are they saying??? i missed out on 80% of her interactions with her parents because boom, spanish.
This was okay.

In Like Water, Savannah "Vanni" Espinoza graduates high school and is about to work at her family restaurant. Her future plans were changed when her father had been diagnosed with Huntington's disease three years prior the events of the book. Vanni might carry the Huntington's genes too. So with no plans to leave her small town in New Mexico, USA, she helps her parents, works at family restaurant. Then she meets Leigh and her older brother Lucas and starts working as mermaid in aqu
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I liked this, and yet it felt like something was... off? I don't know what exactly, or why my opinion changed so much from "okay" to "great" and everything in between, but it is really good! And has great rep (as far as I can tell), and important conversations.

Savannah is Latinix and realises she's bi, and Leigh comes out as genderqueer towards the end of the book. The story is mainly about Savannah, but also about her interaction, and later romance, with Leigh. It's awesome to see an f
Vanni's small New Mexico town, La Trampa, is the kind of place you either flee upon graduation or you find yourself stuck in for life. As much as she's intended to flee, though, Vanni is sticking around after graduation to help take care of her sick father, as well as the family Mexican restaurant.

That's when she meets Leigh, a new girl in town. To be fair, Vanni doesn't meet Leigh. She first meets Leigh's brother, and is put off by the attitude and brashness of Leigh. But soon, Vanni cannot ge
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
i'm surprised by how much i thoroughly enjoyed this one. i don't really read much YA anymore and YA contemporaries have never been my favorite but something about this book spoke to me and i'm really glad i read it.

it's about a girl named vanni who lives in a small new mexico town with her mom and dad. they own a little restaurant called silvia's, where she works part time as a server.

feeling stuck in her hometown and isolated from her old friends, vanni is just killing time with various townie
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Rebecca Podos' debut novel, THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES, was a Junior Library Guild Selection and a B&N Best YA Book of 2016. Her second book, LIKE WATER, won the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Children's and Young Adult. THE WISE AND THE WICKED, her third novel, was recently released. Her forthcoming books include FOOLS IN LOVE (Running Press Kids, 2021) a co-edited YA anthology with autho ...more

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“But, um"--she squints over at me--"if I looked like a boy when we met, like if I was a boy then, would you still have wanted me?"

To make her laugh, I almost joke about my failed seduction of her doppelgänger brother, but stop myself. Leigh deserves much better than that, and needs me to be better. So I tell her what I've decided. "We're not just our bodies, right? You'd still be you.”
“It's not that sex is so different with Leigh. Okay, obviously it's different. To have the same bits and parts and still fit together so well?” 0 likes
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