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How to Breathe Underwater

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  510 ratings  ·  94 reviews
Kate’s father has been pressuring her to be perfect for her whole life, pushing her to be the best swimmer she can be. But when Kate finds her dad cheating on her mom, Kate’s perfect world comes crashing down, and Kate is forced to leave home and the swim team she's been a part of her whole life.

Now in a new home, new school, and faced with the prospect of starting over, K
ebook, 304 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Macmillan/Swoon Reads
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Vicky Skinner Parental cheating, yes. No cheating that involves the main character.

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Karlita | Tale Out Loud
For almost ten years, Kates’s constant companion was nothing but the water. Her life usually revolved around swimming, but most of all, the pressure of competing and being the best so she can have her father’s approval.

All her life, she has been longing for her father’s affection that she thought she could earn by letting him control her every move. That was why when Kate caught her father cheating; everything she had built which constitutes her belief that swimming was all she is, changed.

Simant | Flipping Through the Pages
Full review on: Flipping Through the Pages

How to Breathe Underwater is a beautiful book taking you through self-discovery and realization. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It takes you through love and loss and what a thoughtful book it is.

This story is about Kate who is a state-championship winner in swimming. She has spent the last 10 years of her life swimming and competing to please her father, who is also her swim coach. But her father betrays her and her family. Kate moves to a new
Samantha (WLABB)
Kate spent the last ten years of her life working to be the best in order to earn her father's love, until he betrayed her and her family. Forced to start over in a new town, in a new school, in a new home, she had to figure out what swimming really meant to her, and if it even still belonged in her life.

• Pro: I am a fan of feeling the feels, and Skinner definitely delivered. Kate's anguish with separating swimming from her father was palpable. Her emotions were raw and real, and I really felt
Holy Smokes, albeit modern day romance clichés, this made me cry, laugh, and died out of swooning.

I love how “How to Breathe Underwater” posed as a simplistic yet profoundly heartfelt novel at the same time. What the MC struggles with were similar to mine~not all. And I instantly connected to her. I just


For a book that had tackled a lot of themes and at this length? 304 pages? The topics went on so sincerely; pictured how it happened and dealing with it. Me crying over this book is an understate
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Champion swimmer Kate quits her beloved sport after her coach father is caught cheating with another swimmer’s mom. Living in a new city, her family falling apart, she’s lying to everyone and falling for a new friend’s boyfriend. The truth always comes out eventually and Kate must face an uncertain future, and present.

HOW TO BREATHE UNDERWATER, though enjoyable, misses the mark for me as it casts Kate’s father as The Bad Guy, cause of all her problems and the family problems instead of taking a
4.5 stars!!

This book completely blew me away!! It was so different than what I was expecting. A well-written touching novel about change, grief, expectations and relationships. It deals with many important topics and it’s very real, depicting teenage life as it is, and showing that sometimes that things we envision for ourselves aren’t the best and sometimes we all get a little lost.

It’s an intense journey about finding who you are, about dealing with other people’s expectations and with dealing
Ms. Nguyen
Jun 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Kate's world is turned upside down when her dad (and swim coach) is caught making out with a swim mom in his office.. in front of everybody. Her mom uproots her to be closer to her engaged sister.. and the rest is.. a boring, cliched story.

I skimmed the last few chapters of this book because I just didn't want to waste precious reading time. Kate is a character that's hard to like or empathize with. The writing is mediocre and just nothing special. The insta love is cringey and silly. And the co
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh, my heart. What a deep, thoughtful look into love and loss in its many forms. Everyone can relate to Kate and Michael's struggles and triumphs in some way or another, even if you're not a star swimmer or above-average salsa dancer. :) I can't wait for this book to be out in the world so that I can recommended it highly (and face it out at every bookstore I see it at!)
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Prior to starting Vickey Skinner's How to Breathe Underwater, I hadn't heard too much about it. However, I can never resist a pretty cover and a synopsis that screams romance and contemporary goodness so I eagerly dove in.

The result? How to Breathe Underwater was one heck of a treat! Romantic, emotional, and funny, How to Breathe Underwater managed to wow me the whole way through.

How to Breathe Underwater introduces Kate, a high school junior, who isn't having the best year. She's dealing with
Katy Upperman
Three Awesome Things About HOW TO BREATH UNDERWATER
1. Fully developed cast. While Kate is the protagonist of this debut, she's not the only character with layers and flaws and problems. Her parents, sister, love interest, and friends all have challenges that play out alongside Kate's. I appreciate when a story feels as complicated as real life, and HTBU definitely does. 
2. Sweet, slow-burn romance. Love doesn't come easy for Kate and her v. cute salsa dancing neighbor, Michael, which means that
Amelia Brunskill
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book takes a heartfelt look at how it can feel to move to a new school, have a crush on someone who is already spoken for, and deal with parental expectations that have become more of a burden than a blessing. I enjoyed the characters, and I also appreciated what felt like an insider's look into the world of competitive swimming.
Elizabeth Dragina
Aug 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-my-shelf, dnf
2.5 stars ~


I read a few chapters and really appreciated the authenticity of the MC and her relationships but it just wasn't for me.

I dropped it after 3 unnecessary f-bombs and 3 random sexual conversations. I was interested in the plot and invested in where Vicky Skinner was going with it, but there are cleaner books to read.

Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
While there were small portions of this that I enjoyed, I think my favorite thing about it was that it was short enough to finish reading in a few hours on my plane ride to Washington DC. Just reading the synopsis clues you in on what the book will be like--kind of choppy, not always very well thought out, and a little repetitive.

This book had a lot going on. Kate's dad cheats on her mom, resulting in chapter one: Kate moves to Portland with her mom. In the aftermath of The Affair, (view spoile
Alexis Neuville
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great story that made me laugh, cry, and super happy. Has a lot going on within the pages, but does a really good job at handling all the different subplots.
Samantha Hastings
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s definitely a book to dive into! Kate is a likable and relate-able character who is dealing with her parent’s messy divorce, moving, a new love, and swimming. Kate is angry at her father (who is also her former swim coach) for pressuring her to swim so hard in hopes of gaining his elusive approval. The author gives a realistic and important look at the pressure parents can put on their teens when they compete in sports. Kate has to decide for herself if she wants to compete in swimming or ju ...more
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Kate is a girl with her life on track. She’s a state winning swimmer, with amazing potential for college. Her dad is her supportive coach, always pushing her to do more. Her best friend is with her every step of the way, and everything seems perfect --- until her father is found cheating on her mother in front of the entire swim team. In order to start over, Kate and her mother move to Portland, leaving her swim team, father, best friend and entire life behind. Luckily, she meets Michael, the cu ...more
Candyce Kirk
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

How to Breather Underwater sucked me in from the start. This author's writing style is really enjoyable. We see a lot of books in the YA genre about teenagers that end up having some family problems. This was the first one I read where the main character starts questioning her passion for the sport she thought she loved.

Kate is really hurt when she finds out her father has been cheating on her mother. Her mother moves them to another city and this turns her life upside down. Another sch
Rebecca June
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Thank you Vicky Skinner, Swoon Reads, and Xpresso Book Tours for a free eArc of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review was originally posted on my blog, June Reads Books.

"Michael didn't expect anything from me. My father, my mother, even Lily, they all expected something from me, whether I was ready to give it or not. But Michael just looked at me like he was waiting. He was waiting to see what I would do next, what I would say next, who I would be in the next ten minutes" (p. 9

Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There's a lot to unravel here, so bear with me. I'm still in awe of the profound emotional roller coaster I just experienced with this heartfelt story. Skinner has a way with words that elicits your emotions and keeps you engaged page after page.

Kate is a fairly average teenager, save for one big exception, she's the best swimmer in the state. With her dad as her coach constantly pushing her to do more, be better, work harder, etc. there's a lot of emotional baggage tied into her sport. When Ka
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was full of feelings! It was really well written and it was easy to sympathize with the main character Kate. Her dad was caught cheating, so Kate's mom decided to move them to Portland to start a new life. Kate went through tons of growth in this book. She was a really amazing swimmer who swam on her dad's team. When she was away from him, she had to decide if that was something she actually wanted. Her struggle with determining how she wanted to proceed with swimming was realistic and ...more
Christine Bowles
I would like to start by saying the only thing I allowed to be colored by my favor of the author was the fact that I picked the book up in the first place. I do not read YA Romance, or really any romance these days, and I certainly never read first person POV. I would not have normally picked this one up and given it a chance, and that disappoints me, because I know others won't get it a chance for those reason.
Because this book was amazing! Vicky's writing style is on point! With a unique persp
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Sounded like a mix between Coming Up for Air and Anna and the French Kiss, but it had none of the sparks I anticipated. Honestly, it bored me at times, made me cringe at others. Maybe it was just not a book for me, who knows, other people seemed to be into it.

The problem with this is that I was holding my breath for the next book to come out, and now I am scared that it might let me down too. I just should have waited for that one instead *sigh*
J.A. Smith
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was simply charming. The characters were relatable and beautifully flawed and kept me turning the pages. I actually forced myself *not* to finish it in one sitting because I so wanted it to last! Kate was a complex main character and I thoroughly enjoyed facing all sorts of highs and lows with her. On a personal note, as someone who has severe anxiety (and a slight fear of the water), the rep here was spot on and executed extremely well.

Allllll of that fantastic stuff aside, the roman
Erin Kelley
May 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-romance, sports
i really enjoyed 3/4 of this book and the couple is reallyyy cute but i got bored by the end...obv you can tell cause it took me over a month to finish
Kate Avino
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Adored this book! The character development was lovely and I couldn’t stop reading.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this book! I LOVE the characters! I love how there are issues and drama in this book without being dramatic. Every one of us has gone through something like one of these characters. And we need a book like this to know we’re not alone. To know we’ll get through. There’s a teen out there right now who needs this book. It can change lives.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Okay, so it’s time for another BookCon ARC review! This is one that I picked up kind of randomly from Swoon Reads, but I usually love Swoon Reads books, so I was pretty excited. Unfortunately, it really fell short for me.

The problem is that the entire book is one cliche after another. The other problem is that the characters are huge cliches. The third problem is that Kate is an idiot. I was actually going to give this book two stars because it’s not like it’s the worst thing I’ve ever read, but
Alicia Thompson
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
In author Vicky Skinner’s novel ‘How to Breathe Underwater’ readers follow in the strokes of Kate who has spent her life being a competitive swimmer. Kate has her whole life figured out, but when her dad, who is also her swimming coach, cheats on her mom, Kate and her mom leave and move to the city of Portland.

Kate has to start everything over—new life, new school, new friends, and new…love interest? Kate quits swimming, which is a big blow since it was the one thing she had, her mom is sufferi
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you like romance and new beginnings, you'll love Kate. She and her mom have just moved to a new city and a new school after a scandal tore their family apart. As Kate struggles to come to terms with her father's infidelity, she abandons the one thing she's always had -- competitive swimming. Her father was her coach and she can't look at a pool without seeing him. As Kate starts her new (non-swimming) life, she meets the literal boy next door, her across-the-hall neighbor Michael. The two for ...more
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Vicky Skinner was born and raised in Texas, where she started writing novels about kissing cute boys when she was fifteen and eventually earned a BA in Literary Studies from The University of Texas at Dallas. She’s a full-time writer, a part-time runner, and she currently lives in Dallas with her husband.

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