Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Breathing Underwater (Breathing Underwater, #1)” as Want to Read:
Breathing Underwater (Breathing Underwater, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Breathing Underwater

(Breathing Underwater #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  7,990 ratings  ·  1,071 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 7th 2019 by HarperTeen (first published April 24th 2001)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Breathing Underwater, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Breathing Underwater

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,990 ratings  ·  1,071 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Breathing Underwater (Breathing Underwater, #1)
May 13, 2008 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.
Apr 28, 2008 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 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 09, 2009 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
May 22, 2012 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
Apr 25, 2008 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
Sep 06, 2007 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
Lori Kircher
Mar 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
I hated the book. I didn't like how Nick thought it was okay to abuse Caitlin, and Caitlin just stood there and let him abuse her. I think this book is sexist. The message of this book is that it's okay for women to be abused as long as your boyfriend buys you something afterward and tells you he's sorry. Plus, women have no use other than just pleasing her man, and cooking in the kitchen. No, just no. Nick needs to find some new hobbies other than Caitlin. He's so protective of her, it's abusiv ...more
Jan 12, 2016 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.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another book from my library's display for Teen Dating Violence Awareness month. This one was different, in that it was told from the perspective of the abuser. In past books, I've had trouble reading a story told from the "bad guy's" point of view, but in this one I found myself sympathizing with him at certain times.

I like how the story is told through a journal writing exercise and how Nick ends up understanding more about himself and his life through the exercise. I really enjoyed the charac
Danielle Lee
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a very personal account of a young man who abuses his girlfriend and his journey to healing !

There isn’t much I can say without giving it away , but the story is moving ; The message invaluable and super important ! The message of self love and self respect ! I feel that the lessons the young man learned by the end of the book are priceless!! I really appreciate a book like this !

The book is written in a journaling style Instead of chapters which is something different and unique .
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)
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 father often and has taken out his anger on others as well, such as
Cassi Davila
Sep 20, 2009 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
Feb 07, 2009 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
Loz Cook
Feb 16, 2008 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
Mar 11, 2015 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
Mar 17, 2015 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
Apr 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-issues
This book is told in the perspective of a teen guy who abuses his girlfriend. The voice is very realistic, and the author does a great job of getting in the head of an abuser. There's no other book told from this POV on the subject, so it's a must read! ...more
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was an exquisite book. I read it in one day.
Angie Villalobos
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
3.5 Stars

Ever feel like you’re breathing underwater, and you have to stop because you’re gulping in too much fluid?

Reading a book from the point of view of an abusive guy is not something I ever thought I would do. Because there's no justification for inflicting pain voluntarily over a person, however much you may have suffered. That's not what this book is about. It is not a justification.

It's a window. To his thoughts, why he does what he does. And I have to say, I never really thought of it b
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book, it was both intriguing and interesting. I may read it again because I want to know every detail of this book. I was so excited for the ending the whole time, because I wanted to see what happened to the couple. It was a little confusing to read because he was telling a story of his past, but also talking in present form. I got confused at times weather he was talking about. I would recommend this book, it really gets to your heart, you are constantly wondering ...more
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Breathing Underwater by Alex Finn is about a sixteen year old boy named Nicholas, also known as Nick. His ex-girlfriend, Caitlin, put a restraining on him for hitting her while they were dating. Nick is in a battle now. I personally like the book because the author, Alex Finn, makes the story based on the “abuser’s” point of view. It shows his feelings, his stories, and his struggles. If it were in Caitlin’s point of view, we would not know why nick is like that. We would probably think he is an ...more
Maria Rodriguez-Maldonado
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, it touches a lot of topics that are very sensitive now a day. I also think that it makes everyone aware of what is going on in life and the conflicts that can happen, not only that but I does make people know that not only adults have big problems. I felt identified with the characters because it is something that I have been through with a friend. This book is not only for girls but I think it can help a lot of boys understand and be aware that some situations are not only yo ...more
Kathey Gray
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fast read full of raw emotion.

I read this book probably within a span of a week (that's fast for me). The story is told from 16 year old Nick Andreas' perspective. It's always interesting to hear the story from the "bad guy's" POV. He falls in love with Caitlin fast and hard, only he doesn't know how to deal with that love. And therein lies the problem. Nick is damaged and has never really been loved right himself. This book isn't afraid to explore real emotions, fear and real life situations
I haven't read a lot of novels about domestic abuse, and I've definitely never read any that come from the perspective of the abuser, so this was a really new premise for me. I found it so hard to be in Nick's head and read how controlling and abusive he was towards Caitlin. I found myself cringing and sighing at all of the red flags, but I really appreciated how much he grew by the end. I don't know much about domestic violence, but I felt like this was a true and genuine account of both perspe ...more
Jun 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Well that was a different perspective on the typical controlling boyfriend novel. Interesting to see it from his view, knowing he went too far, figuring out that he does want to change and how to do it when he recognizes the behavior. Gives me hope, but there are just so many bad actors out there. It's so easy to read the signs in this book, but they're so hard to see in the midst of a relationship. Hopefully this would be a helpful read for those on the other side of this situation, since we so ...more
Cecily Kyle
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: towers-vi
MA decent story but very predictable. Mostly because I have read many in this genre, on this particular topic. However, I did like that it was from the abusers perspective and shows that you can break the cycle if you take responsibility and learn to be a better person.
Decent but predictable read!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Preview 1 3 May 19, 2018 04:01PM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. YA - boy who hit his girlfriend. [s] 4 21 Apr 21, 2018 07:06AM  
BYU-Adolescent Li...: Breathing Underwater 1 11 May 26, 2014 01:43PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes
  • You Don't Know Me
  • Jerk, California
  • The Knockout Queen
  • Split
  • Homeroom Diaries
  • Tattoo Atlas
  • The Place Between Breaths
  • Shattering Glass
  • What My Mother Doesn't Know (What My Mother Doesn't Know #1)
  • Heap House (Iremonger, #1)
  • Hot Cocoa Hearts (Wish, #3)
  • My Most Excellent Year
  • Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel
  • Immortal Rider  (Lords of Deliverance, #2; Demonica, #7)
  • Boot Camp
  • Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things
  • Schizo
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Love Jacaranda is out in the world! Hope you'll check out this fun wish-fulfillment romance!

Now, bio:

I grew up on a street called Salem Court. This probably influenced my interest in witches. When I was five, my mom said I should be an author. And when I was eight, I got my first rejection letter from Highlights Magazine.

I learned to read early. But I compensated for this early proficiency by abso

Other books in the series

Breathing Underwater (2 books)
  • Diva (Breathing Underwater, #2)

Related Articles

  Mateo Askaripour is a Brooklyn-based writer whose debut novel, Black Buck—which Colson Whitehead calls a “mesmerizing novel, executing a high...
76 likes · 8 comments
“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?” 72 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.” 33 likes
More quotes…