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Life Underwater

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Ashraf never thought he could fall in love. So when he falls hard and fast for marine biologist Jamie Singer, it’s a shock to the system—in more ways than one.

Even if he can wrap his head around what love is and how relationships work, Ashraf’s not sure this is viable. He’s hydrophobic. And Jamie’s entire world revolves around the sea. What’s the point of trying if so much
Published October 22nd 2018 by NineStar Press
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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  52 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Kaje Harper
This is another great story about real people who are LGBTQ - Jamie is non-binary (enby) and uses they-them pronouns. Ashraf is asexual, and always figured he was aromantic too, until Jamie kissed him and he fell, deep and hard. But can cuddling and kisses be enough for Jamie, who isn't ace? And can an older Muslim university lecturer (view spoiler) who loves a young Scots female-presenting PhD student navigate the disapproval ...more
Joyfully Jay
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sammy
A Joyfully Jay review.

5 stars

Matthew J. Metzger’s latest release, Life Underwater, is a straight up love story that is beautifully detailed with rich imagery that focuses on the frank discussion of what it means to be both asexual, transgender, and Muslim in today’s world. With his usual clarity, Metzger tackles both homophobic and racist viewpoints and what it takes to be the person who is under the scrutiny of those who hate.

This novel covers a vast array of issues from what it’s like to be M
I love how Matthew Metzger is setting these romances after the couple has already been created though I will admit sometimes missing the giddiness of those first days of falling in love.

This book is so much about who these two characters are in terms of age, class, status, sexuality, gender, race, and religion and yet not all about these elements of these charters in the way that life is like that as well. The slow reveal of each part of who they are is part of the magic of these book as well as
Chris, the Dalek King
I can’t say I was terribly surprised my how much I enjoyed this story by Metzger. He has an incredible knack for publishing stories that I just adore, and this one was just awash with the same great writing, characters, and personality that I have come to expect and crave from him.

This story is centered around the lives of Ashraf and Jamie. Jamie is marine biology grad student (or whatever the English equivalent is, I think) at the university where Ashraf teaches anthropology. By all accounts th
Guille Cantón
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lovers of slice of life romantic books who are also LGBT+
I loved Life Underwater. I loved both Ashraf and Jamie, and I'm still amazed about how charismatic Jamie is.
The book starts its main plot (the hydrophobia issue) around the middle, which to some people can make it feel like it's dragging a bit, but I was so in love with the casual interactions of the main characters that I can't complain at all. That, and that maybe is not entry level in the lgbt+ department would be the only things that I could say against this book, but I wouldn't even consid
Genesee Rickel
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I fell hard and fast for Ashraf and Jamie! From the first chapter, #couplesgoals kept popping into my head. They truly adore one another and their communication is solid. WHY CAN'T WE ALL HAVE THIS?! This book is primarily character driven, leisurely paced, and isn't "about" anything in particular. Yes, this book deals with transphobia, homophobia, racism, and Islamophobia. Yes, Ashraf's hydrophobia features in the book. But, to me, it didn't feel like this book was "about" any of that. Mostly y ...more
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book provided courtesy of the author and IndiGo in return for a fair and honest review.

It's so wonderful to have a diverse and well written book. Life Underwater is about Jamie, an enby student who uses they/them pronouns, and their partner, a university professor who thought that his asexuality would keep him from finding a partner.

I love the positive portrayal of a Muslim character, the navigation of their age gap, and the book digging into some of the subtle discrimination the two of t
E-ARC kindly provided by the publisher.


World, meet Ashraf. Ashraf is many things. He's mid thirties and a lecturer in history at Newcastle University. He's a very serious dude, he also happens to be a practising Muslim. Ashraf is Egyptian-Italian and accidentally speaks Italian if he gets upset and doesn't watch his words. He's estranged from his family. He also happens to be trans and asexual. He used to identifiy as aromantic too but then he met an
Shee Reader
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Life Underwater By Matthew J. Metzger

Reviewed by Shee Reader for Boy Meets Boy Reviews

Find us on the web at

Rating 5 hearts


Ashraf never thought he could fall in love. So when he falls hard and fast for marine biologist Jamie Singer, it’s a shock to the system—in more ways than one.

Even if he can wrap his head around what love is and how relationships work, Ashraf’s not sure this is viable. He’s hydrophobic. And Jamie’s entire world revolves around the sea. What’s t
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a quiet love story that'll stick with me for a while. I was expecting angst with this huge fear of water taking front and center- when really Ashraf didn't even tell Jamie about his hydrophobia for a good portion of the book. What I did get in the book was love and acceptance and compromise. Jamie and Ashraf weren't the perfect couple. They themselves said that they were pretty much two opposites that shouldn't work, but they made it work. The scene where Ashraf (view spoiler) ...more
A ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Review. This review can also be found here.

4.5 Stars out of 5

Ashraf doesn’t realize how bad his aversion to large bodies of water actually is till the sound of the sea reminds him. As Ashraf realizes that he might never even be able to step onto a beach let alone the sea, he starts to wonder if his relationship can survive his hydrophobia when his partner Jamie, a marine biologist, might as well be a fish, considering the amount of time they spend in water. If he
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story was a bit different than what I expected from the blurb, which has more to do with my interpretation than the blurb itself, but I think I liked what I got even more than what I expected. The book dealt with quite a lot of heavy topics, but overall didn't feel heavy, there was a good balance ^^ Certain aspects of the characters were only mentioned after a while in the book, which I really liked because it let you form your image of them without unconscious bias slipping in. (I hate that ...more
Shayna Nickerson
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Life Underwater is a very slow moving book. The characters are real dealing with real life situations, which may contribute to the drag of the plot. Although not a favorite, it was well written, with enough of a connection made to actually care about the characters. New and age old controversial topics are breached with dignity and a realness that aid the plot rather make them a chore to get through.
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
"But being ace? He'd never struggled with that the way he'd struggled with being trans. He just was. He'd never felt ashamed of it, never felt he ought to try and change it, never felt inferior or even very different because of it. He'd always thought the problem was with everybody else..." ...more
Danii Allen
Read as part of the Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge 2019, to fill 7) Two books related to the same topic, genre, or theme: Book #1.

I liked this. It wasn't my favourite but it was fine. Took a while to get to the relatively inevitable conclusion, but as usual with Matt's books, I appreciate the range of queer experience and relationships explored.
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Elaine Gray
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This so was fascinating to me. I have never read a transgender book quite like this one. It gave the point of view from Jamie’s and Ashraf’s point of view. Ashraf is a sweet man who just wanted to be with Jamie and didn’t want everyone in their business. I love the fact that he stood up to everyone when it came to his relationship. I also like the fact that Jamie’s family was so understanding and accepting of their sexuality. I’m glad that can communicate with each other, and their love for each ...more
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Matthew is an asexual, transgender author from the wet and windy British Isles.

Matt writes LGBT novels, both adult and young adult, and particularly enjoys digging into the weird and wonderful diversity of people all across the sexuality and gender spectrums. When not writing, Matt is usually asleep, or crunching numbers at his day job. Free time is not really a concept here.

He is also owned by an

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