Dutton: New York, 2015
OH HELLO MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND. Finally, you have arrived. Finally, it is nearly the summer. Finally, I can soon get away with athletic wear tuxedos and/or no pants on the reg, eating two pints of blueberries for dinner and regretting nothing (except…), and finding new and creative ways to apply sunscreen to my own back. But enough about me. Because it is now officially white pants season, I think it is high time to start your summer reading assignments. And because the Olympics are coming, I gift you a sports book. Sort of. Not really. Whatever. Pipe down. Behold: the first title on your 2016 Summer Reading List: Girl Underwater.
East coast native Avery Delacorte is a sophomore and competitive swimmer at Stanford, where she’s worked hard to overcome her insecurities and feel that she fits in with the team. When her plane home for Thanksgiving goes down somewhere in the Rockies, she and fellow Bostonian teammate, swimming prodigy Colin Shea, are two of the five survivors; the remaining three are boys under the age of six. Avery has never particularly felt comfortable around Colin, despite being the only two East Coasters on the team, and has avoided him since freshman year. While both swimmers have notable survival skills, their mettle is tested as they are trapped for days in the mountains with no supplies, injuries, brutally cold mountain weather, wild animals, and three little boys. Alternating chapters with the story of the crash is the story of Avery’s reacclimation after the tragedy; her emotional state is understandably colored by PTSD, survivor's guilt, her vastly conflicting emotions about her life before and after the crash, and the guilt she feels about something she did on the mountain that she can’t or won’t voice. This winner is part survival thriller, part romance, part a humanizing look at PTSD, and wholly impossible to put down. It is recommended for teens and adults age 15 and up, mostly due to some brutal scenes regarding plane crashes and some drinking (if that’s a problem for you). This is an excellent book for reluctant readers, especially of the teen girl or romantic at heart variety.
I mean, what about this book did I not love? I want to call it fun, but it feels a little gauche to call a novel about a plane crash fun...so I’ll go with it was a highly enjoyable book to read, highly readable, suspenseful, etc. What word would you like me to use to make you read it? (Sidebar: recently, I learned that if I tell teenage girls that a book made me ugly cry, they’ll pick it up. As all two of you reading this are heartless Ukrainian spambots, I’m going to guess that won’t work (also, there was no crying, ugly or not)). That there is romance is a bonus, but that it’s love of many varieties is a plus. Do I love that this book is set in the Boston area? Do I have so many questions for Claire Kells about this, like how much recon work did you do at Anna’s Taqueria?
Yes, fellow Bostonians, Anna’s Taqueria! I knew I liked this book, but that kind of sealed the deal, that and the fact that it seems to sip liberally from the Life As We Know It cup of throwing unlikely couples together with babies and making things end on a squee note. (Sidebar: where did Katherine Heigl go?) But did I care? And will you? NO. Plus, did I mention Anna’s Taqueria?
Does this book catastrophe glamorize and romanticize catastrophe? Does it make you think you too could survive in the Rockies? Heck yes. Do you care? Probably not. Does it make sense that a bear would be awake in November, and perhaps specifically take issue with our cast of characters? Nope. From PBS Childhood Bearology 101 I know they hibernate, but that’s a moot point and really the only thing I took issue with. In fact, given that the Summer Olympics are nigh and that is not known to be a sport of unattractive male humans, I’m finding myself pondering whether or not I should add swimming to my regimen more, as apparently it leads to being trapped with a hot swimmer for days. #Logic.
In short: pair this with your Summer Olympic dream that a swimmer has a wardrobe malfunction, you monster. And possibly an Anna’s burrito, if you are lucky enough to call yourself a Masshole.