Review: Breathing Under Water by Sophie Hardcastle

Breathing Under WaterBreathing Under Water by Sophie Hardcastle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Hachette Children’s Books in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Breathing Under Water’ is a moving tale of what happens when you lose your other half – your twin – and the depth of bond and grief that fills connects the most sacred of siblinghood relationships.
This novel has been amongst my favourite by far! It has managed to capture, in detail, the most unimaginable of events – when a twin loses his/her other half. I believe what left such a memorable and hard impact on me is the fact that I’m a twin myself. Losing my other half is probably my number one fear. Till this day, I wouldn’t know what I would do or how I would react to such a loss. It would be like losing a part of myself; losing a soulmate. To have read this novel was to experience the heat of that reality. To have loved it first hand; stepped inside another twin’s shoes and have taken agonising steps in them.
But, what marvelled me the most, was the smoothness and capability with which Sophie Hardcastle, the author, has written this beautiful and poignant tale. Every word to me felt real. Every time I picked up the novel I felt transported. Every time I put it down, I couldn’t wait to get back to it.
Sophie Hardcastle masterfully wove a story that gripped my heart and mind. She built tension, suspension, anticipation and a plot so intriguing that it was impossible for me to think of anything else. I literally found my mind wandering off, as I would go about life, and hoping and worrying for Ben and Grace.
I loved the romance and grief that the authoress managed to weave so compellingly. The novel wasn’t just one whole lump of sorrow and grief as depression. No. It painted life as it really is: full of surprises and hope and love and renewal.
What I quite liked is how Grace was introduced from the very beginning. Grace is painted as always second, always after, always not the best. Ben, on the other hand, is the golden boy, the first, the best. Their two differing characters and the way their family dynamics and friendships, created an interesting exploration into the often difficult and unsteady most twins share, no matter how glorified society makes twin-ship to be. I felt that Ben’s and Grace’s relationship was very true and honest: they had a close and loving relationship but it was often eclipsed by a sort of power struggle between the two.
The second most memorable aspect of the novel for me was the atmosphere. It was so deep and…intense…but enchanting and bewitching! That’s probably the best way to describe it! I felt like the setting of the novel also contributed a lot to the intensity of the atmosphere. The novel based a lot of itself near the sea. And the atmosphere so skilfully created seemed to be a representation of the sea. Beautiful and calming, but at other times uncertain and violent.
I loved the eloquence of the writing. And I loved how poetic it was. The plot was beautifully laid out and the end was one that left me gasping but begging for more.
Congratulations to Sophie Hardcastle on publishing a beautiful debut! I hoping to see more great novels!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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