#Review – Girl Underwater by Claire Kells


Girl Underwater: A Novel
Women’s Fiction/ Suspense/Romance
Setting – Colorado
Dutton – First Edition edition (March 31, 2015)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0525954934
Dutton; Reprint edition (August 16, 2016)
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1101983980



An adventurous debut novel that cross cuts between a competitive college swimmer’s harrowing days in the Rocky Mountains after a major airline disaster and her recovery supported by the two men who love her—only one of whom knows what really happened in the wilderness.

Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, she took swim lessons at her community pool and captained the local team; in high school, she raced across bays and sprawling North American lakes. Now a sophomore on her university’s nationally ranked team, she struggles under the weight of new expectations but life is otherwise pretty good. Perfect, really.

That all changes when Avery’s red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She is one of only five survivors, which includes three little boys and Colin Shea, who happens to be her teammate. Colin is also the only person in Avery’s college life who challenged her to swim her own events, to be her own person—something she refused to do. Instead she’s avoided him since the first day of freshman year. But now, faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never could’ve imagined.

In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is a little different from what I usually read of late but when I saw the praise even from Oprah, I knew I needed to read this book. I have read several of her recommendations over the years.

Avery Delacorte and Colin Shea are on their college swim team, acquaintances not friends. They and one other team member are on a plane heading to Massachusetts from California for their holiday break. Shortly after takeoff the plane starts to malfunction and crash lands in a lake in the Rocky Mountains. Surviving the crash using their athleticism and swimming talents they are able to rescue a woman and 3 little boys. They know they are going to have to work together to survive until help can come.

The story rotates back and forth in time, after the crash and after the rescue with Avery telling the story so readers know she does survive. It is an extraordinary story about what it took to survive, but recovering after they are rescued is much harder on Avery even though Colin was the one more physically injured. As the story continues we finally find out why.

This is an adventure novel in that is was adventure to survive the crash and persevere until they are rescued but it a gripping suspense novel and an emotional roller coaster read as well.  A life changing experience that will keep you up reading late into the night.

The characters are so realistic. Avery matures from a young college co-ed unsure of herself to a confident young woman when faced with a do or die situation and then reverts back to the young adult she truly is as she tries to understand and deal with the trauma. Her father was tough on her while growing up and the skills he taught her proved to be very valuable. After he needs to be tough with her again so she can find her way back to the life she was meant to live.

It is classified by some as a coming of age/young adult story, Kells has kept the romantic and traumatic situations age appropriate for that, but older adult readers like me will find this a compelling read as well. That is why I classify it more Women’s Fiction with Suspense/Romance as sub-genres.

I have to mention this is Claire Kells debut novel so she is an author to watch. This story was incredible and she has a clear voice. I hope she has another story coming out soon.

perfect 2016

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About The Author

Claire Kells was born outside Philadelphia and has lived in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco since graduating from Princeton University in 2005. An English major, she didn’t start writing fiction until her first year of medical school. Now a third-year resident physician in the Bay Area, she spends her free time writing stories about love, loss, and adventure.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”