Susannah Ramos has always loved the water. A swimmer whose early talent made her a world champion, Susannah was poised for greatness in a sport that demands so much of its young. But an inexplicable slowdown has put her dream in jeopardy, and Susannah is fighting to keep her career afloat when two important people enter her life: a new coach with a revolutionary training strategy, and a charming fellow swimmer named Harry Matthews.
As Susannah begins her long and painful climb back to the top, her friendship with Harry blossoms into passionate and supportive love. But Harry is facing challenges of his own, and even as their bond draws them closer together, other forces work to tear them apart. As she struggles to balance her needs with those of the people who matter most to her, Susannah will learn the cost—and the beauty—of trying to achieve something extraordinary.
What I like the most about the book is that we get an inner look into the thoughts of young athletes. Susannah is a world champion, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her own insecurities about her performance in the water. As someone who aspires to be an Olympic athlete she has to work extremely hard in order to achieve her goals. Matthew, on the other hand, swims more for the fun of it (he also swims for another reason but I don’t want to reveal it cause it’s kind of spoilerly). They have completely different motivations for swimming, but they both love the water.
The book also explores different types of relationships very well. We get to see Susannah’s relationship with her family, who do everything they can to support her. Her two coaches, both who want her succeed, but have very different methods in how to achieve that. Her first romantic relationship with Matthew, which she has to balance with her practice schedule. The author interweaves the exploration of these relationships with the plot very well.
Breathe Like Water was a surprising read for me. I was expecting a more light-hearted story, but the novel doesn’t shy away from the lesser known side of an aspiring athlete. I would highly recommend to people who are looking for a young adult sports contemporary that’s different from the rest!