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Breathing Underwater (2000)

by Alex Flinn

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8074326,171 (3.85)7
Sent to counseling for hitting his girlfriend, Caitlin, and ordered to keep a journal, sixteen-year-old Nick recounts his relationship with Caitlin, examines his controlling behavior and anger, and describes living with his abusive father.

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Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
I first read this when it first came out. I remember so clearly ranting on LiveJournal about a "Breathing Underwater" fanfiction I'd read a day after finishing the book. The fanfiction was well-written but utterly missed the point. Other people commented on my LJ entry and I felt validated. I'm not sure what it says about my teenage self that I remember my LiveJournal entry more clearly than I do the book. I felt the need to point it out, anyway.
Recently, I re-read the book. Two and a half stars. The writing is vivid and engaging. The teen friendships are believable for the most part. The relationships Nick slowly builds with other men in his program are ones I was grateful took place, even though I remembered clearly how the book would end. I kept wanting to set the book down and not finish it, but I bought the book, so I did. It took awhile. I didn't want to have sympathy for an abuser. And I don't. I was annoyed with him a -lot- to say the least. The book was blatantly unrealistic in some parts--he performed certain actions -so- many times after being told he couldn't anymore, and -no one- called the cops. He got thrown out of a bar with only getting yelled at? Unrealistic. He felt sorry for himself a -ton-, where I was encouraging Caitlin to stick to her decisions. He and I share a particular background, though, and -that's- when I felt sympathy for him. My heart downright ached in some parts for a few seconds.
There are two minor character deaths that infuriated me. They happen twenty pages from the end, there's buildup and foreshadowing, yes, but something so shocking needs more page time. I wanted to see Nick grieve. He turned it around to himself, which, whatever sympathy I had? Gone in that moment. -And these are poignant deaths in a YA novel.- They needed to be handled so, so differently than they were. Every time Liana was on the page, I winced at what a horrible stereotype she was. There are others, but she stood out the most in terms of being portrayed horribly. Elsa annoyed me as well, but less and for different reasons. On another note, there is also 'blink and you miss it' disability rep--one of Nick's teachers uses a motorized wheelchair. Nick gets a friendship back that he originally lost, in the last few pages of the book, and this upset me. Sadly, it's very realistic. I'm glad the author did write this book, but it's still two and a half stars for me. ( )
  iszevthere | Jun 22, 2022 |
This book should really be a required reading for English in high school. It has great lessons to learn from it. ( )
  xofelf | Apr 5, 2022 |
I rate Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn a three and a half out of five. I recommend this book for people who enjoy reading about courtcases and the outcome of them involving teenagers. ***plot may be revealed***
The main theme of this book is Friendship. This is the main theme because Nick struggles to keep his friends after the incident with his girlfriend Caitlin bringing him to court and having to go to Family Violence Class. Nick lost Caitlin and his Bestfriend Tom.
Overall I enjoyed reading this book it was a nice read for the summer and i completely recommend it. ( )
  anawesula | Sep 12, 2016 |
Narrated by Jon Cryer (yes, that Jon Cryer). Throughout the first disc this came off as a ho-hum standard romance. But when Nick's violent tendencies first appear, I was shocked to realize I had been sympathizing with Nick up to that point. From then on, I was interested in the working mind of this young abuser and seeing his perspective. His perspective and actions are unacceptable, of course. Nick comes around thanks to his anger management class, his introspective journal writing, and the tragedy of Leo. His turnaround seemed to fall in line almost too easily. Still, a valuable book for teens who might be in similar situations, whatever their side. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Nick is a sixteen year old boy who seems to have it all. He is popular, handsome, and lives a charmed life. But when Nick starts to date Caitlin his friends see a different side of him. He has to attend anger management classes after he and Caitlin break up. It takes Nick a while to see that he does have a serious problem with controlling his emotions and not taking them out on other people.
I loved this book. It was a very fast read. The court orders Nick to go to anger management classes and to keep a journal of how he got to this place in his life. The book is written from his point of view and in present and past. There are many different conflict throughout the story; Nick and his father, Nick and Caitlin and Nick and his best friend. The setting is modern times in Miami and at school and the anger management class. This book would be great for high school student’s boys or girls. I love the message in the book and how we see Nick come to terms with his problem.
I would have the students write a poem about something personal that they have never told anyone before much like the Poem Nick write for his English class. I would have the students keep a journal and write what they thought about what Nick or another character was going through in the book. They would have to write after every chapter too.
  embarnes | Jul 16, 2014 |
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Sent to counseling for hitting his girlfriend, Caitlin, and ordered to keep a journal, sixteen-year-old Nick recounts his relationship with Caitlin, examines his controlling behavior and anger, and describes living with his abusive father.

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