Breathing Under Water – Sophie Hardcastle


Nineteen minutes and eleven seconds separated us at birth. On the official documentation, he is older . . . Although it really has nothing to do with age. What it really means is that I am, and have always been, second.

Ben and Grace Walker are twins. Growing up in a sleepy coastal town it was inevitable they’d surf. Always close, they hung out more than most brothers and sisters, surfing together for hours as the sun melted into the sea. At seventeen, Ben is a rising surf star, the golden son and the boy all the girls fall in love with. Beside him, Grace feels like she is a mere reflection of his light. In their last year of school, the world beckons, full of possibility. For Grace, finishing exams and kissing Harley Matthews is just the beginning.

Then, one day, the unthinkable. The sun sets at noon and suddenly everything that was safe and predictable is lost. And everything unravels.

BREATHING UNDER WATER is a lyrical and emotionally powerful novel about life, death and learning to breathe in between.

Title: Breathing Under Water

Author: Sophie Hardcastle

Publisher: Hachette

Pages: 310

Date released: July 12th 2016

My Thoughts

Thanks to Hachette Australia, I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Breathing Under Water to review.

Breathing Under Water is an emotionally powerful novel about life, death and learning to breathe in between.

The novel focuses on Grace Walker, a teenage girl living in a coastal town who spends most her time surfing with her twin brother Ben. Ben has always been number one. Rising surf star and, golden boy and literally being born first. But when senior year beginnings and Harley Matthews enters the equation, she feels like finally, things are turning around for the better. But then one night the unimaginable happens and Grace must learn how to move on when everything feels like it’s stuck. 

“Everyone has their own truth and that means illusion and reality are sometimes impossible to distinguish.”

I read this book a couple of months ago and I really enjoyed it. I always love stories that are based in small coastal towns because I feel like the characters connect more and are closer to each other. I really liked how we got to see all of the characters grow and develop throughout the story and that although Grace was the main character, we got to see a lot of  and learn about the other characters in depth as well. Grace was a very interesting character. At the start, she is very much Ben’s shadow but as the story progresses, we see her come out of her shell and start to really experience life. But then when tragedy strikes the heart of Grace, we see her go into a downhill spiral into depression. The Grace from this point on until just before the end of the book annoyed me. Everyone deals with grief in different ways and in the book, we get to see how all the characters deal. Whereas some of the characters grieve together and comfort each other, Grace goes off the rails. Drinking, drugs, skipping school, pushing people away, alienating herself from her friends and doing stupid reckless things. It was interesting seeing her change and seeing a different side of her, but I just think that having people you love around you at a terrible time in your life is much better than pushing them away and doing stupid stuff. But I liked seeing her grow and develop and without her going crazy, the story probably wouldn’t have been as interning.

I liked Ben a lot. How could you not? He was the kind, loving, protective brother and best friend. I always thought it would be awesome to have a twin and so I loved the scenes with the twins together. Harley Matthews was the sweet hottie that caught Graces attention. I really liked it at the start of the book how we saw their relationship grow and I was incredibly sad when she pushed him away in wake of the tragedy. But Harley being the kind gentle guy that he is, was still their on the outskirts in case he needed her but didn’t interfere with her so she could deal and want to move on herself. The author wrote this book so beautifully and so very well! It would have been hard to write some of the situations in the book but she wrote is so well it felt like I was experiencing it with Grace. The cover is also gorgeous and reflects the story 100%.

Overall, Breathing Under Water was an emotional coming of age story about life, death, love, forgiveness and moving on. I highly recommend this book for fans of Rainbow Rowell and John Green.


Goodreads ● Angus & Robertson ● Dymocks ● QBD ● Book Depository ● Author’s Page

Hachette Australia

About the Author

Sophie-HardcastleSophie Hardcastle is a twenty-one year old author and artist currently living and creating on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, Australia.
Sophie is studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Sydney College of the Arts. She is majoring in painting.
Sophie’s memoir Running like China is published by Hachette and was released in September 2015. Her debut novel, Breathing Under Water will be published by Hachette in July 2016.
In addition to her books, Sophie has written for various magazine publications, incluing ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar and Surfing World and has also written for theatre.
Sophie is now a mental health spokesperson for Batyr. She shares her experiences with bipolar 1 disorder by speaking in schools around NSW.


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