Kells, Claire. Girl Underwater. New York: Dutton, 2015. 978-0-525-95493-4. 291 p. $26.95. Gr. 10 and up.
College sophomore and competitive swimmer Avery Delacorte is en route to Boston for Thanksgiving when her flight crashes into a remote lake in the Rocky Mountains. Against all odds, Avery, her teammate Colin Shea, and three young boys survive the impact and make it to shore. Scenes of their high-stakes alpine survival are intercut with Avery’s recovery in the hospital, her efforts to return to campus and rejoin the team, and her unwillingness to face Colin and the boys again. Tension mounts with every page as the reader wonders, why is Avery so sure she let them all down out there? If she is meant to be with her college boyfriend, Lee, then why does her mind keep wandering back to Colin? And can she swim again without memories of the ordeal overwhelming her? This debut novel by Philadelphia native Claire Kells could easily have been published as YA. With athletics, adventure, suspense, and spine-tingling romance, it’s one of the best crossover books of 2015 (so far)!
Realistic Fiction Amy V. Pickett, Ridley High School
The audiobook production is read by the wonderful Julia Whelan, who also lent her voice to The Impossible Knife of Memory and I’ll Give You the Sun, among many other titles. Playing a sample of this stellar audiobook would be a great way to interest students in the novel and audiobooks alike!