Breathing Underwater: Review and Giveaway

I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for the amazing middle-grade novel

BREATHING UNDERWATER by SARAH ALLEN. This tour is hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!

Breathing Underwater is a sparkly, moving middle-grade novel from Sarah Allen, and a big-hearted exploration of sisterhood, dreams, and what it means to be there for someone you love.

Olivia is on the road trip of her dreams, with her trusty camera and her big sister Ruth by her side. Three years ago, before their family moved from California to Tennessee, Olivia and Ruth buried a time capsule on their favorite beach. Now, they’re taking an RV back across the country to uncover the memories they left behind. But Ruth’s depression has been getting worse, so Olivia has created a plan to help her remember how life used to be: a makeshift scavenger hunt across the country, like pirates hunting for treasure, taking pictures, and making memories along the way.

All she wants is to take the picture that makes her sister smile. But what if things can never go back to how they used to be? What if they never find the treasure they’re seeking? Through all the questions, loving her sister, not changing her, is all Olivia can do—and maybe it’s enough.


This little book packs a punch. I cannot remember reading a book that manages to tug my heartstrings the way this one did. Despite being a quick read, BREATHING UNDERWATER makes every word count.

Thirteen-year-old Olivia is excited for a road trip in an RV for more ways than one. The main one being that she wants to unearth a treasure chest she and her older sister buried before they moved from Californian to Tennessee. She hopes the memories will bring her sister, Ruth, out of her depression.

"One of the worst parts about depression is that it's not like an outside illness, where you can see the broken bone or the red swollen nose. It's an inside illness where you have to know the subtle signs."

While this is a middle-grade book, it does cover the heavy topic of depression through the eyes of a thirteen-year-old girl in such a mature and skilled way. Olivia is young, but she understands the signs to watch out for when her sister goes into one of her dark moods. Olivia genuinely loves for her sister and will do anything to get her to be happy again all while understanding her illness. She doesn't question it. She doesn't tell her sister to "just smile" or "think happy thoughts." She knows the effects of depression with the maturity of an adult.

And this is what's so heartbreaking.

I can count on one hand how many books I've read in my life that have made me...sigh. Not sigh in a boring way, but because I cared so much about these sisters that I wished I could reach through the pages and hug them.

This book releases March 30th, but I suggest you preorder it now. I'm in awe of this story and the beauty of sisterhood and love among anguish. I cannot tell you how incredible this book is so, this review will have to do.


To win a finished copy of BREATHING UNDERWATER



Sarah is the author of WHAT STARS ARE MADE OF and BREATHING UNDERWATER (coming spring 2021!) Like Libby in STARS, she was born with Turner syndrome. She is represented by the amazing Rena Rossner at the Deborah Harris Agency. She received an MFA in fiction from Brigham Young University and will soon start an MFA in poetry at the University of South Florida, Tampa.


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