It’s always exciting to discover an audiobook that you know from the beginning is going to make your favorites list and that is exactly what Girl Underwater by Claire Kells was for me. It’s narrated by Julia Whelan and if you listen to audiobooks at all then you already know what a fantastic narrator she is. I love the different voices she’ll use for her characters and the emotion she puts into telling the story really brings it alive for the listener. She’s one of my favorite narrators so I was thrilled to see she was narrating the story and then when the book turned out to be so good I was over the moon. It was like watching a good movie that you just can’t turn away from. Girl Underwater is a powerful story about survival – both in the most trying of circumstances and in life.
Nineteen-year-old Avery has always loved the water and is a competitive college swimmer. She’s got a great boyfriend and family with a father who has always taught her to take care of herself. She’s happy with her life so far … until the plane crash. On the way home for Thanksgiving break the plane she is on crashes in the middle of the Rocky Mountains and Avery finds herself one of only five survivors. One of those survivors is teammate Colin as well as three young boys. For almost a week they struggle to survive the snow and cold of the Rocky Mountains. As the story unfolds it alternates between the scenes of the plane crash with Avery’s life in present. We see her as she tries to do what she can for those she’s stranded with and her inner turmoil with the choices she needs to make in order for them to survive at all. In present we see how the aftermath of something so devastating takes its toll on an individual as Avery struggles just to get through each day and then there is the secret she is keeping, hiding it even from herself.
Avery is a great character. She’s smart and strong and she’s easy to like and to relate to. The author weaves a love story throughout the novel but it isn’t overwhelming – it’s just perfect as are the two male leads she has in the story especially Colin. As well she tackles the psychological side of such an event and it’s effects on those who survived. To be sure Kells certainly grabs your attention with the terror of a plane crash, the survival, and the aftermath in such a way that you can’t put down this book or in my case stop listening.
Girl Underwater is the debut novel from Claire Kells and it’s an awesome one. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Highly recommended … especially in audio – the production is fabulous!